Not So Golden Arches
August 7, 2016 4:49 AM   Subscribe

We bought a house and I'm really excited about it. One thing we're not so excited about are these ugly windows that are all along the front of the house and the enclosed porch area. The arches are just kind of dated looking and not my style. How can I improve the look?

They're pretty new as far as windows go, replaced by the previous owner less than five or six years ago. We don't really want to just rip them out and put in new windows because that's very wasteful and also the cost would be too high.

Do you have any suggestions for how to make these look a little bit better from the inside and outside? I'm hesitant to put in curtains because the nice thing about this porch is all of the sunlight. Should I just put in valances? Or are valances cheesy? Can I just replace the top part of the window?

Thank you in advance for your help!
posted by smirkyfodder to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you investigated throughly how the grilles are attached? On newer windows the grilles aren't actually holding up individual panes of glass and may just be glued/taped in place, or held with screws or pressure in the frame itself.
posted by Karaage at 5:12 AM on August 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

Both from the overall look and the newness of the windows, I would guess that those grilles don't actually divide actual little pieces of glass. If that's the case, you can replace the window grilles (e.g.) to give you a more classic "divided light" look.
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:15 AM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

From your picture it appears you might have the kind where the grid is sandwiched between the two panes of glass. If this is the case, the grids cannot be removed. You can consider replacing the glass only (not the whole window) with no grids, but that's not cheap. I feel your "pane". Fake muntins are ugly!

I would consider roman shades before a valance, but they would serve the same purpose - to hide the arch.
posted by cecic at 6:10 AM on August 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Can't tell if you have snap-in grids or grids-between-glass, but if the former you can just remove them. It might leave some little dimples in the window frame where the grids attached, but they shouldn't be very noticeable.

If the grids are between the panes, then as cecic says you're looking at replacing the windows. If you can find out exactly what model they are and contact a reputable carpentry company that has a relationship with a supplier that sells that make of window, you may be able to just get new top sashes. That would be cheaper than replacing the windows entirely. At any rate you'd probably be looking at somewhere between $300 and $900 per window just for the materials, depending on what kind of windows they are and whether you have to replace the whole thing or not.

If I were you I'd just learn to love 'em. They're not interfering with the function of your house, and I think they're kinda funky. Someone paid extra for that look, definitely. You could keep the top sashes covered all the time, but you'd be losing a bunch of natural light just for the sake of soothing an aesthetic peeve. Make your peace with them and just accept that your house has a quirk.

Of course, if they're snap-in grids then you can just take the grids off and call it a day.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:34 AM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Actually, after a closer look at the picture I'm pretty sure those are grids-between-glass and that replacing the top sashes, if possible, is your least-worst option. (It would be easier to tell if the photo had been exposed for the interior of the house rather than the sunny day outside, but whatevs.) It should be pretty obvious in real life, in any case. Without replacing that sash (or possibly the whole window—look up "replacement windows") there's not a lot you can do about those grids other than cover them up or learn to live with them. Those are kind of your only three options in that situation.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:52 AM on August 7, 2016

Decorative stained glass film? Would let in light; removable; cheap enough to give one a try and see if you like it. Or real stained glass but that would be quite an investment.
posted by evilmomlady at 7:17 AM on August 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

If they are sandwiched between the glass layers and it's Anderson (see lower right hand corner of glass) you can replace just the sashes rather than the entire window including frame. If you're OK with the lower sash grid, you can just replace the upper one.
posted by beagle at 7:46 AM on August 7, 2016

I would layer curtains here. Layer 1: a tension rod inside the top of the window frame, with a short, dark panel covering the top half of the top pane, just enough to cover the business end of the arch. That way they're covered from the inside and blend in when viewed from the outside.

Layer 2: on a fancy curtain rod over the window, put (very skinny) structured side panels at the outside edges, only covering the side of the window box and not blocking the glass at all. Use a medium shade of your top color.

Layer 3: inside the side panels, on the same curtain rod, put very gauzy, breezy sheers, in the very lightest shade of the color.

I would go black, medium gray, grayish white. But if you start with like a purplish black, you can step down to barely lilac on the sheers. You get the idea.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 7:55 AM on August 7, 2016

Install a shelf in front of the top half of the window and block the ugly view of your arch with plants.
posted by slateyness at 8:17 AM on August 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Definitely grills between the glass on that one. Which means you're going to need to replace at least the top sash to really get rid of it.

Is it a double hung or a single hung window?
posted by theichibun at 1:40 PM on August 7, 2016

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