Introducing windows behind kitchen cabinets is an ingenious way to let more natural light into your kitchen. Not only do these windows look beautiful, but they also have many functional benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about adding windows behind kitchen cabinets.

Overview of Windows Behind Kitchen Cabinets

Windows behind kitchen cabinets, also known as transom windows, are installed above eye level along the backsplash area. They are placed between the top of the upper cabinets and the ceiling.

These windows come in various shapes and sizes. They are typically relatively narrow to fit in the tight space between the cabinets and ceiling. Common styles include rectangular, square, arched, circular, and octagonal.

The windows are made of diverse materials like glass, acrylic, plastic, or plexiglass. Glass windows look the most elegant and let in real daylight. Meanwhile, plastic and acrylic are more affordable options that mimic the look of real glass.

Benefits of Installing Windows Behind Kitchen Cabinets

There are many practical reasons why windows behind kitchen cabinets are a great idea:

Lets in Natural Light

The main benefit is allowing more natural sunlight to enter the kitchen. Since the windows are up high near the ceiling, they let light deep into the room. This creates a brighter and more uplifting ambiance.

Opens Up the Space

The windows give the illusion of a more open, airy space. It makes the kitchen appear larger than it actually is. The transparency creates a smooth visual transition between the kitchen and adjoining rooms.

Improves Ventilation

Ventilation and air circulation are boosted with the additional windows. This is especially helpful for closed-off kitchens that lack windows on the exterior walls. The airflow reduces stuffiness, odors, and humidity.

Adds Architectural Interest

The windows provide beautiful architectural detailing. They break up the visual monotony of walls of cabinets. The windows add a captivating focal point and create dramatic shadows and light effects.

Allows View to Another Room

Strategically placing the windows allows you to maintain a sightline to an adjoining room. You can easily monitor kids in the next room while cooking in the kitchen. It also makes spaces feel more open and connected.

Increases Natural Surveillance

Windows behind cabinets also enhance natural surveillance between rooms. This improves safety, especially for households with young children. You can easily keep an eye on everything happening in the home.

Filters in Ambient Lighting

The windows permit softer, indirect ambient lighting to filter into the kitchen. This is more pleasing than harsh direct overhead lighting. It cuts down on energy usage and costs.

Showcases Decor + Collections

The windows provide excellent display space to exhibit decorative items. You can create attractive vignettes to show off your cherished collectibles and treasures.

Versatility in Styling

Windows behind kitchen cabinets offer almost endless versatility in decorating. You can accessorize them minimally or max out the visual interest. Choose from curtains, valances, artwork, mirrors, shelves, and more.

Things to Consider Before Installing Windows Behind Kitchen Cabinets

While windows behind kitchen cabinets have many advantages, there are a few things to consider beforehand:

Measuring the Space

You’ll need to carefully measure to ensure you have adequate room for the window height you desire. Consider the distance from the countertops to the ceiling.

Structural Factors

Assess whether you have suitable structural support for the window span. Wall studs may need to be added to provide framing and reinforcement.

Placement of Wall Studs

Factor in the placement of existing wall studs relative to the desired window position. Moving or adding studs will increase labor and costs.

Window Shape and Size

Decide on the optimal window dimensions and proportions. Arched or rounded shapes may require more framing. Larger windows are pricier.

Window Material

Assess whether glass, acrylic, or plastic glazing fits your needs and budget. Glass offers the most authentic look but also the highest price tag.

Matching Cabinetry Finish

Select a window color and finish that coordinates well with your cabinetry. Oil-rubbed bronze or black window frames often pair nicely with most kitchen cabinet colors.


Allocate sufficient budget not just for the windows but also the professional installation which involves extra framing, drywall, trim work, etc.

Contractor Experience

Hire an experienced kitchen remodeling contractor comfortable with the intricacies of installing windows behind cabinets.

Window Options for Above Kitchen Cabinets

You have numerous options when selecting windows for above kitchen cabinets:


Glass windows lend the most seamless, built-in look. Opt for tempered glass for safety. Coated, low-E glass provides insulation and UV protection. Different textures like frosted or etched glass add privacy.


Acrylic windows are an economical alternative to real glass. Acrylic scratches easier than glass but is very durable overall. It’s available in clear or colored tints.


Plastic windows are lightweight, shatter-resistant, and budget-friendly. Opt for plastic glazing that resists yellowing, scratching, and fogging. Plexiglass is a high-quality plastic glazing material.

Window Operation

Choose from stationary or operable windows. Casement windows are a popular choice to allow ventilation. Consider egress windows if the transom windows are large enough to serve as an emergency exit.

Window Shape

Common window shapes include rectangular, square, round, oval, arched, and octagonal. Specialty shapes like circular porthole windows are also an option.

Divided Lite Panes

Mullion bars can divide a large window into multiple separate panes for added character. This lends a cottage or farmhouse feel.

Privacy Options

Etched glass, specialty glass like rain glass, or window films offer privacy. Mini blinds, shades, or shutters can also be added to control visibility and light levels.

How to Install Windows Above Kitchen Cabinets

Installing windows above kitchen cabinets takes careful planning and execution. Here is an overview of the process:

Select Window Location

Determine the exact spot for the windows based on your kitchen layout, sightlines, plumbing, and lighting considerations.

Remove Cabinets

Remove existing upper cabinets and countertops to access the work area. Protect floors and remaining cabinets from damage.

Prepare Framing

Frame in the window rough opening with headers, king studs, and trimmer studs for structural reinforcement.

Cut Drywall Opening

Measure and cut out the drywall to create the window opening. Cut holes for any wiring or plumbing.

Install Window

Secure the window firmly into the opening using shims and screws into the window frame. Caulk around the interior and exterior edges.


Seal joints with waterproof, flexible caulk. Install flashing above the window to divert moisture.

Install Trim

Add wood trim molding around the interior window perimeter to create a clean, finished look.

Patch and Paint

Fill any gaps with drywall compound. Prime and paint the raw drywall and wood trim.

Reinstall Cabinets

Once the windows are fully installed, rehang the cabinets and replace the countertops.

Finish Touches

Add any final decor elements like window coverings, valances, mirrors, or art around the new windows.

Window Ideas and Styling Tips

Windows behind kitchen cabinets offer limitless possibilities for stylish decor. Here are some ideas:


For a clean, minimalist look, opt for frameless windows and unadorned walls. Add just a touch of greenery or an uncluttered floating shelf.

Rustic Charm

Lean into the rustic farmhouse vibe with distressed wood trim, gingham curtains, and antique-looking knick-knacks on the windowsill.

Cottage Cozy

Create cozy cottage appeal with cafe curtains, flower boxes, and natural accents like woven baskets and linen textures.

Urban Edge

Try floor-to-ceiling windows, metallic frames, and edgy abstract art pieces for contemporary urban style.

Eclectic Flair

Show off your eccentric taste by filling the windows with colorful bottles, vases, sculptures, or other vibrant collectibles.

Sheer Drapes

Soft, sheer curtain panels allow light through while adding texture and a touch of privacy.

Roman Shades

Rolling roman blinds offer adjustability and temper the light beautifully. Add ties for extra flair.

Hidden Treasures

Tuck special mementos, meaningful photos, or little plants on concealed floating shelves behind the windows.

Backsplash Accent

Choose window frames or trim that pick up colors and finishes from the kitchen backsplash tile design.

Questions Homeowners Often Ask About Windows Behind Kitchen Cabinets

Many homeowners have questions about adding windows behind kitchen cabinets. Here are some of the most common FAQs:

How difficult is the installation process?

Installation can be somewhat complex since it involves structural changes. Hiring a pro contractor is advisable, especially for large or unusual windows.

How much space do I need for the windows?

Most windows need a minimum of 16 inches of height but measure your space to ensure proper fit. Smaller windows can work in more limited spaces.

Should the windows match my cabinetry?

Matching the finish is recommended for a cohesive look, especially with dramatic cabinet colors like black or navy blue. Oil-rubbed bronze is also a versatile neutral option.

How do I ensure privacy in the windows?

Privacy options include canvas shades, frosted or patterned window film, etched glass, curtains, or external window blinds.

Do the windows need special cleaning?

Use a soft cloth, mild soap and water to gently clean. Avoid abrasive cleaners and pads which can scratch the glazing. Use a step stool for safe access.

Can the windows open?

Making them operable for ventilation and egress is possible, although it adds cost for hinged casements. Fixed windows are most common.

Should I get glass, plastic, or acrylic?

Glass looks most seamless and elegant. Acrylic is also durable and resembles glass at a lower price point. Plastic scratches easier but is very budget-friendly.


Installing windows behind kitchen cabinets is a brilliant upgrade that transforms the entire kitchen. The windows flood the space with natural light, improve ventilation, provide architectural detailing, and offer creative decor potential. With proper planning and installation, these windows create a timeless, breathtaking focal point in the heart of the home.