Kitchen windows play a crucial role in any home. Not only do they provide natural light, but they also serve as a focal point and help enhance the overall aesthetic of the space. When designing or renovating your kitchen, choosing the right windows should be a top priority. The possibilities are endless, from stunning bay windows to skylights that flood the room with sunlight. This article will explore the most popular kitchen window design options to inspire your next kitchen project.

Importance of Natural Light in Kitchens

Before diving into specific window treatments, it’s helpful to understand why proper lighting is so critical in kitchen design. Natural light provides both aesthetic and functional benefits for the kitchen space:

  • Enhances Mood and Reduces Fatigue – Studies show exposure to natural light boosts serotonin levels and enhances mood. This is especially beneficial in a space like the kitchen where you spend considerable time cooking and cleaning. Natural light also reduces eye strain.
  • Improves Visibility – Task lighting under cabinets or above countertops is useful, but nothing beats the even, consistent lighting provided by natural daylight streaming in. This makes food prep safer and easier.
  • Adds Style – Kitchen windows provide an excellent opportunity to add architectural interest. The right windows can complement your design aesthetic whether you prefer modern, traditional, cottage, or farmhouse style.
  • Allows Connection to Outdoors – Gazing out at lovely landscaping or just having a visual connection to the outdoors from the sink can make even mundane kitchen tasks more enjoyable.
  • Ventilation – Operable kitchen windows allow you to bring in fresh air. This assists with temperature regulation and with dissipating cooking odors.

When designing your kitchen, leverage large windows or multiple windows to maximize natural light and its benefits. Place them strategically near prep and cleanup zones.

Window Placement Considerations

Where you place windows impacts how light interacts with the room. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Traffic Flow – Avoid placing windows where they will interfere with workflow between sinks, stoves, prep areas, and refrigerators.
  • Countertop Placement – Having natural light hit from the side is ideal for illuminating countertops safely. Windows behind sinks can make tasks difficult by creating glare.
  • Outdoor Views – Frame beautiful views where possible, whether a backyard garden or interesting cityscape. This instantly makes the kitchen more enjoyable.
  • Window Height – Utilize high windows to flood light deep into a room. Lower windows provide views but less ambient light. Combining both is ideal.
  • Sill Height – If lower windows are required, raising the sill height expands visibility so you don’t just see the ground outside.
  • Landscaping – Consider how landscaping like trees may eventually impact sunlight coming through a window.

With an awareness of these factors, you can place windows to maximize both available sunlight and useful viewing angles.

Styles of Kitchen Windows

From expansive picture windows to quaint clerestory windows, the options are plentiful. Consider what will work best for your space. Here are some top kitchen window style options:

Bay Windows

Bay windows are an excellent choice for small or medium kitchens. The angled projecting shape creates the illusion of expanded space and provides ample lighting. The nooks on either side also allow for bonus storage or display space. Use bay windows to give eat-in dining areas a cozy breakfast nook feel.

Corner Windows

Corner windows utilize angled windows that meet at a corner to flood light into the space from two directions. The ample light and viewing angles make corner windows a smart choice for sinks and counters. Corner windows also add striking architectural detail.

Picture Windows

For a room with an enviable outdoor view, picture windows are ideal. The large panes of glass essentially create “picture frames” for your vistas. In kitchens, picture windows work best behind sinks or banquettes. Since they provide views more than light, be sure to pair them with other window types.

Double Hung Windows

Double hung windows have an upper and lower sash that slide vertically to open. Available in a range of sizes, these traditional style windows work well for ventilation. Group multiple double hung windows together to create a compelling focal point.

Awning Windows

Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward. They allow airflow while offering security and shade from summer sun. Group awning windows across a wall for a consistent look. Their low profile makes them a good fit above countertops.

Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows are placed high on walls near the ceiling. They let in ample sunshine from above without compromising privacy. Clerestory windows come in handy for kitchens with high ceilings. Parallel rows of clerestory windows also create a dramatic look.

Skylights and Sun Tunnels

For kitchens with limited exterior wall space, skylights or sun tunnels draw natural light down from roof openings. Look for energy efficient models to prevent heat loss. Consider solar powered units to provide light during power outages.

Glass Block Windows

Glass block windows contain small paneled blocks that transmit light while obscuring views. They offer an attractive mid-century vibe. Use glass block windows high on a wall or in combination with fixed windows.

Casement Windows

Casement windows are hinged on one side and open outward. Their clean, simple lines give a modern appeal. Grouped casement windows enable ample ventilation. These windows can open fully to connect indoor and outdoor spaces.

The window style you select can enhance your kitchen’s unique aesthetic. Be sure to also consider energy efficiency, ease of use, and ventilation based on your climate and needs. An experienced kitchen designer can help you explore the options.

Best Window Treatments for Kitchens

Window treatments serve both aesthetic and functional purposes. Here are some of the most popular options for kitchen windows:


Blinds offer adjustable light control and privacy. Look for easily washable materials that can handle kitchen grease and odors. Consider moisture-resistant blinds above sinks. Choose cordless blinds for child safety.


Shades provide simple light filtering and are available in stain-resistant materials suitable for kitchens. Look for insulated shades to enhance energy efficiency. Solar shades block heat gain. Automated smart shades add convenience.


The softness of curtains adds cozy style. Use easy-clean fabrics like polyester or microfiber. Look for thermal curtains to retain heat in colder climates. Hang rods wide to allow maximum light flow. Utilize tiebacks to keep curtains fully open during the day.


Valances offer a decorative accent while concealing hardware. Try swagged or scalloped valances over sinks or windows for a romantic vibe. Look for valance styles made of wipeable fabrics.


Cornices create visual interest while hiding curtain rods and hardware. They come in various materials like wood, metal, and plaster. Coordinate a decorative cornice with other kitchen finishes for a pulled together look.


Shutters lend a traditional flair when added to kitchen windows. They allow light control while providing full privacy when closed. Look for shutters sized correctly to your window opening to function properly.

The right window treatments not only control light, but also provide privacy, enhance aesthetics, and add to your overall kitchen design scheme.

Creative Touches for Kitchen Windows

Beyond just functional window treatments, some special touches can really make your kitchen windows stand out:

Art Glass

Art glass inserts, panels, or cabinet doors add handcrafted style. Look for fused glass, stained glass, etched glass, or leaded glass designs to fit your tastes.

Frosted Vinyls or Films

Apply adhesive frosted films or cut vinyl shapes to create obscured design accents on windows. Try this on small bathroom windows or lower panes for added privacy.

Interior Window Boxes

Where outdoor window boxes aren’t possible, install charming interior window boxes flanking your window. Fill them with faux greenery or colorful blooms for interest.


Hang an accent mirror on the wall opposite a window. This will reflect light back into the kitchen. It also creates the illusion of extra window space.

Upholstered Seating

Make the most of bay windows by building in upholstered bench seating. The comfy benches flanking the windows create a cozy eat-in dining nook.

Window Quotes or Poetry

Have a favorite inspirational quote or poem? Use window marker pens to hand letter it on a glass pane or mirror for an uplifting touch. Change it out seasonally.

Natural Elements

Consider framing small herb gardens, potted flowering plants, or wire vines on trellises right outside your window. Nature views make washing dishes far more enjoyable.

With a little creativity, it’s easy to design one-of-a-kind accent windows that reflect your personality and style.

Prioritizing Energy Efficient Kitchen Windows

While functionality and aesthetics are important, energy efficiency should also drive kitchen window decisions. Be sure to select windows with the following energy saving features:

  • Double or Triple Paning – This provides excellent insulation to prevent heat loss. Look for argon or krypton gas filled units to further boost efficiency.
  • Low-Emissivity Coatings – Low-E coatings on glass reflect heat back into a room and block UV rays that cause fading. Make sure windows have Low-E on at least one pane.
  • High R-Value – A higher R-value indicates better insulation. Look for whole window R-values of at least 2.0 or higher.
  • Energy Star Rating – Verify windows are Energy Star certified to meet strict energy efficiency guidelines mandated by the EPA.
  • Proper Installation – Gaps around windows can cause air leakage. Ensure windows are professionally installed for proper sealing and caulking.
  • Weatherstripping – Make sure window frames have high quality weatherstripping and seals to prevent drafts. Compression seals work best.

Prioritizing energy efficiency not only reduces environmental impact but also keeps utility costs down. Consult a kitchen designer to ensure you select windows suited for your climate.

Kitchen Window Design Ideas

The right windows can make a stylish statement and become a kitchen’s crowning focal point. If you need inspiration, explore these stunning kitchen window design ideas:

Dramatic Mixed Heights

Combining windows of varying heights adds compelling architectural interest. Try coupling tall casement windows with a row of small square awning windows across a wall for contrast.

The All-Glass Look

For a truly modern statement, install floor to ceiling glass walls enclosing the kitchen. This blurring of indoor/outdoor boundaries will flood the space with natural light.

Country Charm

Get a cozy cottage feel by flanking a deep farmhouse sink with wide double-hung windows dressed in cheerful checked curtains. Add potted herb boxes on the sills.

Rustic and Raw

Exposed wood beam accents work beautifully flanking large steel-framed industrial style casement windows for a woodsy chic vibe.

Vintage Tradition

For old world character, frame bay windows with painted wood shutters. Oversized white molding and arched tops on windows boost the traditional charm.

Cafe Style

Create a European cafe aesthetic by lining one wall with a long row of tall, multi-paned casement windows. Add a banquette seat below for dining in sun-drenched style.

Urban Sophistication

Floor-to-ceiling windows spanning an entire wall lend modern urban elegance. For privacy, hang sheer curtains that diffuse light beautifully.

Playful Cottage

Paint the trim of a large bay window in a contrasting cheery hue like robin’s egg blue. Style it up with a polka dot roman shade and abundant potted plants all around.

Rooftop Luxury

To make the most of city high rise views, use wall-to-wall glass on knee walls and skylights overhead. This connects the kitchen beautifully with the surrounding skyline.

The options for kitchen windows span from sleek modern to quaint cottage chic. Determine the look that best fits your home’s architecture and style.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Windows

Kitchen windows are a complex topic with a lot to consider in terms of both form and function. Here are answers to some of the most common kitchen window FAQs:

What is the best height to install kitchen wall cabinets in relation to windows?

Wall cabinets should be installed 18 inches above countertops and any adjacent windows. This provides sufficient clearance. The standard height is 54-56 inches above the floor for the bottom of the wall cabinet.

What is the best size range for a kitchen sink window?

The ideal kitchen sink window size is 24-36 inches wide and 48-60 inches high. This provides ample light over the sink area without overwhelming the space.

How high should kitchen clerestory windows be placed?

Clerestory kitchen windows are typically placed quite high, close the ceiling. Standard clerestory window sill height is around 86-96 inches off the floor. But you can adjust the installation height based on your ceiling and kitchen layout.

Should kitchen windows match throughout a home?

It is common for kitchen windows to share a matching style with other windows in a home for cohesion. However, it is not strictly necessary if you want a unique kitchen window design that differs from the other rooms.

What depth should countertops extend from kitchen windows?

Standard kitchen countertop depth is 25-26 inches deep. For ample room, do not exceed 30 inches depth between countertops and windows. Anything deeper may create uncomfortable eyestrain issues.

How much space should be allowed between kitchen upper cabinets and clerestory windows?

Ideally leave 15-18 inches of wall space between the top of kitchen upper cabinets and the bottom of any clerestory windows. This provides sufficient clearance for molding and prevents a cramped look.

Should I choose single or double hung windows for above kitchen sinks?

Double hung windows are the preferred style above kitchen sinks rather than single hung. They allow ventilation from both the lower and upper window sashes which is useful for letting steam escape while washing dishes.


The kitchen windows you select play a substantial role in functionality and aesthetic appeal. Carefully consider the natural light benefits, ventilation, sightlines, and design harmony windows can provide. Evaluate popular styles like bay windows or casements to find options suiting your space. Don’t neglect energy efficiency and proper installation for performance. Add stylish window treatments and creative accents to provide the final crowning touch.

With some thoughtful planning and design, your kitchen windows can be a beautiful and useful focal point, connecting your space to the outdoors and flooding the room with natural light. A kitchen with well-designed windows goes from being just a workspace to an enjoyable, inviting living area for family and friends.