The Best Placements for Fixed-Pane Windows

The Best Placements for Fixed-Pane Windows

September 12, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
bedroom with large fixed pane windows

Seamlessly transitioning your home from outdoors to indoors has been a popular trend in home building and renovating over the past couple of years, and it's gaining even more traction this year! When it comes to window replacement in San Diego, finding the right type of window is important. 

You'll start seeing more and more homes with reading rooms that have plenty of natural light, which is why picture windows are the trending window option for homeowners right now. For those of you who may not know, picture windows are big, typically don't open, and essentially replace the majority of the wall to frame nature as the focal art piece in the room.

Whether you're building a new home or renovating your existing dwelling, picture windows are a must, so where should you place them to maximize their effectiveness?

Ideally, you should pick a spot where you want to optimize the daylight exposure in your home and enjoy the view of the outdoors, so make sure you install it in an area that allows you to maximize the benefits and features of these windows. In this article, we'll share many examples of where you may want to install the fixed pane or picture window in your home. 

What are Fixed Pane Windows?

They are plain windows that can't be opened or closed. They offer no functionality but are designed to maximize the light that can pass through. Fixed windows (often called a picture window) is a standard window that is non-operational. As such, these windows do not have a handle, hinges, or any operable hardware. 

room-with-a-big picture window

Fixed windows permit light to enter while remaining close to the exterior environment (unlike an operable window, which can open and close). This window style is known for its ability to provide an uninterrupted outlook. It is a perfect solution in spaces where maximizing a view, light transmittance, or solar heat gain is desired, but ventilation is not a requirement. Fixed windows are timeless and sophisticated while providing the sleek lines and clean edges often desired in modern designs. This makes them an excellent option for almost any architectural project, from traditional design to contemporary styles.

Shapes of Fixed Windows 

Architectural or shaped windows are fixed windows that come in many different shapes and sizes. Below are some of the most common shapes available and how you can use them in your home.

Round Window

Round windows look best in smaller spaces such as bathrooms or taller hallways. They're a great way to let in a little extra light.

Circle Top Windows

This type of fixed window allows you to place a curved top or arch above any type of window. Circle top windows are used to add definition and bring in more light. 

Oval Windows

Oval windows are optimal for rooms with vaulted ceilings that could use some extra light.

Octagon Windows

Octagon windows offer a unique reflection of light and provide definition to areas of your home with corners. You can customize the window one step further and add grids to give it even more detail.

Triangle or Trapezoid Windows

If a geometric shape is really what you're looking for, triangles or even trapezoid windows can help create a unique illusion and dimension to your home. Consider placing two triangle windows side-by-side or creating a custom design with multiple trapezoid windows to bring in more light. 

Types of Fixed Pane Windows 

Not only are there different fixed window shapes, but there are different styles as well. We'll go over the most popular styles below.

arched picture windows

Pictured Windows

These are often used to expand the outside view and are typically installed in combination with operational windows that open and close.

Glass Blocks

Fixed window blocks are frequently used in bathrooms or as an exterior feature and can be manufactured in clear or translucent variations to provide desired degrees of privacy. They're considered out of style and detract from your home's curb appeal.

Bow Window

This type of window serves the purpose of creating a curved window design and a feeling of magnified space. They are usually installed in a group of four panes and are coupled with operational windows for function as well as aesthetics.

Bay Window

A fixed window is usually installed in the center with two additional operational windows on each side to provide ventilation and an open feeling.

Best Placements for Fixed pane Windows 

Fixed pane windows would look great in any room. However, they are most used in the following areas: 

Living Rooms 

Fixed pane windows are an excellent way to combine a great view and energy efficiency inside your home. Windows that don't open are the most energy-efficient and let in the most light. We often recommend this option if a living room has multiple windows, like in the picture below. This way, you can still get an energy-efficient casement window to ventilate your living room while ensuring maximum efficiency in the biggest window opening. 

Picture windows are perfect for open space sitting and living rooms. It does not matter if your home is comparably small, enormous, or somewhere in the middle; having a picture window installed in your living room is an incredible way to inject some light and life into the space while simultaneously making it appear larger. Plus, if you have tall ceilings in your home, picture windows are a great way to minimize the amount of wasted, empty wall space.

luxury living room with glass winows

Also, what's more, perfect than reading a book in a peaceful area, surrounded by nature? How about reading a book in a cozy little reading nook next to a large, beautiful picture window in the comfort of your home? You'll still get all of that natural sunlight and the views of nature without having to sit outside on a blistering hot California day.

Dining Rooms 

Installing picture windows really opens up space and provides more natural light. A picture window in the living room can turn a dark room into a place where the family wants to get together.

Adding a picture window in the dining room will make the room brighter, and it will feel natural to gather around the table. Installing a picture window in the family room or kitchen provides more connection to the deck or patio.

A picture window in the breakfast nook creates a lovely spot to have morning coffee or tea while watching the sun rise up. There are a lot of benefits to adding picture windows inside your home where you spend the most time and want natural light. 


When it comes to your bathroom, things like lighting and privacy are big issues, especially when it comes to installing a picture window. In any small space, natural light is very important. Windows must be covered up, especially in a bathroom. Fixed pane windows are ideal for adding natural light to your bathroom. When you really want to highlight your outdoor view, a picture window is an attractive way to do just that.

A picture window in your bathroom will create a focal point in the entire room. Sheer curtains can help diffuse the light and offer some cover of privacy when they are closed. Using frosted panes is another way to maintain privacy while still letting the sunlight shine through. The window film is resistant to moisture, and it is ideal for a bathroom. The window will also open up the space and make it seem larger in appearance.

large bathroom with large fixed windows

The bathroom is one of the most high-traffic areas in your home. It is important to create a setting in your design that is relaxing and inviting. Having a picture window in your bathroom gives you the opportunity to open the room up to air and light. The picture window will invite sunlight into your bathroom, and with the window open fresh air will fill the room. The fresh air will help to keep the bathroom from becoming damp and musty. The addition of natural light provides a boost to healthy energy. With the right design, you will have no trouble having your new picture window installed and creating the overall look you are going for in your home. A picture window will be a perfect fit for your bathroom.

Family Rooms

Since you'll probably be spending most of the time in your home in the family room, it's important to allow as much natural light as possible. By lighting your home naturally, you'll save money on your energy bills since you won't be turning on your lights as often.

Allowing more light into your home also helps blur the line between the outside and inside of your home. This helps make your family room feel larger. Since you'll be spending a lot of time in your family room, you don't want it to feel too claustrophobic.

Picture windows were made for family rooms. They have the best sight lines and allow the most light into your home. They can help make your room feel larger and help brighten up your home. Many homeowners love the natural light picture windows offer and pair them with operable window styles.

The last thing you want in your family room is worn, ugly windows that clash with the rest of the room. Since you'll be hosting guests in your family room, it's important to find the right style for your home. You also want windows that won't warp and expand when exposed to different weather conditions. Your windows should still look great decades down the line.'

modern house with large picture windows

Vinyl fixed pane windows aren't prone to warping, rotting, and expanding. Their colors are also baked into them when they're manufactured, so you don't have to worry about them fading. Vinyl windows are the perfect family room window option for San Diego homeowners. 


Homeowners often enjoy how a picture window allows them to grow a small garden right inside their home. It's a lot like having a "mini-greenhouse" within arm's reach, and the increased sunlight and surface area make garden windows an excellent space in which to grow your favorite herbs. 

Picture windows aren't just for nurseries. They also provide more natural light, brightening up your kitchen and home. Take advantage of this additional light and create visual interest in your home by decorating your garden window with crystals or colored glass vases; they'll catch and reflect the light in fun, beautiful ways. These picturesque windows provide ample sun exposure from three sides, bringing in beautiful light and allowing plants to flourish while still maintaining energy efficiency. 


Your basement windows will allow light into your home and will give you control over the airflow in the room. Windows are crucial to completing your basement – especially if you're using it as an extra living space. They'll allow natural light into your home. That means during the day, you can turn the lights off and open up the blinds, which will save you money on your electric bills. If maximizing the amount of light entering your home is important to you, picture windows are the way to go! They aren't operable like awning and hopper windows, but they're typically larger and bathe your basement in natural light. They also provide a great amount of visibility outside and will make your basement appear larger.

Install New Fixed-Pane Windows With US Window and Door

If you are torn between which part of the house is best for your picture window, opt for the area that gets, or needs, the most daylight. The point of installing a picture window is to bring as much light into the room as possible. Your picture window will also display nature in all of its brilliance as long as you position it in a part of the home with an unimpeded view of your surroundings. Choose your picture window's position wisely, and everyone in the house will absolutely love his or her new view of the outdoor world. 

Milgard offers many types of elegant and stylish fixed pane windows from a variety of models, including the Tuscany and Ultra, Essence Series. If you're interested in fixed pane windows, schedule a free in-home estimate* and let us install custom windows in your home.