Illustration: Duo Dickinson
Windows play a critical role in the three most important aspects of home design. The first is appearance. Next to the shape of a house (Colonial, ranch, Cape Cod), windows are the most significant factor influencing how the place looks to the outside world. The second element is site embrace. Windows capture views and make the connection between the indoors and the natural world beyond. Last, windows are about comfort. They let in light and air and protect against extremes of weather.

The power of windows is often most evident when the size, type, or location is miscalculated. Then rooms are either glaringly bright, depressingly dim, or stultifyingly stale. But if planned right, windows can be the key to enjoying your home's ambience, inside and out. Here's how to think about them.
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