Guest Author - Donna Coogan
Have you ever visited a flea market or antique fair and seen stacks of old windows lined up? There’s something about an old window from days gone by that is really appealing. But, how can you use it in your decorating? While more than likely you aren’t planning to replace your current home’s windows with these vintage beauties, there are still plenty of ways you can incorporate one or two into your decor.
Old windows are typically divided into squares or rectangles by individual grid lines. These ready-made spaces are ideal for placing your favorite photos for a one-of-a-kind picture collage on your wall. To attach the photos, just use some clips to hold them in place and they’ll look like they are free floating in each glass square.
You might also use pretty scrapbook paper, fabric or gift-wrap to create a mat for the photos. Just measure the mat to the size of each square. Then, with your window lying flat, center your photo in the square, followed by the mat, followed by cardboard also cut-to size to hold everything in place. It’s basically the same order as found in a store-bought picture frame. You might also alternate squares, leaving some blank or stenciling a word like “family” or “love” directly onto the glass.
Windows are great for displaying your collections. Place pressed leaves or flowers behind the glass or display a collection of vintage hankies. Attach small items to ribbons and hang in front of each square by screwing cup hooks directly into the wooden grids. Add seasonal accents by creating a new window theme for spring, summer, fall and winter. Pretty glass ornaments will look great hanging in your window during the Christmas holiday season.
What if you come across an old window with broken glass? Not a problem. If the frame is still in reasonable shape, you can do all sorts of things with it. For example, with today’s specialty paints, you can make an awesome message center for your kitchen or home office. Just attach a thin piece of plywood or laminate to the back of the window frame. Then paint alternating squares with chalkboard paint, memo paint and magnetic paint. If your window glass is still intact and appears strong enough, you can apply these specialty paints directly onto it. Just tape off the wooden grid lines before painting.
If you have the skills, paint a beautiful landscape on a piece of glass cut to the size of your window frame. The divided panes will add additional interest to your painting. You might also replace the missing glass with a mirror. Hang it in your dining room or entry for a lovely decorative accent.
One of the most wonderful things about old windows is that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Look for arched windows, ovals, half circles, leaded glass, stained glass and other beauties to add architectural interest to your interior spaces. A large assortment of such windows looks magnificent in rooms with high ceilings where the tall expanse of walls need some embellishment. They also add a striking element to long halls and stairwells.
Old windows are perfect as focal points in a room. Create a headboard over the bed by removing the glass and replacing with padded fabric panels. Place 2 or 3 tall arched windows behind a sofa. Create depth by hanging a stained glass window in front of a large picture window in your breakfast nook or master bathroom. Display one gorgeous window over your fireplace mantel.
As you can see, there is no limit to the way you can incorporate old windows into your home decor. Look for them at salvage yards, flea markets and antique shops. Alternatively, search Craigslist, Freecycle, yard sales and newspaper ads. You never know when or where you may find one of these gems to enhance your home decor. When you do, you’ll never look at old windows the same way, again.