These Windows Let in Light at Floor Height

If you don’t have to-die-for views, but your home could be transformed with a little more natural light, consider the low-set window. Whether it shows off a garden, reveals feet walking by or just offers a glimpse into the world beyond your walls, windows set at floor height can be helpful in many ways. These unexpected window configurations may provide just the inspiration you need to bring more life and light into your house.

Dining drama. When there’s a house directly next to yours, a window that opens to a garden and decorative wall makes much more sense than a more traditional window offering a view into the neighbor’s kitchen or of a blank wall. Decorative pots in the garden add a designer touch.

Greenhouse. A similar approach here makes this garden part of the room, and the greenery is a nice contrast against all that concrete. “Our design maximizes the sense of space on a relatively tight site,” says architect Sam Crawford. Transforming the run-down original house, built to the boundaries in the 1870s, was a challenge indeed.

On display. If you have an art or photo collection worthy of a gallery, windows high and low can create just the expanses of wall you need to show it off.

Wide shot. This entry stairway makes use of more than just a ribbon window at ground level to give it a sense of light and openness. Skylights and frosted glass in and around the door invite even more light inside.

Fitting in. This end-room window offers valuable privacy in a neighborhood where the homes sit closely together, but brings a splash of bright sunlight into this contemporary living room.

Heaven sent. The designer of this converted church made the most of the existing windows in the upper-level bedroom; the space is certain to remind the occupants of the building’s former life.

Study zone. Few people like working in a box, but it’s more pleasant with the addition of a floor-level window. Again, there isn’t much of a view — it’s more about letting in the light. Bonus: A window at this height won’t cause glare on your screen.

Open house. The designer of this entryway used both high and low windows to create a sense of openness without making the occupants feel exposed to the street.

View point. The low-set window here opens to an outdoor eating area and a neighbor’s fence. The window makes less of the view but still does what it is supposed to in terms of light.

In the flow. This condo is on a hill. The low-set operable windows catch the breezes; higher windows at the back of the room draw the air through, up and out. The large, uninterrupted panes of glass keep the views open.

Low down. Succulents bring the outside in with this low-set window and break up a blank wall. The window echoes the low-slung forms so common in midcentury modern homes like this one, and their interiors.

By Joanna Tovia / Courtesy of