Your front door isn’t there to keep people out, it’s there to welcome them in.
Along with the windows — those peep-holes into your life — the style and colour tell friends and strangers alike who you are and what they can expect when they set foot inside your home.
‘Windows can make or break a space,’ says luxury interior designer Katharine Pooley. ‘They often don’t quite receive the attention they should, which is a shame as with the right ironmongery and a beautiful finish they instantly upgrade the overall aesthetic.’
Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside
And yet we spend twice as long selecting a kitchen worktop than we do choosing windows for our house.
So what options do you have to make them pretty as well as practical?
First off, don’t go for those horrid brilliant white, smooth plastic frames for windows. They often look ugly.
If you have to get uPVC because you’re on a tight budget, then at least get them in off-white with a woodgrain effect — some brands are pretty convincing nowadays.
KJM does a good line — for a double-glazed casement in woodgrain-effect measuring 1,200mm x 630mm, the price is about £275 supply-only.
The sleek, hip-kid-on-the-block, aluminium-framed windows look up-to-the minute.
And because metal is stronger than wood or uPVC, the frame will be much slimmer, so there’s a larger area for glass.
We’re used to a cool grey colour, but you can have the frames made in any hue you like. So you can have them in forest green, midnight blue or flame red.
The same windows as above in aluminium would be £515.
Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular
Oh, the fun you can have with stained glass. Coloured designs are usually banished to little fan-lights at the top of doors in late Victorian houses.
But why not have coloured or picture panels in your front windows. You can have a nautical theme if you live by the sea; or an abstract whirl of shapes and colours.
A window with a bespoke design from Cheam Leaded Lights of about 1,200mm x 630mm will cost in the region of £2,500 to £3,000 supply-only.
Crittall windows or doors feature a sharp Art Deco design with slim black steel frames divided into squares.
They have had a style renaissance over the past few years, somehow looking both up-to-date and classic at the same time.
While the Crittall company still manufactures the official items, you can get them in the same style from a host of other firms.
Crittall’s windows range from £500 to £850 per square metre, including installation.
Upgrade your glass
You can get all sorts of special glass these days. If you live by a busy road, acoustic glass will do better for you than standard double glazing.
Double glazing has two panes of glass with a void between them, whereas acoustic glass has two panes sandwiched together with a thin plastic layer in the middle to filter out more sound waves.
Polarised glass keeps out the sun’s rays on hot days. And reflective glass turns windows into a one-way mirror so you can look out but passers-by can’t look in.
Roseview’s Ultimate Rose windows are made from uPVC, but almost indistinguishable from wood.
A 1,200mm x 630mm acoustic glass window costs about £900 supply-only.
Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts
Wooden windows are becoming harder to find as vinyl and fibreglass take over, but they’re durable and can be a charming addition to a home.
Wooden Windows make bespoke timber windows and doors. It’s worth matching the two; after all, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a solid wood front door thudding into place.
It says that your castle is now secure against all onslaught. They do take some maintaining, though — you will have to repaint every four or five years, and there’s the chance of warping, which could make it more difficult to close or lock.
Old English Doors do a good line in hand-made Georgian-style, six-panelled solid oak doors from £4,320 supply-only.
Savings of the week! Rugs
Temperatures may still be soaring. But the predicted higher fuel bills in the autumn means finding ways to make your home more cosy should start now.
A rug pulls all the elements in a room together. It also provides a layer of insulation, trapping cold air underneath.
Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)
Some heartwarming bargains of as much as 50 per cent off are available which, with care, should keep you snug for years.
The abstract pattern Kista from West Elm in pale grey, blue and yellow would suit a stripped-down decor. It now costs from £112.95 to £519.95 (depending on size) down from £449 to £1,039 (westelm.com).
The Pollo from The Rug Shop UK is in the same style. It costs from £71 to £224, reduced from £79 to £249 (therug shopuk.co.uk). At Loaf, the Tufty in cream and white is down 50 per cent from £345 to £175 (loaf.com).
The Habitat Byron in dark and pale grey, orange and teal would add zing to neutral interiors; it’s down by one-third to £119.99 (argos.co.uk).
Faded antique-style rugs continue to be fashionable. La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25 per cent; from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk).