Windows are very important to a house’s character, so respect your house style. That doesn’t mean settling for less; energy efficient, easy-cleaning windows are available in a variety of modern and traditional styles:
Casements: Good ventilation. Catch and direct cross-breezes inside.
Awning: Opens like a casement at the bottom, and can often remain open during rain.
Double/single hung sash: Traditional style with moderate ventilation (only one sash opens at a time).
Fixed pane: No ventilation, but an uninterrupted view and easiest to seal against drafts.
Sliding: Often the least expensive but sometimes inefficient; check construction and weatherstripping.
Bay, bow and box windows: Add space and most designs fit into existing openings with little or no structural alterations. Even floor level bays can often be supported by a simple cantilevered framework without a new foundation.
Installing grids against the glass gives you the look of traditional divided lights. For a more convincing illusion, install grids both inside and out, sealed against the glass with caulking.
Aluminum: Inexpensive and maintenance-free. Metal conducts heat and cold, so choose a thermal-break construction which reduces this problem. Check color availability.
Wood: Good looks and a good insulator, but requires regular finishing or painting and maintenance of glazing putty in some cases.
Vinyl: Fairly good insulator, little or no maintenance and can be as attractive as painted wood. Price varies from mid to high depending on the design.
Vinyl/wood combo: Combines the look of stained/finished wood inside your house, but maintenance-free outside.
You can save money and make sure you’re happy with your choice by starting with windows facing the prevailing weather (usually the ones in the worst shape anyway) and gradually replacing the others.