Traditional heritage homes deserve classic timber windows. But what do cottage-style windows actually look like? In this guide, we’ll show you how either of the main window types (casement and sliding sash) can work wonderfully in cottages.
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What is a cottage-style window?
British cottage styles
Flush and Regency casement windows
The word ‘cottage’ brings to mind the image of a thatched building nestled in an English country garden. But many traditional and period homes can be called cottages, which means there are many cottage window styles.
The two main types of windows are casement and sliding sash. The main difference between them is how they operate/open. Both types can perfectly suit a heritage home, such as a cottage.
And casement and sliding sash windows can both be customised in hundreds of different ways by changing...
the arrangement of the window panes (e.g. one-over-one, two-over-one, etc.),
the glazing bars (the spacers between the panes),
the shape of the window (e.g. arched, circular, pentagon, etc.),
the glazing (e.g. patterned, obscured, etc.).
the window hardware
Open outwards using a hinge on the long side
Early examples date back to the medieval period
Starting in the Victorian era, casement windows were entirely constructed in timber
Six-pane windows were most popular in the 19th century
Modern versions blend the original charm of casement windows with energy-efficient double glazing and robust security.
View our range of timber casement windows to find one that’s perfect for your heritage property
Sliding sash windows:
Open vertically by one or two frames (sashes) sliding up and down
The origin of sliding sash windows is unclear, but they became a status symbol across Britain in the 1600s
They gained popularity in the Georgian era, evolving from one to two moving sashes
In the Victorian period, box sash windows were a central design element of many homes
By the Edwardian period, the six-over-one glazing configuration was widespread
Modern sash windows retain the appeal of the traditional design but with modern engineering to guarantee smooth, easy operation.
Like the look of sliding sash windows for your traditional home? Check out our timber sliding sash window, which is available in a wide range of finishes and bar designs.
The ideal window for your traditional home will depend on its architecture, colours, surroundings, and more.
To help guide your decision, here are eight cottage types found across the country.
Traditionally, Suffolk had very little stone, so brick and cob were the classic building materials used to construct cottages. The Church Cottages in the photo above are painted in characteristic ‘Suffolk pink’ and feature thick thatch with deep eaves.
The windows are white casement windows with a mix of glazing bar designs, including ‘horizontal bar’, ‘all bar’ and ‘cottage bar’.
Cottages in the Cotswolds traditionally sport honey-coloured stone with thatched or tiled roofs. This example has white casement windows with ‘cottage bar’ and ‘all bar’ glazing bar configurations (window panes divided into four or six sections).
In both examples so far, white doors complement the white window frames.
Towns and villages in Somerset are home to 16th- and 17th-century cottages characterised by the local sand and limestone’s reddy-brown hues.
The example above, in Allerford on the edge of Exmoor, has white casement windows with a ‘deco bar’ glazing configuration (two horizontal dividers on each pane).
A traditional Devon cottage has wheat or reed thatch, whitewashed walls of undressed local stone and timber windows. Also known as cob cottages, these homes have distinctive, thick walls, which you can notice by their deep window recesses.
The example above has white casement windows with an ‘all bar’ glazing bar configuration. The example below also has casement windows but with ‘deco bar’ glazing bars and a pastel blue finish.
These terraced properties in Norfolk feature a mix of exteriors, including red bricks, flint and pebbles, and painted render. All have sliding sash windows in white or off-white with ‘all bar’ glazing bar configurations.
Here’s another example of sliding sash windows with the ‘all bar’ glazing bar configuration. This stone-built cottage in the Yorkshire Dales features a shallow-pitched roof and mortar pointing that’s hardly visible. This helps the house blend in beautifully with the surrounding dry-stone barns and walls.
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire have the greatest concentration of black and white buildings in the country. The riverside cottage above features traditional post-and-truss construction, with the external timbers infilled with whitewashed brick or cob.
It has casement windows with a mix of glazing bar configurations. On the upper floor, the window bars are in a diamond configuration, while on the lower floor, they use a ‘horizontal bar’ design.
With little stone or slate available in the area, Kent cottages are traditionally half-timbered or brick buildings with thatched or pegged clay tile roofs.
Many cottages around Folkestone and Ashford in Kent are finished with weatherboarding made from elm and painted white. The example above features casement windows with horizontal bars.
A standard casement window has a lipped casement that rests ‘proud’ of the window frame.
A flush casement window has a sash that fits flush with the frame. The whole window, inside and out, is flat when closed.
Because they were a hallmark of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian homes, flush casement windows are an excellent choice if you live in a cottage, other traditional property, or in a conservation area. View our Elegance flush casement timber window.
We also offer our Regency casement window.
It's finished with decorative horns to give the appearance of a traditional sliding sash window while providing a casement window's functionality.
If you like the sliding sash window style but have a tight budget, this window offers a lower-cost solution.
View our Regency casement window.
Ready to choose the perfect windows for your traditional property?
You can compare various window and wall colours using our window quote tool.