What are English Cottage Style Windows?

What are English Cottage Style Windows?
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3 months ago
Reviewed by Bryan Baeumler

Traditional cottages demand many specific amenities. The traditional cottage is supposed to be spacious and comfy. However, windows play an important part in completing their picture.

Windows are one of the most recognizable features of any traditional-style building. This is true of cottages as well, which have their own design features. You can see it from the road or the curbside. So, what exactly is it that sets English cottages apart?

What is Cottage Style?

There are two types of windows that lend to the cottage window style.

Sliding Sash

Sliding sash cottage windows are double-hung or sash sliding windows. They have those two sashes which can slide up and down, with one window above and one below. Both of the windows are a part of the same frame and you can open either the top or bottom window to let air in or out.

In English cottages, sliding sash has a long history. They are older than most people would guess. It’s unsure when they were first used, but they were popularized in England in the 17th century. At that time, they were far more difficult to make and became a status symbol for landowners.


Another take on cottage-style windows is the casement window. Casement windows can also offer a particularly English look. With Victorian origins, these all-timber-framed windows are still common in many parts of the English countryside.

Casement windows are set up with one window or two windows beside each other. They too often have grilles that add to their appearance. The main difference is that they open outwards.

Size Ratios

Another defining characteristic of cottage style is the size ratio. The traditional cottage window has a 40/60 split ratio for the sash sizes. The upper sash is the smaller one.


Grilles are another very common feature among cottage-style windows. Grilles are smaller sub-frames that give off the appearance of having many individual window panes. The grilles are always located in the upper sash, but the split can vary. Four-over-one and six-over-one are particularly popular Grille patterns.

Classic aesthetics

Cottage windows, using the above features, are meant to create a classic and relaxed appearance. They offer architectural interest while being large enough to let a lot of sunlight in.

The separate sashes and grilles’ patterns are deliberate design choices meant to add character. As such, wood choices and paint colours are also deliberate. The design is popular for adding character to both the inside and outside of the home simultaneously. The higher sash adds an interesting element, while the lower sash is highly practical and offers a clear line of sight.

The craftsmanship put into cottage-style windows is meant to create the appearance of many individual windows made to match the exterior and interior colour scheme of the home.

This diversity is part of the fun and appeal of the cottage window style. The ideal window design depends on the architecture and design of the building as well as the colours and patterns in the building’s immediate surroundings.

Not every double-hung or casement window can be called a cottage-style window. Within the “cottage style” category, there are other subcategories of cottage windows. But overall, the cottage styles follow a colourful and cozy appearance. They are meant to use classic timber and are painted to fit the aesthetic of the interior and exterior of the home. This can mean the paint is a cool brown, an off white, or whatever colour is called for

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English Cottage Style Windows

The English cottage is a diverse category unto itself. Known for its cozy, rustic aesthetic, the English cottage window has its own features. English cottage interiors are known for their charming, gently worn furniture. Exteriors are known for their wholesome appearances matching local design norms.

Specific English cottage-style window designs vary by locality. Building materials vary by region, with English cottage country offering a mix of whitewashed, brick, timber, and even thatched walls. Complexity also varies by region, with some areas, such as Kent, offering simpler cottage design elements. Kent cottages are either brick or half-timbered with clay tile roofs, following simple design patterns. Kent cottage windows are similarly simple, with a colour pattern matching the exterior material and colour.

Beyond the basics, there are several highly unique English cottage designs with their own window designs.


The Cotswolds offer a very traditional appearance, often including thatched roofs. Most cottages will have tiled roofs, but exteriors are normally bright-coloured stone.

Windows in Cotswolds cottage country are normally casement windows with bright coloured frames that match the exterior. They are normally divided into four or six sections, depending on the height of the windows.

West Country

West country English cottages are another example of traditional bright casement windows. That’s because traditional west country exteriors include whitewashed walls, ideally made with local stone and timber. Window frames need not be white, as they are often made with bright blues. The traditional west country window will have Grilles splitting each individual window into six parts.


Yorkshire offers an example of an English siding sash cottage window. These traditionally stone cottages include bright window frames and more elaborate patterns with grilles splitting windows into 8 sub-frames.

Julia Gurevich
Julia Gurevich

Julia Gurevich is a versatile content writer with a passion for delivering captivating narratives through a diverse and attentive approach. Her eye for detail helps her craft content that resonates with audiences across varied home improvement industries, capturing the perfect balance between information and entertainment. As a content coordinator, Julia takes pride in delivering content that leaves a lasting impact through her ability to navigate seamless content strategies and collaborative projects between teams. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Toronto’s cultural landscape, visiting local parks, and getting to know members of the community through events and activities.

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Reviewed by Bryan Baeumler

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