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How to get the ‘wow factor’ with views around your home

Make the most of your home's vista - no matter how grand or boring it is.

Make the most of your home's vista - no matter how grand or boring it is. Photo: Zaher Architects

We’re all suckers for views, aren’t we? Whether it be tranquil lakes, rolling waves, stunning mountains or verdant hills, we’re naturally drawn to a view. And architects will attempt to frame any potential views when designing a new home.

But no matter what lies outside your window – an ancient tree, a lovely garden, a freshly mown lawn – are you making the most of the view outside your home?

It’s possible to achieve the ‘wow’ factor even without fabulous views, simply with how you frame the view of the outside and the size and location of the windows you use.

How you capture what’s in the immediate vicinity of your home can make all the difference to the look and feel of your home.

If you’re renovating or planning a new home, here are some tips to make the most of your vista.

Choose black frames over white

With a view like this, why wouldn’t you make the most of it? Black window frames recede into the background, drawing the eye out into the view. The views steal the show in this New Zealand house.

In a bedroom or living area, there’s nothing more stunning than floor-to-ceiling glass – if privacy concerns aren’t an issue.

This sleek house in Sydney’s Potts Point (below) was once a run-down federation terrace. The black joinery ties in with the black-framed windows, a theme repeated throughout the renovated home.

Double the view with mirrors

If you have a wonderful view, and you’re already making the most of it with a floor-to-ceiling window, you can double the impact with a full-sized mirror. This is an especially effective trick in the bathroom.

Get creative with cantilevers

A truly spectacular way to take advantage of a view if building from scratch or renovating – is to create a room that hovers in the midst of the view with a cantilevered space.

When a portion of the floor above is cantilevered, it can allow a seamless transition of glass around the corner in the room beneath – and that means uninterrupted views.

Cook while you look

Placing windows at eye level in a kitchen area where you’ll either cook or clean up is a fabulous idea – you’ll bring in extra light and the outlook means spending time in the kitchen won’t seem like so much of a chore.

Bring the windows right down to bench height for full effect and let the windows take up as much space as possible.

Go floor-to-ceiling, any which way you can

Floor-to-ceiling views need not always framed by windows. The combination of windows and doors in this bedroom opens it to the view without the expense that comes with vast panes of glass in custom-made windows. Even a combination of standard-issue windows and custom-made will reduce your budget significantly.

Double the height

Two-storey windows in at least part of your house are undeniably dramatic while also being a great way to remove visual barriers between you and the outdoors.

Again, black frames disappear and draw you into the view.

Double-height windows need not belong only in a home of mansion-like proportions. This beach bach (holiday house) on New Zealand’s South Island remembers its humble roots, but the glass wall adds a twist that takes full of advantage of its location.

Frame it on three sides

To maximise the impact of a sweeping view, windows on three sides frame so much of the vista that you almost feel part of the landscape. This is the place to put an oversized daybed, built-in seating or a huge sofa.

Ensure you’re able to enjoy that beautiful vista by positioning furniture to face the view. If your view happens to also be north-facing, lucky you – it’s ideal for soaking up the rays in winter.

Go low

Even a beautiful image of a garden and some greenery is worth making the most of from the inside. When arranging your house or renovating, think about where you will sit most frequently to make the most of outside views.

Windows in older houses often tend to be small – so look around and see if there are any places where you could replace smaller windows with larger, lower windows that maximise your views of outside. Can the window be positioned to line up with your table to fully maximise its impact?

Or why not have the window line up with the top of your tub? It’s just the thing to bring the tranquil effects of nature inside as you soak.

A window starting from the floor can make an impact in any bathroom, majestic views or not. If all you have is a fence or brick wall outside your bathroom window, however, consider planting some lush greenery to enhance the outlook. An ivy-covered fence will do the trick.

Take it outside

If you’re surrounded by stunning scenery, it’s worth considering how you’ll frame the views when you’re sitting outside. As well as designing decks and undercover seating for areas that best capture those stunning vistas, go without balustrades if council regulations allow. If you must have them, go for glass if it fits within your budget. This home’s covered outdoor area is less than a metre off the ground, so no balustrade is required.

framing views

Go without balustrades if council regulations allow. Photo: Zaher Architects

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