Dormer window design ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

Dormer windows are windows that either are cut into or extend out or a sloped roof. There are several types of dormer windows. Some dormer windows are curved, while others are straight. Dormers can have roofs that are either flat, sloped, gabled or curved, depending on the needs of the roof. Dormer windows provide architectural interest to a home, add sunlight and provide extra square footage.

Cut-In Dormers

Cut-in dormers are windows that literally cut into a sloped roof. They can either cut in completely, creating a right triangle cut into the roof, or they can be partially cut in and partially extruding. Cut-in dormer windows work well in mansard-style roofs, where the top is mostly flat with sharply sloped sides. When used in a mansard-style roof, the interior of the upper floor will look and feel for the most part like a regular square room and can have ceiling height windows, Cut-in dormers don't interrupt in the line of a sloped roof when they are cut in completely. The main negative of the cut-in dormer window is that it cuts away square footage from the top floor instead of adding space, as with extruding dormers.

Extruding Dormers

Extruding dormer windows extend out from the roof, creating more headroom in an interior space and creating an ideal place for a window seat. Gabled dormers can provide architectural interest to the exterior of a home. Gabled dormers can sometimes make a home look unbalanced if placed on one side of a roof with nothing to balance them out on the other side. To make sure that this doesn't happen, either add an additional and symmetrical dormer window on the opposite side or include a feature on the other side of the home that echoes the style of the dormer, such as a larger gable, painted in the same style as the dormer. Shed-style dormers are wide dormers that extend over a longer part of the roof, adding a lot of extra natural light to an upper room.

Eyebrow Dormers

Eyebrow dormers are generally smaller dormers that are shaped like a semicircle, reminiscent of an eyebrow, hence the name. Eyebrow dormers are good for adding architectural interest to a plain, slanted rooftop and add natural light to a room. In addition, the curve of the eyebrow dormer can lend a more organic feel to a house that looks boxy or has a lot of sharp angles. Set high, the eyebrow dormer can be a good alternative to a skylight.

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About the Author

Antonia Sorin started writing in 2004. She is an independent writer, filmmaker and motion graphics designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has completed work for the Long Leaf Opera Company, the former Exploris Museum and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.