Windows can make or break a garage conversion from both an aesthetic and human comfort factor and therefore require some real thought and consideration. In this post we discuss the rules you must follow and what mistakes to avoid. Additionally I give you some ideas for your garage conversion on how to not only provide the right amount of natural light but also give your conversion the wow factor.

#1 Rule to follow

Our Number 1 rule for choosing windows is to respect the original house's design and architectural features.

If your existing windows have details such as Georgian Bar (the small white bar in between the glass panels) then they should be matched in your new window. Likewise, if the window openings have stone sills or a contrasting brick detail then this should also be matched.

Window with Georgian Bar Detail

Types of Windows

Bay Window

A bay window would add additional floor space and would therefore require planning permission. While this adds an additional cost to the project it is often worth it. Especially when attempting to balance the house and create that double fronted symmetrical look.

Bow Window

Normally reserved for conversions that intend to match an existing bow window and balance the front aspect of the house. Unlike Bay Windows a bow does not add floor space and therefore does not require planning permission.

Velux Windows

Although the Velux window is more commonly used in loft conversions many garages could also benefit from these. If your garage projects forward from the house with a pitched roof, it may be possible to install a Velux. Detached garages with pitched roofs can normally accommodate several Velux windows and really help to achieve that light and airy feel.

Adding Velux’s however can be costly if your roof is built using engineered truss’s and these will normally need to be replaced with a cut roof to achieve maximum effect. However, it is possible to retain the truss system and add Velux windows if you are happy with the recessed light well look.  

recessed velux window with flat ceiling

Floor to Ceiling Windows

Taller windows allow more natural light into the room and can be a striking design feature. I try to incorporate these into my designs and they feature in this article which discus's my top ideas for garage conversion. However, floor to celling windows can also ruin the balance and symmetry of the building when used on the front elevation for integral garage conversions. Whereas detached garages often suit this style of window and doors, especially on the side aspects.  

It may be tempting to save money by simply replacing the garage door with a set of French Doors or floor to ceiling windows but for most integral garages conversions it looks terrible.

Gable end of detached garage with floor to ceiling windows

Skylights and Roof Windows

Also known as roof lanterns these windows are perfect for garages with flat roofs and can flood the space with copious amounts of light. Bear in mind that the larger you go the more structural work will be required and an engineer may be required to design the supporting frame for some large roof lights.

Sun Tunnels

These can be the perfect solution for adding extra natural light to a garage that has a pitched roof when you want to maintain the flat ceiling look. A window similar to a Velux is installed on the pitched roof and connects to a reflective tube which passes through the void delivering light to a diffuser in the ceiling.  

Window Placement

Placement for most garage conversions is an obvious decision, the big hole in the front of the house 😊. Conversely detached garage conversions require more thought, and a survey is recommended. During a survey the designer will think about views, the orientation to the sun, as well as the relationship to the internal layout.

Placing a window in front of a desk that faces South West could mean working afternoons wearing sunglasses as the sun sets directly behind your computers monitor.  

Summary

For most garage conversions the window is an obvious decision and matching the original home is the goal. However, some conversions (normally detached garages) will have many options. Subsequently the ideas discussed above can be used to design a building that is not only beautiful but comfortable and functional too. For design help and more garage conversion ideas why not book a free site survey.

About the Author Michael NEGC


Michael is the Architectural Designer and Surveyor at North East Garage Conversions.
Michael has a HNC in Civil Engineering and a HND in Construction Management. Previous experience includes multiple renovations, a self build plus working as an Architectural Technician, Designer and Project Manager.

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