No Windows? No Problem. Help for a Windowless Room

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hey Guys,

A number of you have expressed interest in what to do if you have a windowless room.

It’s a reasonable question.

 

There are many situations where we might find ourselves in a windowless room.

 

  • Basements are one of the most common.
  • Bathrooms. And, especially many apartment bathrooms.
  • Kitchens can also be windowless.
  • Hallways. Remember, we were just discussing long, dark, narrow hallways. And, actually, there are some great ideas that could be adapted for spaces that aren’t halls.

Or, another possibility is if we need to divide a room and the part we are dividing would make for a windowless room.

And, sometimes, apartments and townhouses lack windows in certain areas.

 

So what are the options if you have a windowless room?

 

The Sky Factory

Here’s one idea.

You have to check this out. You must. Right now.

It’s okay. I’ll wait for you to come back.

Are you back?

Fun, huh?!

And they have it all. Anything you want to see out of your fake faux window!

 

Do you want to see tundra and mountains? Here ya’ go.

 

Snow in July? Sure, why not?

 

Do you want to live underwater in a virtual aquarium? Of course, you do.

 

Are you dreaming of tall palms in the twilight? They’re yours.

 

Do the stars and distant galaxies through your “skylight” strike your fancy? No problem!

Here’s a faux skylight at the Luxembourg center in Paris.

I mean, God only knows we must do whatever we can to make Paris more beautiful! ;]

 

This company, Windways, goes even further. They have a virtual window that “moves” with the viewer just as it would in real life. It costs from $10,000-$20,000 to have one of these babies installed.

 

Can’t we just move instead?

 

I dunno, it’s all reminding me of The Truman Show.

haha

I think I’d rather spend a couple of weeks at Canyon Ranch.

But what else is there for those of us on Hamburger Helper Budgets?

haha Maybe for a kids’ room or playroom.

That would be cute. And the price is right.

 

A wallpaper door to the beach with an adorable footbridge. Brilliant!

I hope that it comes with a life insurance policy.

After all— that is a solid wall! Ouch!

Wait until Uncle Bob has one (or two) too many and decides to go for a little dip. Right?

But here is the one that I really want to have.

 

AJ Wallpaper

This is what happens when one took too much LSD in college.

Yes. It’s a floor covering.

 

Okay. Time to get serious.

 

Who me?

So, let’s stay on track with our topic.

 

A Windowless Room

 

A windowless room is like a room with windows- except it’s always nighttime.

 

Isn’t it?

Well, yes and no.

What’s the difference?

The windows are made of glass, and glass is reflective. So that even at night, the glass is reflecting into the room any lights that hit it. BTW, I only just realized that when I started working on this post. I never really thought about it before.

But, in a lot of ways, I think it’s more psychological than anything. We equate windows with fresh air and good health. And if they aren’t there, it’s unsettling.

 

The first piece of business concerning windowless rooms.

 

What color should I paint them?

This may come as a shock to you, but paint them the same as you would a room with windows.

Really?

Sure, why not?

But bear this in mind.

It’s all about the lighting.

We had a windowless basement in our old townhouse. I had it painted a soft, pale yellow. I think it was Benjamin More 937. It’s ever so slightly icy, but it looked great with the incandescent lights on. I had a row of recessed down-lights going down the middle and then four wall sconces.

 

And, always architectural interest.

 

But here’s another thing.

 

We find ourselves in windowless rooms all the time and deem them gorgeous!

 

  • Every department store.
  • Many restaurants.
  • Hotels.
  • Theaters

Right?

And probably at least 90% of the showrooms at the High Point and other furniture markets. Most of the showrooms have no windows.

Nobody’s complaining either. In fact, when I come upon a furniture showroom with exterior windows, sometimes it feels a little weird.

 

But, I figure that we can start with these beautiful furniture showrooms to learn some tricks we can apply at home if we have a windowless room.

(or even a room WITH windows)

 

The Baker Showroom at High Point a few years via A Thoughtful Eye

 

This is a perfect example of how they used a monochromatic color scheme, mouldings, and created “windows”, with mirrors.

 

MIRRORS ARE ONE ANSWER

 

Mirrors reflect light. And light is what we need, especially if our room is dark.

 

The Christopher Guy Showroom in Las Vegas taken by Jeanne Chung of Cozy Stylish Chic.

I love how the mirrors make the space shimmer.

 

We’ll come back to some more ideas for windowless rooms using mirrors in a sec.

 

The next four images I took at the High Point Market in the Spring of 2016.

 

windowless room - Dupuis Showroom - photo by LBI

A wonderful interior window partition. I guess I knew that this image would come in handy one day from the Dupuis showroom.

 

Carol Pollard Antiques - High Point Market - windowless room

The booth of Carol Pollard at the High Point Antique Center. That antique Chinoiserie screen is amazing. No mirrors here and no windows either. But lots of beautiful lighting, glass, and shiny metallic pieces.

Phillips Scott - High Point - windowless room

One of my favorite vendors, Phillips Scott. Their booth is black and dark grays. It’s stunning in person.

Chelsea House at the High Point Market - photo - LBI

A pretty vignette with a bone inlay table, art prints, and blue and white lighting from Chelsea House. It’s to the trade, but you can find a lot of the pieces here.

 

HG Living Beautifully

I especially love mirrors in dark rooms.

 

source unknown

How do you feel about the mirrored “window” being flanked by drapes? I’m not sure. I think I would rather see some beautiful mouldings. But, the idea of creating an interior window is a great one, I think.

 

original source unknown

Love the antique mirror and those red Klismos chairs!

 

Form the super stylish home of Morgane Sezalory

Gorgeous mirror!

By the way, I recently found an old post where I had spelled Gorgeous as ‘Georgeous’ in the title. lol

And no one corrected me! I did change the title, but cannot change the URL, so “georgeous” it is!

 

Original source unknown but found here where you can see the rest of the house.

Fabulous mirrored closet doors or any doors with mirrors would be terrific in a windowless room.

 

windowless room - mirrored closets in a pretty bedroomChristina Murphy and Meg Gabriele via Lonny

Beautiful antique mirrors on these closet doors in this pretty, soft bedroom.

 

It doesn’t have to be a mirrored all the way around in a windowless room.

 

Suzanne Kasler - Hickory Chair showroom - windowless room

Above and below are Suzanne Kasler, and both of these are either studio shots or are from the Hickory Chair Showroom in High Point. They used these beautiful Chinoiserie panels in their showroom.

 

Yes, that’s a faux window AND a faux fireplace too!

Love Suzanne’s designs.

 

John Jacob

Fabulous paneled mirrors flank a fireplace.

Okay, I want to circle back to the idea at the top of the post, but more elegant.

 

And that is, my favorite solution for a windowless room is to create a faux window.

 

One that isn’t tacky that is.

 

Thomas Pheasant for Baker Furniture - faux windows - windowless roomThomas Pheasant for Baker Furniture

Or, faux-French Doors.

I’ll get to how they do this in a sec. Or, at least, how I think they do this.

 

Thomas Pheasant Collection - Baker Furniture - faux window - windowless room

The one above might be a real window, but maybe it isn’t.

 

How to create this faux window for a windowless room could be a DIY project, but to get the most professional look, I’d hire a contractor, if possible. I’ll try to give you some sources.

 

 

Actually, you have got to see this guy. (Barry Belcher). I promise the first minute or so of his presentation will capture your attention.

But Barry, they are L. E. D. lights, not led lights. I’ll forgive him, though, because I really would love to have his hair.

I think he has the right idea, but I think it could all be done a little more professionally.

 

But, the idea of backlighting to create a faux window is a good one.

 

Here are more thoughts I have as to how this could work in some windowless rooms.

Let’s say we have a plain wall, and it’s 12 feet long. But, it could be more or less. A contractor could frame out a wall about one foot in front of the plain wall.  However, it would be secured to the wall behind.

The new wall is now going to become a wall with one or two windows. And because the new wall is one foot away from the old one, they can even be recessed, like real windows.

This old house - builtin bookcases - photo: Anthony Tieuli

This is a variation on that idea, via This Old House. (photo: Anthony Tieuli)

 

design-allison-seidler-photo - Michael Hunter

design-Allison-Seidler photo – Michael Hunter via Elle Decor

The version above uses a French door. But, it could also be a faux French Door. The only difference would be that there isn’t actually a room behind it. OR, if it was mirrored, there could be a room behind it. I hope that makes sense.

The window or door could have frosted glass and then be back-lit with LED lights to simulate daylight. I read an article somewhere, where a designer put them on a timer so that they are only lit during the day.

 

Brian-J-Mccarthy-design – photo – Fritz von der Schulenburg – via Elle Decor

 

You could even put a window at the end of a hall. The above isn’t the end of a hall. But, it gives an idea of what I’m talking about. Again, you would build a wall in front of the existing wall to make the window look even more real. However, you can also create a window if your studs are wooden on the existing wall in some cases. If there are pipes, you might not be able to do that.

Or, if the hall is wide enough, you could add the windows along the corridor.

Another idea is to add a faux window to a windowless bathroom.

 

madeintheshadeblindsandmore - faux stained glass window - bathroom - windowless roommade in the shade blinds and more

 

I love this idea of a faux leaded glass window in a bathroom.

This clever blogger created a third (faux) window in her bathroom. It seems that it could’ve been recessed like the other windows because it is flush with the cubbies, but at least the idea is good.

 

interior window-airy-apartment-in-copenhagen-pufikhomes - not a windowless room

pufikhomes

I think you could even pull off this look in a windowless room. Like the others, a builder would build out the wall and do everything you see here, except again, the glass would be frosted. Of course, you need to have a space large enough to deduct a foot or so of the useable space.

 

interior windows-airy-apartment-in-copenhagen-pufikhomesAnd more interior windows from the same home in Copenhagen. I can’t believe it’s almost two years since I was there!

 

windowless room-blog.sweeten.com - interior window wall - Deeksha_Living_Roomblog.sweeten.com – interior window wall – Deeksha_Living_Room

 

You must check out the room above.

 

They created a room divider with interior windows and a French door. This works nicely because there are windows on the other side.  But, let’s say that the side the sofa is in doesn’t have windows. You could add mirrors to the opposite wall that we can’t see. That would reflect back tons of light from the room behind the windows and French door.

 

This is a repeat of an image I love, which you can see in this post that also has some great ideas for making boxy, plain rooms more interesting.

I think that windows on interior walls are fabulous, and it makes so much sense to do in a windowless room. Sometimes there’s light on the other side of the wall. But even in a large basement, it would be cool to delineate different areas and add a reflective material.

Well, I hope that gave you some good ideas for decorating your windowless rooms.

xo,

 

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES here.

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Also, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is in full swing. This will take you to the sale.

There’s one more week, and then it’s all over.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Margaret - August 25, 2020 - 11:57 AM

    My GYN used the tropical ones in the ceilings in her windowless exam rooms.ReplyCancel

  • Helen - August 24, 2020 - 10:45 PM

    Excellent idea about the faux window! I love it and hope that some people put it into use. I’m in the midst of redoing our house and one of the first things that I did to add more light and give the illusion of height was to have a carpenter add moldings around the windows of our main rooms and include a faux transom above each window. We then put a mirror in that rectangle.

    Once the house is put back together enough to take non-embarassing pictures, I’ll send you some.ReplyCancel

  • Anne Davis - August 23, 2020 - 8:22 PM

    I may be moving into another apt. that has what I call a coffin kitchen – galley, narrow, no window. I’m claustrophobic so it’s going to be a challenge. My though was to put a flat screen TV on the back wall and connect (using a firestick) to YouTube which has about a million nature videos. The other option would be to connect a CCTV camera, mounted to the balcony, to play on the TV on the kitchen wall. I saw it done in a San Francisco home and thought it was brilliant.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - August 23, 2020 - 3:23 PM

    Some of those windowless rooms are stunning, and they feel cozy and cocoon-like. I used to work in the hospitality business, in resort spas – many of which had no windows – and they were the loveliest spaces you could imagine. Yes, lighting is SO important, and color too. I know there are experts that are lighting designers, but how exactly do they approach their craft?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 26, 2020 - 2:52 AM

      I think they go to school for it. It’s definitely a skill one needs to study.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - August 23, 2020 - 2:40 PM

    The rooms pictured in this article are beautiful but I personally could not live with a fake window no matter how well it is done. ( I think I have spent too much time inside airports ). I am planning to decorate a windowless bathroom using black background Chinoiserie wallpaper and semi gloss white paint on moldings. White tile floor. Lots of shiny chrome hardware. The wallpaper will bring in “the outside” feel without looking through a window. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.ReplyCancel

  • Svetlana - August 23, 2020 - 1:23 PM

    What a gorgeous post! I see some fake fireplaces and wondering how would you make not mantel but rather this inside thing (not sure how it’s called) look believable, how deep should it be, how big, how small, good and bad examples. Fake mantels with fake inside things and still beautiful, is it possible? My architectural features is boring and I like the idea of a mantel. But I’ve seen so many horrible fake things that I’m afraid of them. But I believe a person with a good eye can make it work. It could be a fun post as I so so many disasterous mantel inserts lol. I wish I made a picture to show you!ReplyCancel

  • Lizzy - August 23, 2020 - 12:55 PM

    The photo from pufikhomes and the home in Copenhagen (same home?) made my heart happy. So beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - August 23, 2020 - 12:16 PM

    Well, maybe putting in faux windows if the right ones, would change that if done well? I’m not saying that it would be cheap, but I think in most spaces the illusion of a real window could be created.ReplyCancel

  • Anne Mathers - August 23, 2020 - 11:38 AM

    Don’t forget the beauty of a transom window for light and ventilation in a windowless roomReplyCancel

  • Lynn Groves - August 23, 2020 - 10:06 AM

    A bit aside from the subject, but I am in love with the glass pendants from the Baker Showroom…any thoughts on a source for these?ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - August 23, 2020 - 8:42 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thanks for the listing of all your hilarious posts from the past. I’ve bookmarked that page. This is a good one too. My dear friend just got out of cancer surgery so it was nice to have something to laugh at first thing in the morning.

    On the fake window front, I’ve made one of these for a client. She works as a cranial therapist in a small windowless room and wanted something that would mimic daylight. We found a nice old window frame with panes that I spruced up, then mounted the LED, not led light strips from Lee Valley tools onto the inside sides of the framework. Having a background in textile art, I silk painted a beautiful sky on silk and then stretched it taut on the back. It does have a wire that comes down as we could not hard wire it into the clinic space since it was a rental but it sure did the job. It looked really beautiful lit up and gave a nice soft light.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - August 23, 2020 - 7:36 AM

    Hello Laurel, Perhaps some of those windowless spaces such as showrooms or theaters seem ok because they are part of such large areas that we don’t feel claustrophobic. In Taiwan (and I’m sure in New York and other cities) many mid-block apartments are long and narrow and only have windows at the two ends. Sometimes windowless rooms are stranded in the middle, which for some reason are called Japanese rooms, often complete with tatami mats and wooden floors, but to me these don’t make up for the lack of windows.
    –JimReplyCancel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.