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Should you get a stained glass window at home? Cost and installation

Color and character: Adding a stained glass window to your home

The earliest history of stained glass windows dates back to when pieces of colored glass were used in St. Paul’s Monastery in Jarrow, England, in 686 AD. Between the 1100s and 1500s, during the Renaissance and Gothic period, historians saw stained glass windows and decor as one of the foremost painting techniques throughout Europe.Despite many associating stained glass with places of worship, this form of art is adaptable so you could install stained glass windows in both traditional and contemporary home designs. Stained glass culture has gone through many transformations throughout its history and now, 21st-century artists are embracing this culture by transforming stained glass into modern designs to add to your home.Of course, if you’re not ready to commit to installing stained glass windows into your home, there are alternatives. You could opt for stained glass window clings or hanging stained glass window panels instead. Either way, by adding stained glass windows (or stained glass alternatives) to your home, you’ll be adding character and color to the interior and exterior of your home.

Where to find a stained glass window for your home

If you would like to install stained glass windows instead of hanging stained glass window panels or using stained glass window clings, you can find new and antique stained glass windows in the following places:

  • Antique shops and flea markets: At these locations, you’ll typically find an assortment of stained glass windows salvaged from older structures. History and craftsmanship are sometimes the best part of choosing antiques or reclaimed stained glass windows.
  • Custom stained glass windows: Many artisans throughout the country specialize in stained glass windows and stained glass window hangings. If you opt for this, you can get a piece of art created according to your specifications.
  • Online (Etsy, Wayfair, eBay, etc.): Shopping online offers a wealth of opportunities for picking the perfect stained glass window. You can opt for something handmade in online stores like Etsy, or select new pieces from places like Overstock and Wayfair. You can even shop for antiques in online shops like eBay.
  • Big box stores: Places like Home Depot carry more than traditional windows. You can also find an assortment of stained glass windows, as well as stained glass window panels.

How much do stained glass windows cost?

You’ll find that prices for a stained glass window vary depending on where you’re shopping, as well as if it’s a custom-made or antique piece. It also depends on if you’re shopping for stained glass window panels, stained glass window hangings or stained glass window film. The cost of professional installation also depends on what kind of stained glass window you’re purchasing.For example, if you’re purchasing stained glass window panels, the prices can reach up to several thousand dollars, depending on the size and level of detail. If you’re looking for an antique stained glass window, those prices can range between $150 and $24,000. If you purchase a stained glass window with a wooden frame, expect the cost to range between $400 and $700.

Factors to consider when installing stained glass windows

Picking out stained glass windows involves more than looking at colors, designs, shapes and sizes. You also have to consider the method of installation. For example, if you choose a shape or pattern that doesn’t fit with your existing windows then it won’t fit in with the aesthetic or design scheme you’re creating.There are several different ways to install a stained glass window. For example, you can have a professional installer remove an existing window and replace it with your piece. Or, you can ask them to cut out a new area for the stained glass window installation. Making these decisions involves looking at the positioning of your current windows and deciding whether a replacement or addition is appropriate.If you’re not comfortable with your current windows coming out or making a new cutout in your home’s façade, you still have other options. For example, you could find a stained glass window installer who will put stained glass window panels over your existing windows. They’ll even match the color of your existing window frame to help it blend with your current interior and exterior.

Benefits of adding a stained glass window

Homeowners across the country are adding stained glass windows to their doors, bay windows and other areas of their home. Here are some benefits to adding a stained glass window to your home:

  • Add color or interest to an existing set of windows
  • Enhance your home’s architecture
  • Introduce touches of color to both the interior and exterior of your home

Drawbacks of stained glass windows

While stained glass windows add an element of privacy and whimsy to your home’s decor, that doesn’t mean they’re a good choice for every room. There’s a fine line between decorating with them elegantly and using too many. Here are some drawbacks you should consider before purchasing a stained glass window:

  • If you choose dark or bold colors, not much light passes through
  • Can distort views of outdoor scenery
  • You’re selecting pieces that can change the entire aesthetic of your home
  • If you’re altering the shape of your window it will change your home’s design for the long-term

Stained glass window alternatives

If you love the look of stained glass, you don’t have to lock yourself into replacing your existing windows or figuring out a complicated installation. Instead, you can opt for stained glass window alternatives. They’re a gorgeous way to embrace your love for stained glass windows without having to make a firm commitment. Here are some other stained glass window options to consider:

  • Stained glass window film (stained glass window clings): If you see stained glass window clings and stained glass window film, the manufacturers mean the same thing. They’re each faux window treatments that stick to your current windows and create a stained glass window look.
  • Stained glass window hangings: Choosing this option means you can hang a piece of stained glass in a window. You can also opt to hang it on your wall as a piece of art.
  • Resin alternative: Instead of using glass, you can also find decorative pieces that look like a stained glass window but use resin instead. The same techniques apply and you’ll find these pieces look similar to stained glass windows when you’re sorting through selections.

Maintaining a stained glass window

Cleaning your stained glass windows takes patience and a gentle touch. You’ll find this is especially true when it comes time to clean an antique stained glass window. Here are some tips to consider when it’s time to clean your stained glass windows:

  • Use distilled water and a soft cloth for light cleaning
  • If residue appears, use a cleaner that’s free of vinegar and ammonia
  • Make sure the cleaning products are non-abrasive and pH-neutral

The bottom line on stained glass windows

There’s something special about incorporating the beauty of stained glass windows into your interior and exterior designs. Whether you choose a stained glass window featuring bold colors or clear glass, it’s a gorgeous way of adding interest and a touch of history to your home. Because some stained glass windows are delicate, it’s best to hire a professional installer.If you’re not comfortable committing to a stained glass window installation, there are many other alternatives. These include stained glass window clings and stained glass window hangings. Depending on what type of stained glass windows you choose, the costs will vary considerably.

Frequently asked questions

  • How much do stained glass windows cost? Prices could be as low as $150 or as high as thousands of dollars depending on the type of stained glass window you’re choosing, as well as size and installation.
  • Where are stained glass windows found? You can find stained glass windows at antique stores, flea markets, custom shops, artisan galleries, big box stores and online.
  • How do you clean stained glass windows? Start by spot cleaning with distilled water. If the residue is stubborn, use non-abrasive cleaners that are pH-neutral and don’t contain ammonia or vinegar.
  • Are stained glass window clings a good alternative? No matter if you choose stained glass window clings or stained glass window hangings, both are a beautiful alternative to a traditional stained glass window. Make sure you’re choosing high-quality materials that last for years.
  • How long do stained glass windows last? A stained glass window should last between 75 and 150 years. If they’re made from high-quality materials using the correct technique, you shouldn’t have any issue with longevity.


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