How to Install a Trick Window in a House


A house without many windows can be dark, dreary and depressing. However, installing trick or faux windows provides the illusion of an actual window. Multi-story apartment buildings, crowded suburban homes and basements without windows can benefit from fake windows. The purpose behind installing faux windows is to make a home feel more open, brighter and connected to the view outdoors. Budget-friendly faux window options complement almost any decor and personal preference.

Things You'll Need

  • Window frame
  • Paper towels
  • Glass cleaner
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Clean cloth
  • Paint primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Interior latex paint
  • Tape measure
  • Scenic poster or enlargement
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Picture hanger
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • E-Z drywall anchor
  • Curtain rod
  • Curtain rod brackets
  • Curtains, drapes or valance
  • Portable can light
  • Clean the glass in an old window frame with glass cleaner and a paper towel. You can also purchase a new window frame if a discarded one isn't available, with or without glass. Coordinate your faux window frame with other windows in the house to achieve a more realistic appearance. For example, if your home has window frames with muntin bars -- wooden or metal bars that divide the window panes -- choose that style for your faux window.

  • Sand the window frame with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections and roughen the surface to prepare it for primer. Wipe down the sanded areas with a damp, clean cloth to remove any dust particles.

  • Apply primer to the window frame with a paintbrush. Wait for the primer to dry for at least two hours before continuing.

  • Brush interior latex paint onto the window frame in smooth, even brushstrokes. Choose a paint color that matches other window frames in your home. Allow the paint to dry for at least two hours then apply a second coat.

  • Measure the height and width of the window frame and jot down these dimensions.

  • Trim a scenic poster or enlarged photograph to the dimensions of the window frame. Select a scene typical in your geographic area to make the faux window more realistic.

  • Attach the poster or photograph to the back of the window frame face-down. Use a staple gun to secure the print to the frame.

  • Fasten a sawtooth picture hanger onto the back, top center of the picture frame with a hammer. For window frames that weigh less than 20 lbs., position the window frame on the wall and hang it with a large nail and hammer. For heavier window frames, use the hammer to tap an E-Z drywall anchor into the wall then insert the corresponding screw into the anchor to hang the window frame.

  • Mount curtain rod brackets onto the wall a couple of inches above the faux window frame. Slide curtains, floor-length drapes or a valance over the rod and set it into the wall brackets. Use sheer curtains for a translucent view of your faux window.

  • Position a small, portable uplight or can light under floor-length drapes or hide it behind the curtains on the windowsill to illuminate your faux window and create the illusion of natural light.

Tips & Warnings

  • Another option for a trick window is to apply a faux scenic window decal to the wall. These decals are typically made of vinyl and adhere easily to the wall. Simply press the decal against the mounting surface and smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles by hand.

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