If you are looking to build, add to or renovate a house, window selection and placement will be important factors in planning the project. Choosing windows, in fact, goes far beyond simply finding a style and size that suits your taste and personal preferences. Window placement -- height from the floor, in particular -- will play a big role in your design and purchase decisions.
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The truth is that there is no normal height of a window from the floor. Window height varies by location, style and period. Window placement is greatly varied, as exemplified by the narrow windows placed real high in 1950s tract housing and the low and tall openings located almost on the the floor in suburban mansions of recent years.
Codes in every state and municipality govern minimum window height because windows are a necessary means of exit in an emergency. Code, which varies from location to location, will set the minimum height as well as the minimum opening size so that persons both smaller and larger than average can climb through without too much difficulty. In addition, structural considerations affect window height and size.
Once the minimum height and size requirements are met, style and function can take over as main considerations. If you are building an addition, window design and placement should be guided by the windows already present. If you are replacing windows and doing a major overhaul, consider that changing window placement will also change the style of the house.
A window's intended purpose also determines its placement. Windows in bathrooms and powder rooms, often smaller than other windows in the house, are often placed high for privacy. A window that opens to a small balcony might be placed especially low to allow easy access to the outside. Code requirements are not the same for all windows in all rooms of a house, so variation is often possible.