Window Walls vs. Curtain Walls

Window walls open the indoors to the landscape.
Window walls open the indoors to the landscape. (Image: petit salon d'attente. image by Ignatius Wooster from

A window wall is primarily glass and support framing. A curtain wall is covered with curtains to give the illusion of a window wall, or it can describe a type of glass window wall system found primarily on commercial buildings. Window walls are designed to bring light into the space and to open interior rooms to the landscape. Often a window wall will be positioned to capture the views of the landscape or the intimate garden. Curtain walls are designed to soften the interior's appearance.

Video of the Day

Maximizing the View

A view of a city or the ocean can add significant value to a home. Many homes are designed to maximize the view through the installation of window walls. A window wall is a large arrangement of glass doors and windows across a single wall.

Softening a Room

A curtain wall is often installed in a room with few windows and problematic walls. This type of wall is common to basements and media rooms. The curtain wall absorbs sound and adds color and softness to a space. The wall can be used like a headboard or wall treatment. Some curtain walls actually divide the space and can be drawn back to remove the wall when it isn't needed.

A curtain wall installed behind a couch.
A curtain wall installed behind a couch. (Image: canapé image by reynald lassire from

Embracing Light

Window walls are also very good at bringing light into the interior of a home. Many passive solar homes use window walls to heat the indoor tile floors to warm a home in the winter. Select glass for the window wall that reduces UV radiation and maximizes usable light. Often a brighter interior looks larger, which adds visual square footage to a home.

Heat Loss

Curtain walls are installed around basement stairways to close off the stairway from heat loss during the winter. The curtain panels are thickly insulated and hung from a ceiling track that can be bent to wrap around the bottom of the staircase. By simply drawing the curtains, an additional layer of insulation helps control heat or air-conditioning loss, which reduces bills and makes the house more comfortable.


Promoted By Zergnet
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.