Portholia: Round Windows

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Image: Ian Allen on Dwell

When it comes to quirky design choices, I’m often of two minds. My design mantra is always “whatever works for you.” However, I sometimes wonder what drives a particular interior décor decision. Specifically, I often find myself pondering the reasons behind the inclusion of round windows in a home. More than almost any other design element, I believe round windows need context within the décor. Here are a few of my favorite uses of round windows—and my thoughts on why they work in these interiors.

As Decoration

Portholia: Round Windows

Image: Paul Finkel/Piston Design on Contemporist

It’s a bold decision to include small porthole windows like those shown above; bold, because this is a permanent feature of the home that is not likely to be of everyone’s taste. But here they function as a decorative element, acting as a lighter counterpoint to the built-in cabinetry.

As a Feature Element

Portholia: Round Windows

Image: Design-Vox

Can you imagine the above wooden wall without that terrific round wood window? It would be interesting, but not nearly as attention-grabbing as it is with the window. This use of a large porthole improves the interest in this space considerably.

As Ventilation

Portholia: Round Windows

These two portholes aren’t serving the function of providing a view—that’s more than ably handled by the large glass window wall they’re inserted into—so it seems clear to me (pun intended) that they are included to allow for ventilation. It’s a plus that they also throw a punch of architectural interest into the space as well.

As One More Thing

Portholia: Round Windows

Image: The Vintage Home

Honestly, with all that’s happening visually in this space, I have no clue why the designer chose a round window here. Perhaps the exterior elevation of the structure calls for a porthole, but the interior design is not supporting that choice—unless the concept is to bring a softer shape into the room. Otherwise, this is just one more competing element.

What do you think about round windows? Yes or no?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of JapaneseTrash.com, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite (ruraltheory.com) and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (thenovogratz.com), Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.