Outfit Your Windows With Accessories

From shutters to screens, outfit your windows with accessories that feature beauty and functionality.

Exterior of House Warmly Lit by Indoor Outdoor Lighting

Colonial-Style Home With Two Balconies

Window forms customize the elevation in the colonial tradition. Decorative black shutters are in keeping with traditional colonial features.

By: Peter Walsh

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Like the icing on a cake, there are plenty of accessories for your new windows, from the decorative to the utilitarian. You'll need latches to hold your windows closed, films to block out the sun if you don't have tinted glass, and fire safety ladders to protect your family. Here are some accessories to consider buying for your new windows.

Southwestern Window


Traditional-style homes such as Cape Cods, Georgians, farmhouses and cottages all cry out for shutters flanking their windows to add a classic, finished accent. There are many different styles of shutters in a plethora of materials from wood to plastic. Many manufacturers offer prefinished models in a host of colors to match or complement your home's exterior colors.

The most common styles are louvered, raised panel, louver/panel combinations and board-and-batten options. Some are offered with an arch-top panel. Non-functioning models are standard on most newer traditional-style homes. Adding shutters to an existing home is as simple as measuring your windows and purchasing the appropriate size to fit.

Wood shutters tend to be more expensive than plastic ones that are designed to resemble wood. Operating shutters that can be closed over the window in a severe storm or simply to block out the sun are another option. They require a hinge and latch to keep them closed, as well as shutter dogs to keep them open. They also tend to be more expensive than simple non-functioning shutters that simply lay flat against the siding of your house.

Shutter Dogs

Shutter dogs, often called tie-backs or hold-backs, hold operating shutters in place against the exterior of your house. Without them, your shutters may flap open and closed during a windstorm. Shutter dogs attach to the side of the house just past the edge of the shutters and twist allowing one part of the dog to hold the shutter open.

On non-operating shutters, they offer a decorative accent. Dogs come in many different styles that show your personality, from classic scrolls to themed versions such as sailboats, animals or fruits. Find them online or anywhere shutters and window accessories are sold.

Spanish Style Window

Spanish Mission Home Window

Stone, thick plaster walls, and decorative window bars add to the authenticity of this Spanish mission style home.


If security is an issue where you live you might want to install grilles over your windows to prevent unwelcome visitors from entering your home. Grilles are usually custom made and to that end, they can be designed in any style from simple bars to ornate Spanish or Mediterranean styles.

They are usually made of wrought iron and permanently attached firmly to the window frame or exterior of walls. Check with a local company that makes grilles in your area. They will visit your home and provide a free estimate of the costs.

Window Guards

If you have small children living in your home, you may want to install window guards to keep the little ones from accidentally falling out, especially on the upper-level windows of your house. Guards attach to the inside frame of the window and generally consist of two or three horizontal bars across the lower part of the window. You can purchase window guards online or at most larger hardware stores and install them yourself.


Blocking out the harsh UV rays of the sun, window films help keep the rooms cooler in the summer. Films attach directly to the glass by TK. They often sharpen or clarify the view acting much like a pair of sunglasses by cutting down the glare.

While films can be a do-it-yourself project, you'll get better results by having a professional install them on your windows. They have the expertise to accurately cut and apply the film for a crisp, clean look.


Keeping bugs out of your house is the number one reason you install screens on your windows. Most screens are now made of fiberglass mesh rather than the old metal versions. Costs vary depending on the size of the window. They can be stationary, meaning that they cover the entire window, or operating, meaning that they may slide up and down.

Most are removable so you can easily clean the glass when needed or store them away for the winter. Most major window brands have a screen option that retracts into the frame when not in use. Check with a local screen maker or window installer for options and pricing.

Safety Latches

To securely keep your windows closed you'll need latches. On double-hung windows, safety latches attach to the meeting rails and can be embedded into the rails of the window or can attach to the rails with screws on the inside of the window. The operating part of the latch grabs the stationary part of the latch when you move the handle.

Latches come in traditional brass, brushed aluminum finishes, chrome finishes and bronze finishes. They can also be ordered in white or off-white, depending on the finish you have on your windows. Order your latches when you order your windows so you have the appropriate model. On casement and awning windows, two latches are usually positioned along the opening edge of the window and are embedded into the stiles.


Window locks operate with a key to lock the window and prevent it from opening from the inside. Locks attach to the rails or stiles of the window generally on ground-floor windows. You can purchase locks at most major hardware stores and install them yourself, but be sure your family knows where the keys are to prevent them from being trapped inside in the event of a fire.

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Fire Safety Ladders

It's a good idea to have a roll-up fire safety ladder near each window on the upper levels of your home. They allow egress to the outdoors in case of fire, especially if exits through doors are blocked by fire or heavy smoke. One end of the ladder grabs on to the sill of the window while the other end drops down outside.

They come in various lengths so that they reach the ground level in the event of a fire. You can find them in most major hardware stores, but the key is to practice how to use them before a fire breaks out. Instruct your family about how they operate and conduct fire safety drills so everyone knows how to use them.

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