Understanding Window Styles: A Guide to Window Style Selection

When selecting windows, there are many things to consider. With multiple window styles available, it is not always easy to tell them apart. Consider this a guide to understanding and selecting windows for a home. Learn some of the primary window styles and what makes them different from one another.

Related: Understanding Home Styles

Casement Windows

Casement Window - Explore CGI Casement Windows

A casement window swings open like a door. This style of window hinges on the side. Casement windows are known for providing excellent ventilation to kitchens and other rooms in the home. Unlike a single hung window, a casement window has no center rail to obstruct the view outside. Casement windows can be used alone or as part of a more massive installment along with picture (non-opening) windows. A casement window is ideal for spaces in the home where pushing a window sash upwards is not always easy to reach. Many homeowners install casement windows above their kitchen sinks. Casement windows are often considered one of the most energy-efficient window types. The sash of a casement window creates an airtight seal against the frame when closed, making it hard for air to escape.

Awning Windows


An awning window (sometimes referred to as a project-out window) is a top hinged outward opening window. Awning windows protect the window opening like an awning. This feature allows awning windows to provide ventilation even during the rainiest of weather. Awning windows are suitable in nearly every style of home and frequently used in bathrooms with obscure or textured glass to provide privacy. Awning windows are an option for most areas of a house that require an operable window. An awning window can be placed higher on a wall than most openable windows and can even be installed over furniture or benches while still allowing access to operate the window. This feature makes awning windows a practical choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Like casement windows, an awning window is suitable for nearly every style of home and is frequently used in bathrooms with obscure or textured glass to create privacy. Awning windows can also be locked in an open position. This characteristic makes them an excellent window choice for homeowners that want to let in ventilation but not want to compromise the security of their home.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Picture Window

Sparta Impact Windows

Picture windows, sometimes called fixed windows, are typically used for larger openings. Homes that utilize picture windows do not require a window that opens and enjoy uninterrupted, expansive views. Because of their oversized nature, a picture window brings in more daylight into homes. Picture windows usually require less maintenance since there are no mechanical parts associated with this window type. An excellent choice for framing outdoor views from living rooms, dining rooms, master bedrooms, and where ventilation is not a concern, picture windows are often an essential part of architectural design. A picture window is diverse in its sizes and shapes. Many manufacturers often refer to these types of picture windows as architectural. Some examples include:

  • Half Circle Picture Window
  • Arch Top or Eyebrow Picture Window
  • Full Circle Picture Window
  • Octagon Picture Window
  • Hexagon Picture Window
  • Chord Picture Window
  • Tombstone Picture Window
  • Trapezoid Picture Window
  • Pentagon Picture Window
  • Gothic Pentagon Picture Window

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Single Hung Window

A single hung window is a traditional style sash (a sash is the part of a window that moves and holds glass panes together) operable window that opens without any interior or exterior space required. A single hung window is often the standard window type used in newer home construction and condominium buildings. This style of window is a perfect choice for most rooms of a home. A single hung window has a bottom panel, or sash, that moves vertically, while the upper sash remains stationary. When opened, the bottom sash obstructs, at least partially, the top sash. Single hung windows are considered one of the more cost-efficient, which makes them one of the most popular window types in homes. Also, a single hung window is energy-efficient since it has only one movable sash, there is less opportunity for air infiltration as the window ages.

Related: Benefits of New Windows and Doors

Horizontal Sliding Window

Horizontal sliding windows, commonly referred to as a sliding window, traditionally includes panels within the window that slide side-to-side, similar to a horizontal sliding door. The sash slides open left or right, which is perfect for satisfying bedroom egress requirements. Horizontal sliding windows are a popular style for contemporary and modern homes. A horizontal sliding window is typically wider than it is tall. This feature makes a horizontal sliding window ideal for wide openings and expansive views. For example, a large sliding window can offer more of an unobstructed view of the outdoors since it showcases a broader landscape view. Horizontal sliding windows also provide an abundance of air ventilation because they are typically larger in size, a sliding window also tends to open wider than other window types. Some people find a horizontal sliding window is less complicated to open and close than a crank-style window. Also, since they open and close without protruding, horizontal sliders are an excellent choice for rooms facing patios, walkways, porches, or other areas that receive high foot traffic.

Understanding window styles, how they function, and their benefits can assist when making new or replacement window decisions. CGI offers a variety of window types to meet the needs of most homes.

Inspiration: The Colors of Miami’s South Beach

Whether you live blocks from the ocean or vacation in South Beach, Miami, Florida, there is one thing that always stands out: the colors. Southern Florida, coastal and inland, homes can take inspiration and bring the recognizable palette of this area into your everyday life. Who would not want to feel like they are in South Beach soaking up the sun every day?

Related: Understanding Home Styles

South Beach is not only well-known amongst Floridians, but this unique location has inspired decor and interiors all over the world. Residences have taken nods from South Beach’s sparkling white backdrops with transparent materials and light neutrals that sometimes appear to be reflecting the colors of the ocean. Pops of unexpected color remind visitors of the stark palm trees that line the streets and dot the oceanside. One thing is clear when taking inspiration from South Beach; it is encouraged to be bold and have fun.

Textures and Shades Make White Interesting

Colors of Miami’s South Beach Sherbet

Do not be intimidated by white-based palettes. By adding texture, you can create a warm, inviting space that is never sterile or cold. Consider using white-inspired countertops in kitchens, bathrooms, and other serving surfaces. Companies like Silestone offer more than 16 shades and textures of white surfaces. When decorating with upholstery and fabrics, consider washed cotton, linen, twill, vinyl, flannel, sateen, and even canvas for its durability. By mixing different textures of fabric, a white backdrop will be attractive to the eye. Also, your walls do not have to depend on paint solely. White grasscloth wallpaper can shift the eye vertically and continue the white-theme higher in a room.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Ocean Not Required

South Beach Colors Dining Table

In South Beach, a white-based palette is accentuated by the beautiful aqua and marine colors that the ocean views bring into a home. But if those colors are not outside your window, accents of these shades will remind you of these tranquil views. Take a nod from any glass shelf, end table, coffee table, or dining table top you have. Pull this inspiration color into your throw pillows, art, accent pieces, and rugs to feel like an ocean breeze could come through your windows at any time.

Pops of Color

South Beach Colors Living Room

Now that you know how to create a tranquil backdrop, it is time to consider a pop of color and pattern. From the yellow beach umbrellas to the red and white striped lifeguard stands and sherbet colored art deco district buildings, South Beach is full of color. Homeowners can even take a nod from the palm trees and tie them into their decor. With low commitment and tons of personality, consider trying a peel and stick wallpaper with bright green tropical leaves. Also, South Beach has multiple hotels that can inspire a one-of-kind look. Consider the Red South Beach Hotel which showcases how a pop of color and warm wood tones can steal the show in a mostly white room.

Finally, South Beach-inspired decors should not be cookie-cutter. Miami’s art scene, international influences, architecture, and coastal scenery can be interpreted in many ways. What’s most important is that you take the time to figure out what inspires you about South Beach, then decorate your home, so it gives you the feeling of this coastal city.

The Benefits of New Windows and Doors

Homeowners can be both excited and nervous when going through a home renovation or new build. It is not always easy to know where money should be invested and what will give homeowners the most significant return on investment (ROI). But did you know windows and doors can not only help aesthetically improve your home but can save you money in the long run? Here’s a checklist of things to ask yourself when evaluating windows and doors for a remodel or new construction.

Related: HOA Rules to Know Before Buying Replacement Windows

Remodel: Do you notice a spike in your energy bill during a specific season? 

An energy bill increase may be a sign that it is time to consider upgrading a home’s doors and windows. When considering new windows, take time to review previous energy bills. If a homeowner notices a spike in his/her bill during warmer or colder months, he/she may want to consider upgrading his/her door or window types. From insulating to laminated glass, these types of features can help lower energy bills. Also, adding energy efficient options can also improve a home’s energy efficiency.

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Remodel: Can you feel, or even hear, air flowing around your windows? 

Have you ever walked by your window or door and heard the wind howling? Or maybe during the hottest part of the day, you can feel the temperature rise as you approach your windows? Other than evaluating your energy bill, you can also determine if a window or door upgrade might be needed by looking for these subtle hints. For less than $20, homeowners can buy an infrared thermometer on Amazon. This fun gadget can detect the temperature near your windows and doors versus the rest of your home. If there is a significant discrepancy, then it may be time to reach out to a certified door and window dealer.

Remodel: Does your home function the way you want it to, or are their parts of the exterior you wish were more accessible?

Do you have to walk through your living room to get to the patio to grill? Or maybe you wish you had more ventilation in your kitchen for those days you bake up a storm. Sometimes considering new ways to use your existing window and door space can make your day-to-day living more comfortable. Instead of walking through the living room to exit to the patio, you could add a French door between the kitchen and living space. Or maybe you replace a single hung window over the sink with a casement window that swings open like a door and can easily open with a crank.

New construction + Remodel: Would you be interested in giving both your interior and exterior an update at the same time? 

HGTV’s show, Hidden Potential, is an ideal way to get inspired. The show’s host, Jasmine Roth, remodels homes in planned neighborhoods. This show, like others, is an opportunity for homeowners to see how making updates to windows and doors can make their home stand out from their neighbors’. Also, in new construction, homeowners sometimes have opportunities to upgrade their windows and doors. Some of these upgrades can not only help save homeowners on their bills (like impact resistant products), but they can also create a chance to have an aesthetically unique home in a planned neighborhood. By even selecting a frame color other than white, (think bronze) homeowners can give their home a unique look.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

New construction + Remodel: Have you ever wanted more natural light in your home?

For new construction and remodels, homeowners have an opportunity to think about areas of their home where they may want more, or even less, sunlight. Then they can work with their builder or contractor to see what options are available. Sometimes, a window can be added to a closet to allow more light and ventilation, or by adding French door sidelights, more light can fill a room.

There are numerous benefits to having new windows and doors in your home. For remodel projects, it is important to know if you have any HOA rules you need to abide by before selecting products. For new construction, working closely with your builder to understand what options you have and upgrades are available can allow you to create an ideal, unique home. No matter what, having new windows and doors can protect your family and home while helping you pocket a little extra cash by lowering your energy bills. Builders and contractors have expertise when it comes to windows and doors, so do not feel like you have to have all the answers. The goal as a homeowner is to know what you need and want, then have an expert help you execute your plan.

HOA Rules to Know Before Buying Replacement Windows

Before you research styles or start to request replacement windows estimates, your first step should be to know the rules.

You may be wondering why.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Most HOA’s care about window style, type, and color when it comes to replacement windows. It’s your job to know what your HOA will and will not allow when buying replacement windows. 

Why does your HOA care? Depending upon the community, most window replacement challenges occur when…

  • Windows do not match unit to unit or with the aesthetic of the neighborhood.
  • Windows do not meet regulations set by the HOA to improve the overall home value of the community (this often occurs with older construction).
  • Homeowners install partial replacement windows when a total replacement is required.

To avoid these common issues, the HOA has rules on the style, type, and color for the windows that they will eventually approve.

Window Style

First, it’s essential to know what style of windows you currently have and what your HOA will approve. Knowing the basic window styles will also help you communicate more efficiently with your certified window dealer. There may be an opportunity for you to update or swap out one window style for another if the exterior aesthetic looks the same. For example, you may be able to replace a fixed window with a new casement window that would allow you additional ventilation. Discussing your needs with a dealer along with the rules you have to abide by will help you decide if it is worth proposing a new window style to your HOA board.

Window Type

The process starts to get more technical when you are considering window types. You may find that your HOA will require a specific window type, or they may only care about the window style. Either way, when researching replacement windows, it’s a good idea to understand the types of windows available and why one may be a better option over another for your replacement windows project. Here are some examples:

Vinyl Windows: 

      • Can be painted
      • Can be more affordable
      • Can help regulate your home’s internal temperature

Aluminum Windows: 

    • Durable
    • Can improve insulation
    • May feature a sleeker aesthetic (like a thinner frame style)

Once you know the rules of your HOA, deciding between vinyl windows and aluminum windows is as easy as talking with your certified window dealer to get answers to any additional questions you may have about the ideal replacement windows for your home.

Also, keep in mind that depending on what part of the country you live in, there may be additional window requirements. These requirements could include things like impact-resistant glass in and near hurricane-prone zones. Older communities may require these types of updates for your window replacement project because local ordinances have changed since the initial installation of your windows.

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Window Color

Are you the type that thumbs through home decor magazines or looks at Pinterest home makeovers? Or maybe you’re more subtle, and you go a few blocks out of your regular commute or daily walk to look at different neighborhood homes. No matter your interest level in window colors, odds are, your HOA will want to have a say in your window replacement project. For your HOA, it is essential to have a cohesive neighborhood that is aesthetically consistent. Also, this type of consistency can help increase home resale values when potential buyers can see the uniform quality of each home in your neighborhood. Once you know your options based upon  your HOA rules, it’s an ideal time to talk with your window dealer about possible window colors.

Color options may include the following:

  • White windows
  • Bronze windows
  • Bone white windows
  • Black windows
  • Clear anodize (color looks like stainless steel) windows
  • Mahogany red windows
  • Walnut brown windows
  • Hazelnut brown windows

Depending upon the window manufacturer and the type of windows you select, multiple color options may be available for your replacement windows project. 

By reaching out to your HOA first, you’ll save yourself time. You will have the window knowledge you need to share with your window dealer to select the right windows for your home.

Now you know what is required to kick off your window replacement project. All that’s left is to attend your next HOA meeting or email your HOA board for guidance.

New Construction: Windows and Doors Make a Difference

New home construction is tricky. There are millions of choices to make, and it can feel like every single one of them is permanent.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

But, when it comes to windows and doors, there’s no reason to stress. They not only provide personality to a home, but they give houses a different look and feel depending upon the time of day and season. Here are some considerations for door and window location and type in new construction.

Window and Door Options

When working with a builder, you have options on windows and doors. Sometimes these are filed under the “upgrade” category but don’t automatically count them out when evaluating your budget. When moving into a new home, there are things you can invest in later after you move in. But decisions during a build about windows and doors will save you time and money when you have an initial strategy. In other words, it’s easier to add a door or window when building a home than to go back and add it later.

Upgrade options don’t stop with simply adding new doors and windows to your floor plan. This is also an ideal time to consider upgrading to impact windows and doors. In the long run, this upfront investment can help you save you money long-term with potentially lower insurance premiums and much more.

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Door and Window Location

Accessibility can make the difference between liking and loving your home. Does your existing floor plan have a door far away from the kitchen that allows you to access your lanai ? Consider replacing a window closer to the kitchen with a door or adding a new French Door if entertaining outdoors is important, and you don’t want to have to carry food and drinks far. Do you like to store your backyard gardening tools in the garage? Maybe a side-entry door from the backyard to your garage would make things easier for you day-to-day. 

Window and Door Types

For example, if your initial floor plan offers a single swing door to your back patio, is it worth upgrading to a sliding glass door, so you can easily transport food to the grill and drinks out to your guests without having to turn a knob or handle? Or, do you love to grow herbs in your kitchen? There are a couple of window types that should be considered:

Fixed/Picture Window: A picture window gives you more sunlight for your plants (and maybe the perfect excuse to grow your plant family). 

Project-Out Window: Are you an avid baker who likes to air out the kitchen after a long day of baking? Consider adding a project-out window for easy kitchen ventilation.  

Casement Window: The ease of a casement window over the sink allows you to easily open and close your window with the use of a crank. Casement window screens also keep out unwelcome insect visitors.

Door and Window Design

Would you like your home to stand-out compared to your neighbors? It’s worth asking your builder if you have window frame finish options or other upgrades to select from. . You may also have the option to select from half circle, eyebrow, half eyebrow, arch, half arch, or trapezoid architectural shaped windows. These types of windows let you showcase your personal style and differentiate your home. Glass colors, hardware type, and additional options such as improved energy efficiency that could save you long-term on your heating and A/C bills may also be options.

Take the time to evaluate how you currently use your home or how you’d like to utilize your future home. This upfront effort can help you create a window and door strategy that will not only function for your family but maybe even make your neighbors a bit envious.

Understanding Home Styles and What Makes Them Unique

Image Source: American Glass & Window Inc.

One of the things that makes Florida beautiful is the diversity of its people and culture. Whether you’re in the panhandle, central area, or even the Florida Keys, there are numerous styles of homes that make each area (and its neighborhoods’) unique. If you’re considering buying or building, understanding house styles will help you select the right place to make your home.

Related: See 2020 Coastal Design Trends

What is a craftsman home?

Home Styles Craftsman Home

If you’ve ever heard the term “Arts & Crafts” know its original reference came from the late 19th-century British and American movement to revive handicrafts. With this movement came what we know today as the craftsman home, or the bungalow.

This style of home usually has the following characteristics:

  • Built with natural materials such as wood, stone or brick
  • The interior may have built-ins in the living areas, dining spaces, etc.
  • Low pitched roofs with wide eaves and triangular brackets are typical for Craftsman (in fact you can see this trend making a comeback in other styles of homes today)
  • In original Craftsman homes, a fireplace is commonly used as a focal point in a room or multiple rooms
  • Most of these homes are known for their expansive front porches that have columns squared-off consisting of wood or stone

Finding an original Craftsman style home can be tricky. Still, this style of home has had a resurgence, and today’s more modern versions follow the original style but offer more amenities for today’s modern homeowner.

What is a ranch style home?

Home Styles Ranch Home

Around 1920, is when America started to embrace the ranch style home. This home style grew tremendously after WWII because of its customizability and ease of construction. As more families were looking to put down roots, the ranch style home started showing up across the entire nation, and each geographic area added their spin to it.

Although it can be somewhat tricky to nail down the “must-haves” for a ranch home, there are a few things that do seem to remain consistent with this style of home, no matter where it exists.

A ranch home usually has:

  • A low-pitch, long roofline (note that originally these homes were mostly one-story)
  • A mixture of materials used on the exterior (these can include brick, wood, stone and even stucco)
  • Overhang eaves
  • Large windows
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Attached garages or carports

Ranch homes remain popular today as they align with open space living and celebrate bringing the outdoors in with an abundance of windows.

What is modern home design?

Thank you, American Glass & Window Inc., for sharing this amazing project featuring our Estate line. #PGTIPhotoContest

Posted by CGI Windows and Doors on Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Modern home design was the answer to the overly fancy, ornate, and sometimes cluttered architecture that was popular in the late 19th century. Although modern design was probably most recognized in the 1920s with its art-deco movement, it made a splash in the 1950s, and 1960’s when its mid-century modern style had its moment (which is having a comeback today).

When it comes to modern homes, you will usually see:

  • Minimalist, nothing ornate, interiors, and exteriors. But don’t confuse this with contemporary, which can be viewed as cold or stark.
  • Materials such as wood, metal, and brick used both inside and out
  • Clean architectural lines
  • Open concept living
  • Large windows (sometimes going floor to ceiling) and the use of picture windows

Modern homes, especially modern mid-century, are trending. The good thing is that most retail stores are taking notice of this trend and selling accessories and furniture that align with this house style.

What is Mediterranean home?

Thanks to Liberty Impact Windows & Doors for showcasing this project with our Sparta windows and sliding glass door. The homeowner is most excited about the noise reduction our impact products provide.

Posted by CGI Windows and Doors on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Mediterranean home style mostly shows up in coastal areas, and this explains its prominence in Florida. If you’ve ever spent time (or obsessively Googled) the Mediterranean coast, this is the style of home you see inland and along the seaside. A combination of Italian and Spanish architecture, some people may think of these as villa style homes also.

Mediterranean homes share similar characteristics to the homes that inspired them along the blue sea. Most Mediterranean homes have:

  • Stucco exteriors and stone (often in white but colors show up as well)
  • Tiled roofs
  • Symmetrical exteriors (evenly balanced windows, etc.)
  • Arched windows and doorways
  • Wrought iron detailing on door handles, balconies, etc.

Photo Gallery: Explore Our Sparta Collection

What is a coastal cottage home?

Home Styles Coastal Cottage

When most people think of a cottage, they think of something quaint, modest, and homey. The cottage has been the backdrop of many children’s stories and is something most people are familiar with. When looking at the coastal cottage home style, most cottage characteristics remain the same, there is sometimes a bit more flair with color and not as much stone is used. Some common characteristics of cottage style homes include:

  • Use of wood on the exterior and possibly shingles to highlight architectural features
  • Exterior trellis
  • White-washed interiors
  • Wooden floors
  • Inviting, simple interiors that are functional for day-to-day living

No matter the style of home you live in, you can always take nods from its architecture or use that as a backdrop and decorate in a completely different decor style. Floridians are fortunate, as they can choose from any of these styles, and others, no matter where they are in the state.

How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Sparta Impact Windows

Impact resistant windows let you enjoy the great outdoors, allow sunlight into your home, and even provide a lovely breeze in on cool days. But they’re working overtime. Did you know your impact windows offer safety, security, and cost savings?

How do impact resistant windows help with safety?

When a hurricane hits, a lot of things need protecting. First, your family must be kept safe from flying debris that could enter your home from strong winds. The good news is, impact windows can help give you peace of mind when it comes to your family’s safety. But they also protect your belongings. Since impact windows are less likely to break, they also help keep your home’s belongings safe from the damage hurricanes can create. Having to worry less about water damage or debris making its way inside your home, you can focus on taking care of your loved ones if a storm hits.

Are hurricane impact windows burglar proof?

Impact Windows Help Prevent Would-Be Intruders from Entering

Millions of people invest in alarm systems to keep their homes secure, but did you know that impact resistant windows can also help? Outside of protecting you from hurricanes and debris, impact resistant windows can help amplify your investment in home security. The National Council for Home Safety and Security reports that 95% of all home invasions require some sort of forceful entry.* Due to the composition of impact windows, they can help resist attempts from would-be-intruders. Even if the intruder damages your glass, it will remain securely in its frame thanks to a strong interlayer. This barrier helps prevent potential threats from entering your home.

Are impact windows worth the money?

Impact Windows by CGI

The investment in impact resistant windows can sometimes be a choice but often is a need. Due to state and county regulations, some homes are required to have impact windows no matter what. Although the price tag can be a bit higher for impact resistant windows, the good news is that they can help save you money in the long run. Due to their strength and tight seals, they are less likely to let out the cool air you’re paying for in the summer and the heat you also are billed for in the winter months. Also, impact resistant windows can increase the overall value of your home. If you’re replacing older windows, new impact windows can help increase your home’s resale value since these are the standard for most residences in Florida.

Whether replacing older windows or installing them in new construction, impact windows can help with your family’s safety, security and help lower your bills.

2020 Coastal Design Trends

Whether you live inland, have expansive ocean views, or are somewhere in between, the feel the coast exudes can be part of any home interior. Explore the top coastal-inspired home trends for 2020 and start thinking about how you’ll apply them to your home.

Photo Gallery: Discover Our Sparta Collection

Cabinets with Coastal Flare

When people think of upgrading or designing their kitchen or bathroom color scheme, they initially envision the countertops, the floors, or wall colors. But your cabinets take up a lot of real estate and are the perfect place to add some coastal flare. The team at Hatch Works went with a not-so-subtle sunny days inspiration in the kitchen while the Studio McGee team offers the more subtle shoreline hues on a cloudy day.


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Wallpaper is Back

Why is wallpaper new again? First, it offers a lot of bang for your buck. But today’s wallpaper offers multiple options. There are peel and stick, paste the wall, and paste the paper options. Also, many wallpaper styles are washable, which is a great option for any kid or pet-friendly home. If using wallpaper in an entire room or even as an accent wall still has you nervous, consider using it in the backing of shelves for a surprise pop of tropical flare. This palm leaf wallpaper, “…is full of vibrant color. The lime green leaves pop against a beige linen print background,” according to Brewster Home Fashion.


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A Single Bold Coastal Statement

Your entire home does not have to be coastal themed, but you can still incorporate the coast into your design with a bold statement piece. You could install ship lack above the fireplace (or as an accent wall), add (or wrap existing) ceiling beams in distressed wood, or find a beautiful oversized piece of art that reminds you of the warm summer breezes that roll off the water. Also, never forget the power of a fresh coat of paint from a beautiful coastal color collection to make a big impact.

Related: Make a Statement with Sentinel Products


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When designing a room, there are no rules. How far you take these coastal themed trends is up to you. As long as you walk into the room and it reminds you of your favorite shoreline experiences, then you’ve accomplished coastal home decor.