Are you a thrifter? Grab my free tips! Click Here!

Adding Charm With Decorative Windows

September 12, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links.

Decorative windows are a great way to add a little old world charm to your home.

We recently replaced a worn octagon shaped window in our family room. It's a cottage style accent that we adore and it was an easy DIY.

How To Replace An Octagon Shaped

When it comes to cottage style design, the small things really make a difference.

It's the attention to detail that defines a room, the charming nooks, the built-ins, the unexpected cabinets, tiny doors.

And the windows.

Unusual shapes and sizes are a hallmark of cottage design.

And in this house, we're lucky enough to have one.

It wasn't our idea to add it, it came with the house.

Although, when we viewed this cottage, our octagon shaped porthole, an ode to the beach where we live, housed a stained glass window depicting a lighthouse. 

It was a sentimental piece that the former owner took when she moved out.

And we ended up with this less than stellar stand in.

Octagon Shaped Window

An unappealing substitute that we lived with for just under 20 years.

We'd discussed replacing it, many times, in fact, but it wasn't a priority. Plus it was a dirty job that I was never in the mood to tackle with my allergies.

Then in the spring of 2022, when we decided to update the family room, my husband suggested we do it right.

I can't say I was thrilled, since it was another task that would take his attention away from finishing the floor, or hanging the floral wallpaper, you know, the pretty stuff.

But it was definitely a case of if not now, when?

So we replaced that shallow, rusted, leaky, and frankly boring, octagon window with a more attractive model for our sweet cottage style home.

How To Replace An Octagon Shaped Window

The process wasn't terribly difficult, mainly because it was a replacement and not a fresh install where we would've had to cut the octagon shape out and worry about headers, etc. 

And other than the shape, it was just like any other window replacement. We did have to add some extra insulation, since the original window was kind of a mess.

Removing Vinyl Siding

Step one involved removing the vinyl siding and trim on the exterior of the house.

Replacing An Octagon Window

Once that was complete, the trim was removed from the inside as well and the window was removed.

Then the new one was fitted, furred with wood strips and screwed into place. We opted for one that didn't open, so we had more glass and we also chose one with window grilles.

How To Replace An Old Window

Foam board was cut to fit around the window and installed over the existing tar paper.

Foam Board Insulation

Lastly, the siding pieces were replaced and new siding trim pieces were cut to size and added around the window. 

From the outside it looked like this...wonderful. So much better already. Go back and peek if you don't believe me.

Octagon Shaped Window Exterior View

Unfortunately, after a long day of working outside, the inside still looked like this.

Family Room Under Construction

The finish work, just always seems to take longer, doesn't it? 

This project was even more involved, since the old window sill wasn't as deep.

Instead of cutting the window sill down, like we did in the kitchen, my husband had to create new wider trim inside the window from pine boards.

Drilling Pilot Holes For Trim Installation.

He also needed to install the trim around the window. For that he used a thinner moulding.

He drilled pilot holes in the wood to prevent splitting and then hammered small nails to hold the wood in place.

Installing an octagon window

Finally, he caulked around the window to seal it up and fill gaps, then used wood filler to cover up any nail holes before he painted the entire frame.

Caulking Window Trim

When he was done, the inside looked as lovely as the outside. The deeper sill, the addition of the muntin bars and thicker trim made such a difference.

Now the window is a real showstopper.

Decorative Octagon Window in a living room

And our view of the outdoor patio improved, as well.

Summer Window View

Before, I never looked out that window. It was a mess and everything looked cloudy and gray.

Now, even the cloudy and gray days have a pleasant glow through that octagon shaped glass.

Winter View Through Window

Although, trust me, I'm in no rush to see snow again anytime soon.

But it's nice to know that when it does start to fall from the sky, it'll be framed inside a whole lot of cottage style quaintness.

How cozy.

Replacing And Octagon Shaped Window DIY

Do you have any interesting windows?

Happy DIYing, Folks!

Kim Signature

Post a Comment | 16 Comments

Hey~ before you go, let me know what you think!

I love comments and respond to them all.

*Please refer to our privacy policy if you have questions regarding your profile and note that comments with links will not be published.

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much!! We really love the way it turned out.

  2. Love love love it Kim. I like that you can see out to your pretty backyard and pool. Have a great week. Hugs. Kris

    1. Thank you, Kris! Sometimes it really is the little things and this one changes the room in a huge way. I hope your week is great, too!!

  3. What a beautiful window! As I always say, you are so lucky to have such a handy hubby. Neither me nor my hubby are DIYers. Every project has to be left to a professional. Think how much money you have saved over the years! Great job, you two.

    1. Thanks Melanie! I’m glad I listened to him when he said we should replace it. You know when we were dating I knew he was handy, but I never thought about what it would mean in later years. Now I depend on the fact that he can literally do /fix/ create anything and you’re right it’s saved us more money than I could reasonably quantify over the years. However, more than that, it’s saved us so much more in terms of not having to rely on anyone to fix a leak in the middle of the night or a broken dishwasher the day before Thanksgiving...and I never take any of that for granted!

  4. I love it! You are so right about the charm it adds to your cottage style home. And isn't it wonderful to have a handy hubby?

    1. Thanks so much, Mari! We should've done this years ago...and yes, a handy hubby is a gift! for sure!!

  5. I love how it turned out, Kim. It was well worth all the work it took. It is so much sharper/cleaner looking because it doesn't open. I had a window like that in one of my houses, too. And, when we built the little girls' playhouse we had a small octagon one that we used in the peak. I always thought it 'made' the place.

    Have a wonderful 'almost fall' rest of the week. xo Diana

    1. Thanks Diana…it’s the little things and it sounds like you employed that saying in your little playhouse. I remember how much the girls loved it and it really was darling! Ah…to go back for just a bit…if only.

  6. It is beautiful. I love the little frogs in the window. ;-)

    1. Thanks Carla! Aren’t those frogs darling? I got them at Dollar Tree! I just couldn’t pass them by...

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks Florence! We just got came with the house. 😊

  8. Kim,
    What a pretty feature to have in your sweet cottage!! When my Dad was changing the Patio into out Den, I wanted one of these windows in the one corner but my Dad talked me out of it...Now I wish I would have stuck to my guns....Darn......

  9. Love the idea! They add that extra touch of charm and character that can truly make a house feel like a home. Whether it's stained glass, intricate patterns, or elegant frames, decorative windows elevate the ambiance and make a statement. thanks for sharing!