15 Ways Divided Lites Add Character & Style

15 Ways Divided Lites Add Character & Style

June 11, 2021

Divided lites add character and style to your windows while highlighting your homes architecture.

Improving on History

Today, single sheets of glass are available at enormous sizes. Centuries ago, these large lites were unimaginable. Windows had to be composed of numerous individual panes of glass glazed into a supporting grid of muntin bars. The shape, pattern and number of divided lites changed as technology advanced. No longer are they a necessity, but rather, a creative choice. 

Now, you still can specify true divided lites (TDL) with muntin bars that physically separate the glass panes for historically authentic properties. But by pairing this desirable appearance with modern engineering, you also have the option of performance divided lites (PDL) to replicate this aesthetic, while optimizing performance. true divided lites

Beauty in the Details

Simulating the look of individual panes, windows with PDL have divided lite bars on the interior and exterior surface of the glass. Mirroring this element, spacer bars are inserted between the full-size glass panes to enhance the depth and dimension of this architectural detail.

Matching your home’s authentic style, divided lite profiles can be selected with beveled, ovolo, square or triangular shapes, and fashioned into custom patterns, whether traditional, historical or contemporary.


Inspiring Examples

Here are 15 examples of creative divided lite patterns that are sure to inspire your design:

1. Diamonds

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, and they also can bring jewel-like sparkle to your home. Some of the earliest diamond-patterned windows were showcased in medieval churches and castles. Your home is your castle and equally deserving of these valuable elements. Often paired with casement windows, the diamond divided lite design is a common feature on Tudor Revival inspired homes.
2. Spiderwebs

Made popular during the Arts and Crafts Movement at the end of 19th and beginning of the 20th century, spiderweb windows are an eccentric detail added to full- or half-circle windows. Part of an eclectic aesthetic, this fanciful design arose from the influence of Japanese visual culture during the late Victorian era. 


3. Prairie Style

Prairie Style divided lites create a delicate crisscrossed border with a larger expanse of glass in the middle. Allowing for full visibility, while adding minimalistic detail, this subtle design creates a ribbon-like appearance when windows are placed side by side, or as shown below on this door.


4. Cottage and Craftsman Styles 

Charming Cottage or Craftsman Styles offer visual variety in double hung windows with a top sash featuring divided lites set above a bottom sash with no divisions. Craftsman Style windows usually showcase rows of three or six lites, while Cottage Style windows accentuate the grid pattern with a smaller upper sash and a larger lower sash. 


5. Vertical Partitions

Delicate vertical details can extend the height of divided lites, segmenting sash into larger viewing areas and adding a contemporary touch. A banner of narrow windows crowning a door can enhance an entry’s scale, drawing the eyes upward, or emphasize its expansive width, such as above a sliding, folding, or lift & slide door. 

6. Look of Steel

Mimicking the look of metal, divided lites can be finished in black or metallic tones to resemble old steel windows with a modern attitude. Square or triangular shaped divided lite profiles support this industrial chic look, adding visual framing and delineating large open spaces. 

7. All in Alignment

Aligning divided lites across windows and doors unifies all the elements within a space as part of a thoughtfully planned design. The clean horizontal lines plot a nearly subconscious path that draws the eye around the room, bridging the windows and doors, to establish visual order. 

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8. Graphic Influence 

Connecting numerous windows with aligned divided lites creates an optical continuity within an established grid. Reminiscent of mid-20th-century graphic design, this balanced layout reassures the viewer with comfortable familiarity. Grouped together, multiple window sizes and configurations with coordinated patterns and profiles help bring a sense of stability to diverse openings.


9. Scaled to Size

Smaller grids allow for a larger number of divided lites, typically between 12 and 20. The higher volume is preferred in many classic designs, like Colonial Style. Larger grids provide a more delicate, decorative pattern with less obstructed views, generally associate with more modern styles, as well as being a traditional feature in Italianate-inspired homes. 
10. Sunburst 

Composed of a circle or half-circle with radiating lines, sunbursts accentuate arches and reconcile the curves of a circular window with the linear aspects of the house. Placed above a door or window with divided lites, sunbursts on half-circle windows continue the muntin pattern for a congruous appearance, while drawing the eye skyward. 


11. Classic Curves

Curved divided lite patterns within rectangular windows combine geometric properties into a singular design. Since Roman times, arches have served as attractive, supporting design elements. The timeless beauty of curved divided lites creates a focal point, whether tracing vaulted ceilings and dramatic balconies, or gently softening an angular room.

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12. Elongated Arches

Elongated arched and eyebrow windows reach and stretch to embrace both floor and ceiling. Incorporating a minimalistic grid allows for a clear view through the middle of the window and interesting detail around the outer edge. Add radiating divided lites to visually anchor the outer frame to the interior.


13. Shaped to Suit

A custom shaped window, such as an oval, star, octagon or scalloped cutout, can intensify your home’s character and add visual interest. Divided lites give proportion to an irregular shape, with custom patterns that link the window’s distinctive shape to historic details or the larger, overall structure.

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14. Look Within

Divided lites also can form interesting shapes within a traditional rectangular window. Consider an interior diamond pattern, alternating squares and rectangles, or circular patterns. These shapes add a unique personality that uplifts your home’s style. Every time you look through your window, it will bring new views and perspectives that defy the boundaries of a standard shape.

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15. Unique to You

Floral and organic forms, vertically radiating curves, or a cross pattern that divides a window into triangular panes, are just some of the custom applications that can be achieved with divided lites. These one-of-a-kind embellishments allow you to create almost any desired style, ambience or aesthetic in your home, while enhancing your curb appeal. 

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Kolbe can provide divided lites for your new windows in an almost endless array of options. Choosing the right design depends on your personal taste and the statement you want to make with your home. Whether you want to reinforce a historical style or soften a contemporary look, divided lites can add eclectic character and visual organization to both the interior and exterior. 

Let us help bring your unique vision to life. Explore our full product offering to find out why – We’re for the visionaries.® 



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