In the Middle Ages, when most structures with stained glass windows were built, there was not a great deal of colour in the lives of everyday people. Even the ability to dye clothes was limited to a few darker and duller shades.
Through the ages, stained glass has been used in many different ways and today it is all around us – but what are some of the most beautiful design examples?
1. Geometric Patterns
In many houses built in the Victorian era, stained glass with geometric patterns were used to great effect in front door panels. Giving a colourful light into entrance hallways that often complements mosaic tile floor designs; this is a stunning example of coloured glass at its best.
2. Christian Scenes
The Guinness Book of World Records states that the Resurrection Cemetery in Illinois, USA has windows using over 22,000 square feet of faceted glass and is the largest example of stained glass on the planet. Religious scenes remain a popular choice for windows in cathedrals, churches and other Christian buildings.
3. Floral Bouquets
The natural beauty and range of colours that are found in flowers make them the perfect subject when making a stained glass window.
Many houses from the Edwardian era retain these original features and often see floral designs incorporated with scroll imagery.
Beautiful patterns which can incorporate any number of colours, mosaics are always a popular choice for stained glass windows.
With a random selection of different sized and shaped pieces of glass slotted together perfectly to create a striking effect, this is one of the simplest but most effective stained glass window designs.
5. Symmetrical Patterns
Stained glass designs don’t always have to be intricate and often the simplest patterns are best. Unlike mosaics, a number of patterns use symmetry to create bold designs that really stand out with the use of star, flower or diamond imagery always popular.
6. Basic Shapes
Another great example of simplicity at work, basic shapes make great features for front doors and windows using stained glass. These can cover anything from scrolls and horns to stars and hearts and look beautiful in offices, personal homes and even schools.
Whether used in decorative mirrors or to achieve a colourful wall hanging, landscape depictions have a long and varied history as stained glass subject matter.
Better suited to older, more traditional properties, these often use subtler colours than modern stained glass designs.
Not all stained glass designs focus on images – some use text instead. This is a good idea for those who want the name of their property or perhaps their family name etched on their property forevermore.
9. Islamic Scenes
Stained glass has a history that is by no means limited to Christian religions, and The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, is a wonderful example of the internationally inclusive appeal.
10. Modern Images
Whilst stained glass is often considered a traditional choice of window design, modern options are available.
These often use basic shapes, such as flowers, in a simplistic design. Images are given a bold black outline, allowing the colours to really stand out.