Fewer things transform the look of an apartment into a home like a well-designed window box. Whether you’ve just moved in or are in the midst of redesigning, window boxes are one of the easiest decor projects you can take on to boost both your apartment’s curb appeal. However, as easy as it is to fawn over window boxes on Pinterest, it is just as hard to choose the right one for your apartment. We know because we’ve been there. That’s why we broke the process down into digestible chunks to make choosing the right window box for your apartment easy and enjoyable.
When shopping for window boxes, the 3 most important factors to consider are:
- Budget: Some materials, such as copper, are more expensive than other materials like wood.
- Consider Your Needs: Ease of installation, ability to withstand extreme weather, and overall quality are all important considerations.
- Overall appearance: Which windowbox will work best with the architecture of your building?
Even the most seasoned of home decor enthusiasts can find this overwhelming, but don’t worry - much like a fairy godmother, we’re here to make sure the carriage you choose doesn’t feel like a pumpkin months later. Here’s how to pick a window box you will love.
Choosing Your Material
Window boxes can be made out of almost anything, but the most popular materials are fiberglass, metal, composite PVC, and wood, to name a few. Plastic and wood window boxes are often cheaper and easier to customize but are not as durable as more expensive materials like fiberglass or metal. We’ve grouped the most popular materials into categories based on their average price below.
Know the other types of window boxes! This is surely interesting!
Affordable ($10 to $125)
Wood is the most traditional window box material. In addition to its charm and price, it is the easiest to custom build and style. However, because it is an organic material, it is also prone to rot, insect and moisture damage, so it will need to be replaced every 3-5 years. When shopping wooden window boxes, stick with hardwoods like cedar and redwood, as they are insect and rot-resistant.
Wooden window boxes are available in a wide range of styles from this whitewashed box with rustic charm:
to this beauty perfect for a clean, modern look:
Plastic is another inexpensive option that comes in a large selection of styles, shapes, and colors. Unlike wood, it is naturally resistant to rot, weather, and insect damage. Because of its lightweight nature, it is especially important to choose a window box made of thick, quality plastic that can hold more than 3 times its weight. That said, plastic is a great option for those who are new to gardening, strapped for cash, or are looking for a no-fuss option.
Moderate ($25 to $200+)
Metal window boxes come in aluminum, galvanized, and wrought iron styles that look beautiful on brick exteriors and Mediterranean-inspired buildings. Though pricier than wood or plastic, metal window boxes are more durable. They can handle the weight of wet soil, gravel, and your plants; and instantly add class to any facade.
There are few things vinyl can’t do and, thankfully, window boxes isn’t one of them. Vinyl window boxes are reasonably-priced, durable, and available in a slew of colors, styles, and shapes. They’re a great option if wrought iron isn’t your aesthetic but you still want a window box you can use for years to come or are ready to graduate from the plastic one you started out with. The best part is that they are so easy to handle, they can be installed in multiple ways and will look good every time. Just check out @ihateketchup’s vinyl window box below!
Pricey ($50 to $250+)
Composite PVC and Fiberglass
If vinyl is a step up from plastic, then composite PVC and fiberglass are on the highest rung as they are made with a blend of components that make them immune to damage of any kind. In addition to their resilient, durable composition, composite PVC and fiberglass window boxes are more versatile than their peers as they come in a variety of styles that can mimic the appearance of natural materials.
Last up is copper, a distinct option that adds a modern touch to industrial buildings, bungalows, and country-style exteriors. Of all the materials listed, copper works twice as hard as it both aids in your plants’ growth by naturally repelling insects and enriching the soil, and patinas into a beautiful turquoise color to create a box unique to your space.
If you want to learn more, make sure you also check our post about the 6 types of window boxes you can add to your home. That post has thorough explanations as well as examples.
Choosing Your Style
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of materials, it’s time to find the right window box for your apartment. This is where you get to combine the research you’ve done with your passion for design to choose a box that will transform your apartment into an urban haven. The 3 things to consider when choosing a window box style are:
- the style of your apartment’s facade
- the size of your window
- the color of your box
While the window box you choose should reflect your personal style, it is even more important that it complements the building it is mounted to. If you live in an American Craftsman building, you would not choose a European wrought iron window box as the styles are diametrically opposed to each other and would distract the eye, taking away from the overall effect a window box is supposed to have. For those new to architectural and decor styles, we recommend searching through Pinterest for window box inspiration. Having a visual of what type of box works on which facade will allow you to wade through the many style terms and their accompanying options.
Finding the right window box size is much like finding the porridge that’s not too hot or cold, but just right. Much in the same way, you’re aiming for balance: too small of a window box can look comical, while too large of one will dwarf your window. To create visual harmony, choose a size that spans the full width of your window and reaches up to a quarter of its height.
When it comes to depth and length, bigger is better. The minimum depth and length of your box should be 8 inches, as this provides just enough space for a variety of plants to grow. If you can go bigger, do it. The more space your plants are given, the better able they will be to flourish meaning the more beautiful your window box will look! This is especially important for “spiller” plants such as sweet potato vines, creeping jennys, and trailing snapdragons.
Having a window box worth showing off is important, but remember it’s not the star of the show. As a great supporting actor, the color of your window box will enhance the visual story you are telling. When choosing a color, go with a neutral tone that blends in with your building’s exterior or an accent color that matches its trim, like the window box above. If the window you are designing receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day, avoid dark window boxes as they will absorb the heat and bake your plants. That said if a darker color is your best option counter the heat by watering your plants more often during the hotter months.
Once you’ve installed your window boxes and before planting anything, take a photo of your set up and notice what your eye is drawn to first. If it’s the window box, you may need to revisit its color.
Though a small part of the process, the hardware is the last style aspect to consider. What you mount your window box with can either be strictly functional or slightly decorative. Ultimately, this will depend on the window box style you choose. Modern window boxes tend to look best with simple L-brackets like these, whereas molded window boxes pair well with faux brackets.
The simplest way to choose the right window box for your apartment is to answer the practical questions first. How much do you have to spend? Which material will hold up best in your climate? Is the price proportionate to the box’s durability and longevity? Once you’ve tackled those aspects, choosing the perfect style, color, and size for your window will be a cinch. Now that you’re a pro it’s time to put your knowledge to use and start shopping.
We've prepared this extensive post for you about where to buy window boxes online. You'll find some fantastic online stores there with a huge selection to choose from. Need some inspiration first? We've got you covered with a gorgeous photo post of 40+ window boxes ideas.
These house plants would go perfectly with your apartment!