When an office, basement room, or den lacks a view, the next best thing is a faux window. It looks like a real window but is artificial, and comes in several forms. Decorators can use a real window frame, a facsimile, or hire an artist to paint an elaborate mural on the wall to simulate the outdoors. Decorative mirrors can be styled to look like windows and bring reflected light into a room. Budget decorators might use a scenic poster for visual appeal or make a faux window themselves.
At its most realistic, an actual frame matching room architecture can surround a faux window installed on the wall with integrated lighting to simulate sunshine. Pre-made window units are available with standard scenic backgrounds or a photograph provided by the customer. A faux window frame inset into a wall will give a more authentic feel, and can be dressed with drapes or curtains, rods, and tiebacks. Some units even include a video loop and sound effects.
Known as trompe l’oeil, or trick of the eye, a painted window is a two-dimensional way to integrate a faux window into a decorating scheme. Depending on the décor of the room, the painted window can be realistic or fanciful, with real dressings hung over it. For rooms with limited openings, a skilled artist can incorporate a single, real window into a mural and paint another similar window on the wall to balance it.
A decorative mirror in a frame gives the faux window the added power of reflectivity. Candles, lamps, and other sources of illumination in the room can be enhanced by a mirror. In an apartment or room with a low ceiling, mirrors can help increase the ambient light. Shutters are a good choice to frame a decorative mirror so that curtains don’t interfere with its light-gathering properties.
The simplest faux window is a window poster picturing an outdoor scene. In hospitals and doctors’ offices, posters are often installed on ceilings or the light panel itself to give the illusion of a skylight to a patient lying down. This same idea can work at home. Alternatively, a simple bulletin board faux window is easy to make with a scenic poster and a few strips of wood over a cork bulletin board, which can then be hung on a wall and dressed appropriately. A picture light can be purchased and hung over the scene to show it off.