Love the look of stained glass but hate the price tag? Get the look for less than £20 with these easy hacks

The period look doesn't have to cost you a fortune

stained glass windows in hallway with white walls and door
(Image credit: Future PLC)

While stained glass windows might be a window treatment more commonly considered as an option when choosing traditional windows for period homes, it's no secret that they've been making the rounds as a home decor trend we're seeing more and more even in more contemporary-designed homes – and it's easy to see why.

'Stained glass windows have a long history of being associated with grand cathedrals and historic homes, but now the trend has reached modern living spaces,' notes Allan Reid, founder of Art Windows & Doors.

'People are rediscovering their fascination with the art form and are seeking ways to bring its vibrant, kaleidoscopic allure into their homes.' However, it's a well-known fact that stained glass windows are an obscured glass type that can cost a small fortune.

Luckily, you don't need to sacrifice an arm and a leg to bring the beauty of stained glass into your home. Here's how you can get the period look for a lot less.

stained glass windows in hallway with white walls and door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adam Carter)

3 ways to get the stained glass window look for less

There are a couple of different ways you can achieve the stained glass window look for less, irrespective of your breadth of creativity and DIY prowess. However, what we love about these methods, in particular, is that they're also renter-friendly ways to decorate and allow even those living in a rental to give their homes some much-deserved heritage pizzazz.

'Working on a period home whilst sticking to a budget can sometimes feel impossible,' starts Joanna Baumard, co-founder of window film company, Purlfrost.

'A big cost like replacing glass might seem worth it for the overall improvement in design, however, if that design can be achieved with heritage patterned window film (or other methods), then the renovation budget can be spent elsewhere.'

Bedroom iron bed arched gothic stained glass windows

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Window film

After mirror film for windows went viral on social media as a way for people to increase their privacy, keep cool at home, and save energy at home, it's no surprise that window film is once again cropping up as a way to give your windows this period makeover.

'First things first, it’s important to understand what a heritage property look is,' begins Joanna. 'These homes are usually classic and have a certain charm that is unique to them. They are often characterised by their large, intricately detailed windows.'

'Find the right design for you by choosing from classic Victorian or Edwardian patterns, or even opt for art deco designs, depending on the overall style of your home.'

Stained glass window film

(Image credit: Purlfrost)

'These translucent plastic sheets come in a variety of colours and patterns and stick straight onto the glass with static cling meaning that no adhesives are required,' explains Thomas Oldham at UK Construction Blog.

'To create a stained glass look, you could cut the film into geometric shapes to mimic the style or create your own patterns. This is an easy and inexpensive DIY approach and it can also be easily altered as the film peels off if you fancy a change of look.'

'Keep in mind that not all kinds of glass are suitable for window film, such as textured glass,' warns Tim Warren, DIY expert at Adkwik. 'Films should also be applied to a clean window.'

2. Use paint or markers on the glass

If you're feeling extra crafty and are a little more artistically inclined, you could even consider painting directly onto the glass using acrylic craft paints, glass paint, or enamel paint. For an easier fix, you can even consider glass paint markers.

To start this venture, William Byrne, DIY expert at ADA Fastfix says, 'Clean the window thoroughly to ensure there's no dust or grease and then use painter's tape to outline your design on the window. This will act as a guide and prevent the paint from spreading outside the desired areas.'

Stained glass window film

(Image credit: Purlfrost)

'Fill in the design with glass paints,' advises William. 'These are translucent paints that allow light to pass through, mimicking the look of stained glass. Then, allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape.'

While this paint idea might feel like more of a DIY project for those who own their home, rest assured that there are ways to make it renter-friendly, such as purchasing glass that's the same size as your window panes. But if you want to stay on the safe side, window film is likely your best (and likely easier) bet.

3. Faux-lead adhesive strips

'Faux-lead strips offer an elegant way to replicate the appearance of authentic lead used in traditional stained glass,' suggests Allan at Art Windows & Doors.

'They are adhesive and can be easily applied to plain glass. Remember to carefully measure and cut the strips to match your window's design, which will ensure a precise fit for a professional finish.'

You can then fill in the spaces between the strips with either paint or coloured window film, as we suggested above!

Stained glass window film

(Image credit: Purlfrost)

'Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or someone looking for a quick fix, there are several ways to achieve the stained glass look without the associated costs,' concludes William from ADA Fastfix.

'By using materials like glass paints, window films, or lead adhesive strips, you can transform your windows and add a touch of elegance to your space.'

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.