The window reveal is the area surrounding your windows on both the interior and the exterior walls. It's the area perpendicular to the windows, the area of the cut in the wall if you like.
They often don't get much consideration and yet they form an important part of your overall window design.
Your window reveal design style depends on a number of factors:
The depth of your walls
Deeper walls means there's more wall area for reveals.
The position of the glazing within the depth of the wall
The glazing can be placed in any position in the wall - more towards the inside or more towards the outside.
The interior and exterior angles of the reveal
There's a section on this below.
The materials used
Wood, plaster, metal - there are probably others
The style of your home
Traditional homes tend to have more elaborate reveals and architraves whereas contemporary homes will have more streamlined window reveal design.
If you have a look around near where you live, you'll soon see what the local preferences for window reveal style are.
These points are discussed or illustrated further below....
Here's a few window reveal design ideas - some for the interior and some for the exterior.
If your windows have a wooden architrave it makes sense to clad the reveal in wood as well. This creates a continuity of materials from the frame, through the reveal and onto the architrave / sill.
A streamline style in plaster with a wooden sill is another option.
I like this detail where a shadow gap detail has been created between the window reveal and the surrounding wall.
In the Georgian era when houses had thick walls, shutters were built into the window reveal. You can see the wooden knobs which when pulled, pull the shutters out from the reveal.
With a deep wall, a window seat can be created. But if your wall isn't very deep, a window seat is possible by extending the reveal. I think this reveal is constructed from steel.
See more bay window designs.
Different effects can be created by varying the position of glazing within the depth of the wall.
The two windows in this room have been treated differently. The glazing in the window on the right is flush with the plane of the internal wall. In contrast, the glazing in the window on the left is flush with the plane of the exterior wall creating a window seat. This leads to different materials being visible in the reveal (brick and wood respectively).
The wide angle of this exterior window reveal design will mean that more light comes through the window. It also allows for wider sight lines.
The fact that it is finished in white will also contribute to more light flowing into the room.
Notice how the exterior reveal of this window is different on one side to the other, possibly to allow more light in at sunrise from the east and shade from the western light at sunset.
Or it might be to take advantage of a view in the direction of the slanted reveal.
Here the exterior window reveal is extended beyond the exterior wall. This creates more shade and will also reduce sight lines.
In this example, the exterior window reveals change the direction of the window, perhaps to capture more light, or more likely to move the gaze of those inside the room towards a good view (or away from an ugly one).
I guess these could also be considered as a bay window design.
The angle of a window reveal is an important aspect of the design:
The deeper your walls, the more impact the angle of the reveal will have. In modern homes where the walls tend to be less wide
Splayed or angled window reveals change the light / view from the window in three ways:
Usually the bottom of the window remains flat to form a horizontal window sill. If windows are high in the walls, angling the window sill down will allow more light to enter.
The ideal angle for a reveal is 50 to 60 degrees to the plane of the window.