The vertical side of any opening in a wall.  The reveals of a window opening may be straight- i.e. at right angles to the inner and outer walls, or splayed, wider at the room side than the outside.

Where there are shutters fitted against the windows,  these always fold back onto the reveals. There may be shutter boxes built into the sides of a bespoke and deep window frame, but often there aren’t any and the shutters sit proud and parallel to the faces of the reveals.

Splayed reveals allow more light to enter the room, and ensure that the same light is spread further in. If a room is dark, because the windows are small, or deeply set, or both, or overhung with foliage or surrounded by high banks or other light blocking means, simply  splaying the reveals  allows much more light to enter in the right place – the difference this relatively small change will make is immense and worth every penny of work and inconvenience.

Deep reveals – from deep walls – should be turned to best advantage, by creating lovely window seat areas. These can be cut out of the structure beneath any window, to  open the room to the outside, and open the room from the inside – these spaces within deep reveals are important and make a real difference. When windows are high the perceived wisdom is often that making window seats is a pointless exercise, especially when it’s not actually possible to see much through the window,  from the window seat. And there is of course a point to answer here, but we’ve shown that isn’t the case. By opening up the wall below the window, even when there is quite a distance between cill and seat,  the room feels bigger,  the window feels bigger, more light comes in and we’ve created an inviting space to sit. The backs and sides have no need for cladding or  any special design – they are best when they look the same as the walls, same colour same finish. Even when the space created , the  seat itself,  belongs more to the room than to the window it works. A few simple cushions are enough to add colour and invitation.

A way to create an artificially deep reveal- especially  to boring modern windows –  is to build and fit a supplementary window box frame. This will  sit on the wall  in front of the window opening, it should fully frame  the window, perhaps extend upwards to the ceiling, but certainly  to the floor including  the space beneath  the window that can be made into a window seat by using the extra depth created by this frame.

Window reveals are usually decorated with the walls – so that paper or paint caries on around, and this is  always right for ordinary looking reveals. Deep reveals or other interesting spaces can be decorated differently, perhaps  painted in geometric or fanciful form, so that the window reveal becomes  a separate and interesting space.

To fit blinds or curtains between the  reveals  requires careful measuring. The window,  and therefore the reveals,  are rarely plumb straight, but blinds must hang true,  if they are to operate successfully. With a number of measurements it’s always possible to find the optimum arrangement and place. By making the top to template, so that it fits snugly within the space, the horizontal level can always be maintained.

One way to create more light, even with  the advantage of splayed recesses is to paint the reveals white, or even better to fit mirror to the sides- the whole sides. This is a well known trick in cold and northern climates, especially in old draughty homes,  when the window frames are old and allow, or rather do nothing to stop,  draught and cold penetrating thin, single layer glazing. Even thick curtains can’t help in the day time….

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