About this mod

This mod retextures the Skyrim and Dragonborn windows in a lore-friendly way. The window glass has been revised to be thick, textured and insulating. The "opaque" nature of the glass has a purpose. 2K and 1K versions.

Permissions and credits

RUSTIC WINDOWS expands on the concept that I started with the farmhouse windows in my RUSTIC FARMHOUSES mod. I've chosen to see the "opaque" windows of Skyrim not as a game engine limitation, but as a conscious design choice by the people of Skyrim. Living in a cold harsh climate, it is only natural that the Nords would've created glass that is thick and and insulating. This isn't modern "picture window" glass that we're talking about. It's glass that is made to hold up to the elements, while allowing light in, but is very sturdy and affords privacy for it's inhabitants.

The people of the cities of Skyrim live in cramp quarters and close proximity. Would such people want their belongings to to ogled by street urchins, pickpockets, and the Thieves Guild? I think not. It's bad enough that pompous busybodies like Nazeem pester you about going to the Cloud District... do you really want them peering through your windows too?

The windows of Skyrim may be opaque, but they have a purpose, to allow sunlight into dark dwellings lit by only candlelight and fireplaces. Thick textured glass is needed to insulate from the cold, provide strength, and shield the people's belongings from prying eyes. In this spirit, I retextured the windows of Skyrim in a lore-friendly way. I endeavored to retain as much of the original window design as possible. Sometimes that meant recreating the texture from scratch, but I tried to stay true to Bethesda's original esthetic.

UPDATE 04/10/20: Version 3.0 adds a few windows that were overlooked originally. This update adds the two ship windows used on the Katariah, the emperor's flag ship. It also adds the large stained glass window found in the Night Mother's chamber in the Dark Brotherhood headquarters.

UPDATE 11/23/14: Version 2.0 released. This is an overhaul, introducing 2K diffuse and normal map textures for the windows. 1K is still available, and is improved visually as well. The windows retained much my original designs, but several have revised glass textures. Dragonsreach now has it's own glass pattern, and Solitude's stain glass windows have improved detail. Farmhouses have a new block pattern, and the High Hrothgar windows have a new glass texture. Windhelm's windows have been redesigned with a new glass texture. The metal and wood window frames all have better detail.

UPDATE 6/15/14: Again revised the Whiterun diffuse window texture. This time, I made the rusted ironwork frame color more even, so it wouldn't cause color anomalies when scaled up (as in the Jorrvaskar)l. Bethesda used the same window as the one used in the Temple of Kynareth, but it's scaled up and tiled in the Jorrvaskar Mead Hall.

UPDATE 6/11/14: Revised the Whiterun diffuse (color) window texture to remove the moss from the wood framing, since the wood is only visible inside the Temple of Kynareth. Added a combined download for users who have the Dragonborn DLC and want less mod clutter.

UPDATE: Added Reduced version for people using computers with less than 1GB of VRAM. This version has reduced sized normal maps and glow maps. The color (diffuse) textures remain the same size. This will preserve most of the appearance of the regular version, but reduce the overall file size significantly.

UPDATE 5/28/14: Added version 1.1 with reduced intensity for Solitude Bards College/Blue Palace windows, and enhanced the normal maps for the same. I felt those windows were too bright at night, and wanted a more subtle backlight effect.

DRAGONBORN DLC: Added the window textures for the Thrisk Mead Hall as an optional download. These are the only window textures Bethesda added to the DLCs. One for Dragonborn, none for Dawnguard.

UPDATE 5/30/14: Revised the glow maps to retain more of the original window color from backlighting. The original glow maps just controlled the backlighting intensity, the new ones add color from the diffuse texture as well. For some windows, the difference is quite subtle, since the glass didn't have much color to begin with, but in Riften and Solitude, the difference should be apparent [both the farmhouse, and Winterhold lack glow maps, so they are unchanged by the update]. The main Windhelm windows were completely reworked, to brighten them overall, and to lessen the "Halloween orange" appearance. The glow at night should now better match the color of the fire pits.

UPDATE 6/3/14: Added optional download for dimmer glow maps for users who want a more subtle window glow. This may be useful for people with lighting mods, or ENBs that increase the glow effect of windows. If you find the default too bright, then try this option.

NOTE: Regarding the window colors.... I took all my screenshots with EFLX and ENB. Depending on what lightning mods you use, the color and appearance of the windows will vary. They will also look different at different times of the day.


The concept for the farmhouse windows, was that their high placement meant they were solely designed to let in light, not for looking through. They were my initial inspiration for this mod (and included in my RUSTIC FARMHOUSES mod). For the harsh climate of Skyrim, a thick block design was used, to better insulate the buildings that are normally warmed by only a central fireplace.


The city of Riften is know as a dank enclave of thievery. The architecture is crude, and the windows are a reflection of that. Riften's heavy textured window glass is dirty and covered with moss and mold. The condition of the windows is appropriate for the surroundings and its people.


Ancient snow covered Windhlem has thick sturdy glass windows that employ both the block design for smaller windows, and a heavy textured glass for the large panes. In a climate this cold, transparency is not a priority, good insulation is paramount. Therefore, most windows are quite small, only the central windows of Candlehearth Hall break with this concept. Therefore, these large windows are very thick and supported by a wrought iron frame. The milky glass does not allow for views of the city, but it does provide much needed illumination in this dreary climate.


The greybeards live in the coldest region of Skyrim, on the highest mountain peak. Their thick stone fortress was built to keep the frigid weather at bay. Therefore, the few windows they have are small and very thick. They allow light in, but are designed for maximum insulation. The less exposure the better in this unforgiving climate.


The mages college survived the Great Collapse. It is an immense stone fortress that was built to stand up to the raging storms of the Sea of Ghosts. The enormous column shaped windows of Winterhold were designed to be as sturdy as the rest of the structure. The thick azure glass was formed on a complex metal lattice work that provides strength and flexibility to the design.


The city of Whiterun is spared much of the harshest weather that Skyrim offers, but still, the same needs prevail... Light, warmth, and security. The window glass is thick and textured, which provide illumination in the daytime, but protect the inhabitants privacy at the same time. The distinctive wood lattice framing provides extra strength and security. Breaking a window will not gain a thief easy access. That's why lock picking has become the only reliable way to break into dwellings.


The port city of Solitude has a greater variety of window design, as you'd expect given its wealth. The city is not as cold as some regions of Skyrim, but the sea still generates powerful storms, and insulation is still a concern. Solitude's heavy textured glass has a blueish tint, inspired by the ocean water. The signature red of the city banners is picked up in the stained glass windows of the Bards College and the Blue Palace. The dragon head motif found in other city windows also features red glass inlays. The windows of Solitude reflect the pride and prosperity of its people.