After glass block had its last heyday, the Rubik’s Cube was the anger, Madonna was wearing fingerless gloves, and Apple was called a fruit compared to an empire. But don’t hold ’80s design missteps contrary to this workhorse. Updated shapes and textures, coupled with inventive usage, give glass block fresh life in the decorating world.

More: Translucent Surfaces: A Canvas for Light and Shadow

Bercy Chen Studio

Strategic illumination makes these recycled-glass-block walls sparkle. They also help to maintain privacy.

Susan Jay Design

Staggered glass-block windows, which play off the checkerboard wall pattern, underscore the airy, peaceful feel of the space.

Zenteriors by Camian Larson

It would have been easy to install a square grid of glass blocks (also referred to as glass bricks) in this toilet and call it a day. Instead, a more inspired pattern becomes a fairly focal point.

Zenteriors by Camian Larson

A grid of offset blocks picks up the flat pattern of the rock tile within this area.

Zenteriors by Camian Larson

Glass blocks in various shapes and textures make a window which glows like a diamond.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

The block grid within this compact kitchen calls to mind a Japanese shoji screen. Light filters nevertheless the opaque glass keeps the outside view from breaking up the serene lines of the space.

Sutton Suzuki Architects

This was a “wow” moment for me. Glass-block pavers in the ground form a skylight during the day and a glowing focus at night. What an inspired idea!


At first glance, these ribbed blocks seem like minimalist wall art. This can be glass block at its best: It pulls light into the area and helps you to drive the d├ęcor in an absolutely fresh manner.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

I love this smart take on front-door sidelights. The peekaboo inserts provide the entry a little tongue-in-cheek flourish.

House + House Architects

A grid of glass blocks, embedded deeply in the wall, lends geometric appeal.

A glass-block skylight provides more visual attention than a plain sheet of glass would.

HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

Seen from the outside, the glass-block wall of the modern structure reinforces the strong vertical and horizontal planes.

Studio H Landscape Architecture

I have not seen glass blocks used considerably for outside walls, but I’m a huge fan of how these frame the terrace. They are opaque enough to specify the space, yet sheer sufficient to maintain the nature perspectives.

More window inspiration:
Frame the View using Divided-Light Windows
Stained-Glass for Every Style

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