Methods and apparatus for managing display elements such as GUI windows in a client device (e.g., consumer premises equipment in a cable network) running multiple related or unrelated applications. In one embodiment, an improved window management entity is provided within the device with which HAVi-compliant application(s) can interface in order to access display elements according to a priority structure or hierarchy. One or more privileged applications are designated and allowed to affect the priority structure, including requesting a new in-focus application to be placed atop the priority structure. The network operator can also optionally control the operation of the window manager remotely via a network agent. Improved client device and network configurations, as well as methods of operating these systems, are also disclosed.