Design Decisions

Black vs White Windows

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In the design community, there is a huge trend with black windows. Does this mean white windows are out? Does this mean black windows are just a fad? The answer to both of these questions, in my opinion, is no.

Both black and white windows are great options according to the style of home you are looking to build or redesign.

When choosing a window color and design, both heavily rely on two factors: what style of home you are building and your personal preference.

Black Windows

Although black windows have become very popular just over the past few years, they actually date back to the twentieth century. Black steel windows were originally installed in warehouses and factories. Then they eventually made their way into residential properties.

As we are seeing black windows used more frequently in new construction and older homes now, some think it may just be a trend. I disagree, I actually feel like black windows are classic and considering they date back so far, they have a sense of character and timelessness about them.

Black windows can be used in all different design styles. The one we probably see the most is in modern farmhouse design. When people see a white exterior with black windows, they instantly think “farmhouse”. But they are certainly not limited to modern farmhouses.

Modern homes also commonly have black windows. They are natural fit in these types of houses considering their industrial origin.

Photo Credit: Studio McGee

But as I mentioned, they are not limited to one particular style of house. The house we are currently building is a cottage style home, and we are using black windows inside and out. I think they will create contrast and give the exterior a touch of modern.

Cons

If there is one negative to black windows it is that sometimes the grilles can be hard to see in the daylight on the exterior. They blend in with the dark glass if there isn’t something bright reflected in the windows, or if there are no curtains or blinds directly behind the glass.

White Windows

While Henry and I are huge fans of black windows, we also love the classic white window. We seriously debated if we were going to go this route for our new build. We struggled with the choice for several weeks, but in the end, black was the winner.

Photo Credit: Grand Tradition Homes

White windows work well when you have lots going on within the exterior design. They allow for a subtle touch while drawing more detail to other architectural features. White windows are simply a very clean, classic design that will go with any style of home.

Cons

One reason that we didn’t go with white windows is that we were afraid the color difference would be too noticeable between the white of the window and the shade of white that we are painting the house. With black windows, this is not an issue since it is a drastic contrast.

Both black and white windows are great options depending on your overall look. The price of black windows is significantly more, but both are timeless looks that I feel will always be around.

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32 Comments

  • Reply Janice @sawdustsisters

    Thank you for the info! Love the black! Question , how much more are black windows when compared to white, percentage wise?

    June 21, 2019 at 11:43 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hey Janice! We have had lots of quotes and it would probably be at least 15-20% more. This is based on quotes we have gotten in the past.

      June 22, 2019 at 7:41 pm
  • Reply Chris

    Great looking windows! what brand, series, etc? thanks!

    June 27, 2019 at 9:41 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Thanks! Our windows in the farm house are Plygem Myra Double Hung.

      October 15, 2019 at 12:59 pm
      • Reply Lauren

        Are all the windows throughout the house double hung?

        November 7, 2019 at 6:08 am
        • Reply Brooke

          Hello Lauren! Yes, all of our windows are double hung in our current home.

          November 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm
  • Reply Maria Colappano

    Would you recommend mixing both black and white windows (black door systems and white windows) in an open concept space?

    September 5, 2019 at 6:59 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Maria. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, I think it would look great!

      October 15, 2019 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Leslie

    I have seen another article stating that you could have black exterior windows but white interior windows if you’re worried about the contrast of black inside your home but want the look outside your home. I am so new to this but we are getting ready to do an addition. Is this actually possible? That would be super ideal for me. You say here that you are using black windows “inside & out” so it makes me think maybe that is a thing??

    October 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm
  • Reply Brooke

    Hello Leslie!
    Yes, this is for sure a thing and doable. Once you meet with the company you are ordering from, they will be able to give you different options. We just prefer the black on both interior and exterior, but you can do either way. It’s actually cheaper to only do on the exterior!

    October 22, 2019 at 5:38 pm
  • Reply JB

    Hi
    All the windows in my home are white, I’m getting a new window in my kitchen when I renovate and am considering having the inside of the window black with white trim. Exterior will be white like the rest. It will be one piece of glass, no dividers. Is it wrong to have one interior window in my home black when the others are all white? There is only one window in my kitchen. Thanks for your help!

    November 8, 2019 at 3:57 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello JB! I think it will be fine to have this one black window as long as it’s in another room. Each room can have it’s own look, consider this like a piece of art. It will look great!

      November 8, 2019 at 2:27 pm
      • Reply JB

        Thanks Brooke!

        November 9, 2019 at 12:35 pm
      • Reply Cindy Scott

        JB what company has windows with exterior white and interior black? I love the black frames but my hoa requires white exterior.

        July 4, 2020 at 10:16 pm
  • Reply Jessie

    Hi! I’m planning on painting our exterior a dark charcoal color and replacing all windows with black frame on exterior. Debating on white v. black for interior windows and doors, especially with french doors that swing out. I’m drawn to white for the interior but think that when the multiple sets of french doors are open, white would look strange on a dark exterior. Thoughts? Thanks!

    November 21, 2019 at 6:46 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Jessie! I think it would look just fine. I wouldn’t think you would have to go with black interior just because of the exterior doors.

      February 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm
  • Reply Shelley

    We are renovating an old Victorian rowhouse in downtown. Windows outside will be black. I am doing the upstairs window all white for a light & airy look. The main floor has 3 windows, living room, dining room long window and 5 ft slider with mullions , planning on doing main floor interior windows black or should I just do big kitchen window black? I want a light white & airy look but was hoping I could still accomplish that with black windows on the main floor. Your thoughts? Should I just stick with white? Will the black be too loud in a light and airy setting?

    November 29, 2019 at 2:09 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Shelley! I think either way you go you can still achieve a light and airy feel. We have black interior and with lighter color walls it will still give this look. Whatever you do, just stick with the same color in each room.

      February 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm
    • Reply Liz

      Who makes the windows. We are looking to do black interior and exterior. Curious as who made yours?

      August 19, 2020 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Leeanne

    Brook it all looks amazing!! I’m so glad you agree with JB. My himhe is an 1893 queen Anne and all my windows are white. I also have one window in my kitchen and when giving my kitchen a little face lift with new cabinet hardware and painting the walls white, I decided to paint the window frame and grills black and i love it. Its like the little jewel in my kitchen 😊

    February 17, 2020 at 5:09 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Leeanne!
      Thank you so much for the kind words! Oh my, I bet this looks so amazing!

      February 17, 2020 at 3:01 pm
  • Reply Justina Raimondo

    Hi. 5 yrs ago we put an addition on our kitchen and put in white exterior Windows on the entire back of the house. We are looking to put another addition over our garage and redo the remaining windows in our home (front and sides). We really like the look of the black exterior with white interior. Can we mix black and white window exteriors, with black on the front and sides and white on the back ?

    February 17, 2020 at 7:21 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Justina. That sounds exciting. Mixing window color on a house is not something you see that often, but I think it might be alright if all of the white windows are on one side of the house like you said.

      February 20, 2020 at 11:43 pm
    • Reply Marc

      Justina,
      My wife and I are about to do this on our new house. Did you pull the trigger how does it look.

      May 29, 2020 at 3:32 am
  • Reply Jill

    Hi Brooke,

    We are in the process of building a new home and are using black windows on the exterior and most likely on all interior windows. Our home is an open concept, titled as a modern farmhouse, but we are trying to keep it from looking like a farmhouse. Sorry, I know they are very popular, but I am more transitional, but we fell in love with the layout of the home. I don’t think we are going to be able to afford casement windows and will have to go with double hung. What type of grid pattern should I use to keep the look I want?

    April 20, 2020 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Christine

    Beautiful choice. I understand the difficulty in choosing between white or black, as I’ve just recently had the windows on our house replaced. I was able to find my own solution by having white on the interior and slate grey on the exterior of our windows!
    I chose the slate grey as I believe it’ll make enough of a contrast against the main colour of the body of the house without being to harsh.
    The white interior colour of the windows, help create an open, bright feeling in our smaller home.

    May 31, 2020 at 11:47 pm
  • Reply DIna Jacobs

    Hi, just reading this thread – I am getting warm white shingles for the exterior of my house and wanted to do white windows but may have the same issue you talked about. The andersen white windows I see are a touch grey. However, there will be a trim around the windows (in between shingles and window)- typically, am i supposed to match the trim more to the shingle color or more to the window color? I’m just reluctant in general as the whites may contrast a bit and not sure if they will contrast in a good or bad way?!? HELP!

    June 20, 2020 at 10:17 pm
  • Reply Ashley Turnbull

    Hi there! Question, I want to go with white vinyl windows for cost/efficiency, but I am curious if you have resources for good exterior whites (brick/board) and/or good interior trim whites to pair w/ a white window. If so, please post! I am scouring the web for good whites to pair w/ my white windows 🙂 Thanks!!

    June 27, 2020 at 5:02 pm
  • Reply Kim

    Hi! Are the interior frames of your window painted wood/aluminum or other? Thanks!

    July 31, 2020 at 9:52 pm
  • Reply Dana

    With the black window frames what kind of window blinds do people use for privacy. Most all I see have nothing over the windows.

    August 2, 2020 at 10:58 pm
  • Reply Terry Tetzloff

    I’m looking at Anderson windows that are black vinyl outside. I have been so discouraged by our supplier. He says that they wouldn’t guarantee them because they don’t know how the sun reacts to the black. If they’ll seal correctly or not, etc. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

    September 16, 2020 at 10:50 am
    • Reply Sarah Medelius

      Would be interested learning answer to the question about fading as well.

      September 26, 2020 at 3:50 pm

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