Design Decisions

Black Windows: A Complete Guide

black window living room

When it comes to home building or home renovations, there is no shortage of decisions to make. This part of the process can be fun but also very challenging. One of those decisions is whether or not to go with black windows. And when I say black windows, I’m obviously talking about the window frame, sash, and grilles – not the glass.

Black framed windows have become very popular over the past few years. This has some people thinking they might just be a fad that will go away at some point. We’ll discuss this in a bit. On the flip side, anytime something starts to trend, it causes more people to jump on the bandwagon. I never recommend that people follow trends without doing research to make sure that what they are choosing is right for their home. So in this article, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about black windows to help you make an informed decision.


Although black framed windows have become very popular over the past few years, they actually date back to the early twentieth century. Black steel windows were originally installed in warehouses and factories. These original black steel windows can still be found in industrial buildings that have been renovated. Black steel windows are also a modern-day construction option, although they are quite expensive. That’s why black-painted windows were invented – to give people an affordable option for this industrial look.

Are Black Windows a Fad?

As we are seeing black framed windows used more frequently in new construction and home renovations, some think it may just be a fad. I disagree. I think black windows are classic, and considering they date back so far, they convey a sense of character and timelessness.

Black framed 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 framed windows, they instantly think “farmhouse”. But they are certainly not limited to modern farmhouses.

Black Windows Exterior

Using black framed windows on the exterior of a home is a great way to create contrast and curb appeal, especially if your home will be painted a lighter color. If you do go this route, I recommend choosing SDLs. This stands for simulated divided lites. This means that the window grilles are on the outside of the glass instead of in between. This creates a more authentic look and adds depth to your windows. This is especially important for black windows since the grilles can get lost visually during the day.

Black Windows Interior

If I had to choose between black framed windows on the exterior or on the interior, I would probably choose the interior. I love what they do for a room. The black sash of the windows almost acts like a picture frame, where what you see through the glass is the artwork. If you choose black windows for your interior, I recommend painting the window trim the same color as your walls. This creates a cleaner look.

Black Vs White Windows

In the home design community, there is a huge trend with black framed 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 depending on the style of home you are looking to build or remodel. When choosing a window color and design, rely heavily on two factors: what style of home you are building and your personal preference.

black window farmhouse

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

black window modern home
Photo Credit: Studio McGee

But as I mentioned, they are not limited to one particular style of home. We used them in our farmhouse and we also used them in our current house, which is a European-style painted brick home. The black framed windows add an element of contrast and visual interest to the exterior.

Cons of Black Windows

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.

Do Black Windows Cost More?

Another negative of black windows is that they cost more than white windows. They are usually about 10% – 20% more. This additional cost is from the window manufacturer. The increased cost is for the special paint and finishes used to prevent fading and additional labor that is associated with these products. It doesn’t cost any more to have them installed since the process is the same no matter the color of the window.

However, there are ways you can save some money and still have black windows. Order them unfinished on the interior, and paint them black yourself. We did this in our farmhouse, and the results were excellent.

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.

white window kitchen
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 attention to other architectural features. White windows are simply a very clean, classic design that will go with any style of home.

Cons of White Windows

One reason that we didn’t go with white windows is that we were afraid the color difference would be too noticeable between the factory finish white of the window and the shade of white (Sherwin Williams White Duck) that we painted 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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  • 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 Joan

        Having our whole house windows replaced. Difference between black & white is black is 40% more! Quite a shocker!

        March 10, 2023 at 4:50 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 Monica

        So many mixed reviews on window brands, are you happy with Plygem?

        April 2, 2021 at 1:48 am
  • 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 Ana Cristina Bicho De Almeida

      Hi Brooke. That was going to be my question πŸ˜€ Windows here were kinda of a brownish colour. Painted the exterior black, and I’m happy with that. Debating the interior, and I think I’m going with white now πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½ thank you πŸ™πŸ½

      August 11, 2022 at 8:34 am
  • Reply JB

    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 Jennifer Keessen

        Renewal by Anderson has that option, as we just ordered some yesterday! It’s possible that many other companies do, too.

        October 22, 2021 at 11:22 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

      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 Beth

      What did you decide to do? We are in the early stages of building a new home and are torn. We like the look of the black windows but are afraid they are too trendy. Our house plan sounds similar to yours.

      February 22, 2021 at 4:42 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 Karen

      What brand for the slate grey windows?

      July 10, 2021 at 2:20 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 πŸ™‚ 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 Vk

      I would love a reply to this question as well!!

      November 15, 2020 at 4:14 am
      • Reply Jennifer Austin

        Do you recommend white flashing on a white house with black windows on exterior? My siding installer recommended white flashing vs black.

        March 26, 2021 at 3:06 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
  • Reply Nancy E Sulse

    I’m using the Anderson 400 series with dark bronze on the outside – do you think the patio door trim should also be dark bronze or is all white a nice contrast? White siding because we’re the covered wrap-around porch creates a lot of shade. Inside is all white except for bathrooms and laundry which are black. Thank you for your thoughts.

    March 15, 2021 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply Samantha Bard

    Woah, I am super interested in the couch in that first photo. Where’s it from?

    March 25, 2021 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Marianne L Fenton

    Hi I am torn painting my exterior windows black. I live in a cape and only wanted to do the front 4 windows. Would that look odd if I just did the front and not all of them. I did the front interior grills only for now which you can see both inside and out and like the contrast. The house color is a lighter gray/green with soft white trim. Your thoughts.

    June 12, 2021 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply Lisa Dubb

    Hi! We are going with black framed window. If we also go with black interior doors, will that be too much black with white walls?

    July 27, 2021 at 5:56 pm
  • Reply Ashley Powell

    Building a house this Spring and trying to decide on window interiors.. I LOVE the look of the black window interior that is going in our main living area. But due to cost debating keeping it only in the room, and leaving the rest of the rooms having white interior windows. Will this look odd if half the rooms have black interior and the other white ?

    April 21, 2022 at 12:09 am
  • Reply John

    I like this article. I normally buy my windows from Dako in white colour. It makes them look cleaner.

    April 26, 2022 at 9:38 am
  • Reply Michelle mitchell

    What is the best price for black windows? I was getting quotes from Milgard which is extremely expensive but is there an alternative as I want to paint my house the same color as yours.. And I think that if I painted that duck white color from Sherwin-Williams and have white windows it won’t show the black like I want to look like yours what do you think
    Thanks Brooke and Henry

    May 28, 2022 at 3:14 am
  • Reply Amanda Purchase

    Hi. I’m getting the black framed windows on the front and the side of my house that you see from the driveway. The trim on the house is white and the siding is gray. I’ll be taking down the black shutters since I won’t need them anymore and I don’t like shutters. My question is the door frame. I’m getting a new door and I’m wondering if the frame of the door should be white or black. The railing up to the house is white but I could always paint it. Welcome your thoughts

    January 10, 2023 at 5:03 pm
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