Using Dark Window Trim

March 18, 2013

[pinterest] trim1


Have you noticed how widespread using dark trim for windows is becoming?





They seem to be becoming more popular in all different parts of the country.

But for many people, the very idea of using black window frames in a bright windowed room runs counter to everything we think of when it comes to a bright room.



“I am always asked if black will confine, shrink or overpower a room. But in fact, dark frames are great for bright rooms because they recede and demand little attention for our eyes as we take in the room and the view.” (Eve Ashcraft)



“Light window frames actually slow your eye way down and keeps your focus on the things in the room longer. Which might be just the trick if your view is less than perfect. And even if your view is spectacular, sometimes it’s nice to feel the boundaries of a beautiful room, especially if it is cold outside.” (Eve Ashcraft)

As an example, think of a garden with a white picket fence: whitefence


Verses a wrought iron fence. The white stands out and the black seems to disappear into the plantings.



Do you think the white stops the eye, whereas the dark color just disappears?











Very stunning and beautiful, don’t you agree? I do think the eye passes through easier with the darker trim. Which look do you love best, the dark or the light window trim?

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  1. I’m laughing because as we just finished some major projects in our home last year, I see things already that I would do different like these outstanding windows!!! Oh and opening shelving in the kitchen…my hubs would just fall over if I told him I wanted to take out new cabinets! Ha! Great post!

  2. I don’t know Kelly, I can’t seem to get my head around the dark window frames. Seems like the dark frames block the outside view, but they do create a nice “frame”. So when I scan a room, my eye immediately goes to the dark trim and not the rest of the room! I guess if you have those gigantic windows, it wouldn’t make much of a difference either way, though!

  3. I really love dark trim, and I’m specifying it more all the time. The main difficulty I’m seeing in making this work is all the crappy white or cream plastic window mullions embedded in replacement windows or new construction homes that can’t be painted out. I really liked your example of the white picket fence vs. the iron fence – what a great illustration to help people visualize what a difference the dark trim can make!

  4. Kelly, excuse the long comment but I so hope you’re right about black/dark window frames coming back. It’s becoming an issue where I live. My 1986 built Del Webb “Gemini/Twin” home (single-family attached or duplex) and all of the houses in our development have black-framed windows. The issue is that currently, it’s not possible to get black-framed new energy-efficient windows (which we need) without spending a huge fortune because window makers aren’t doing black frames anymore. Althouogh it’s not specified in our HOA and other surrounding HOAs don’t care, our two streets are particularly lovely because the homes all tie in (each set of Del Webb’s Gemini/Twins looks like one very large and wide home that just happens to have a garage door on each end (a lot of people driving through our development don’t even realize what they’re seeing). Where HOAs have allowed home owners to change their windows to whatever, the individual homes now begin to stick out like sore thumbs and the street becomes rather unkempt and ordinary looking. Additionally, the aluminum windows don’t always hold up under the hot Arizona desert sun. Our HOA is looking in to this as it is an energy efficiency issue which a lot of new owners are concerned about.

    As far as dark or light trim inside, I can understand, particularly for those who have never had it, feeling somewhat ambigious about it. But I happen to be thrilled by mine. I have grass out front and my “backyard” is a greenbelt. Though all my windows are on only 8′ walls, I have 2 8′-wide almost full-height windows in the master BR and the LR which look out onto that greenbelt as well as a patio door in the LR and another in the Kitchen plus corner windows in the kitchen plus a 6′-wide large window in the guest BR looking onto the front lawn plus a tall sort of 2/3rds bay window in the dining/office area (wonderful light and beautiful view – not quite as grand as the windows above, but I love the fact that the minute you walk through my front door, your eye is immediately drawn to grass and the trees outback and the dark window frames make that happen. Ordinary window frames or even white ones, I think, would stop the eye and ruin the whole effect. But, as Susan points out above, it really depends on what you have inside and outside your window. I love the way my house has come together inside and I love how it works for me with the black frames and I’ll be quite upset with my neighborhood and my house if that changes but I can certainly understand other people’s points of view. Again, I hope you are right that they are coming back.

    Very interesting post, Kelly

    • It does seem to be gaining popularity everywhere Sandy- I hope it works out in the neighborhood for you!
      You indoor windows seem large and beautiful! I am glad you are happy with the darker trim! Thanks for writing

  5. I think it very much depends on the feeling you want the room to have as well as what other furnishings you have in the room. Example, that all white bathroom…if that had dark window trim, and if nothing else in that room was dark, it would seem to stick out like a sore thumb to my eye. I do like dark frames in darker feeling/painted rooms. Very cozy!

    I just bought a used bistro set. It’s currently painted black. So now I’m thinking “Do I want it to blend into the bush behind it where it’ll be positioned, or do I want it to make a statement?” That’ll decide whether or not I’ll change the color.

    So I think the bottom line for window trim is “show it off or blend it in?” 🙂 And it’s even more of a consideration if the window dressings are minimal or extravagant. The more the window trim shows, the more of an issue of its own ‘look’.

    • Looking at the pictures Luci, I tried to pick photos that were lived in homes- not designer(although I know that first pic was amazing!) If you look, there are some ‘normal’ homes- the dark window trim is going in all types of homes. And all stles of homes. Thanks for writing!

  6. I am really loving the dark trim but it has to be just the right room. Large windows with beautiful views are ideal and I also think they work great in a very contemporary space.

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