Black Frame Windows

My official campaign to paint our french windows black has launched, and this is it. I'm curious to see how the dude votes. All in favor say YAY!

7th_street_residence_black window framesvia PullTab

I’ve been feeling rather drawn toward black frame windows.

It’s an industrial vibe, a warehouse look, and it’s had my attention for some time — but lately I’m noticing it more and more as it mixes traditional residential architecture with modernized interiors and it’s really impressing me and that has me thinking about my own new home.

This particular home decor trend is not adopted without some commitment to the cause. Many times the executions are impressive because they were an architectural choice at the time of installation. However, painting an otherwise normal window frame is an option for upping the aesthetic ante. Painting windows can be a real pain though, especially if you are covering up oil based paint. Many folks wouldn’t be willing to get into this without real commitment to the look.

We are trying to make that decision for ourselves now. I’m growing more and more committed each day though. It started as an quick idea that I brushed away almost as soon as I thought it. It has since evolved from that to the “Heffe would never buy it” stage to this full on campaign for his consideration. This marks the official launch of my efforts to convert the dude into a believer.

First, let’s have another look at the windows in the new hizz. There are 13 in the sunroom alone. They are lovely old french panes and they are painted blue on the outside, which is an endearing feature that made me fall head over heels for this home.

But, from the inside, you can see that blue sneaking and peeking around the edges, blurring and distorting the frames and distracting from the view beyond the jungle greenery. The addition of the screens, which we only have on the windows that open, makes for an illusory sense of color in the frames, ie, not white, but very fuzzy.

You can clearly see the illusory color effects happening in these pics. They are already imperfect — why NOT paint them black? My feeling is that the strength of the black mullions and transoms will stand up with a bit more visual strength to the sunlight and the screens, providing a more cohesive grid like effect on the windows and thus improving the view overall. I’ve photoshopped it below.

But first, join me as we journey through a world of black frame window inspiration and what got the old wheels spinning in the first place. Most of these painted frames maintain their original white window trim, so it is only the frame that should get the black treatment in our home. This is the look that I’m after. Of additional note, some of these are most definitely metal frames and some have no trim at all.

Black Window Framesvia Carter Kay

via Architectural Digest
Ellen & Portia’s foyer has got it going on and their black frames are definitely an architectural statement. Plus there is a large dose of Serge Mouille at play, which is another recurring trend in the images I’m pinning. I’m feeling all wanty inside.

chenault james black windowsvia Chenault James

Amber-Interiors-Black-window-panesvia Amber Interiors.
Amber’s recent client reveal showcases an impressive architectural statement with its black warehouse window wall.
Peep the before and after post to get a load of just how this feature sings agains that brilliant white.

french windows painted greyvia Rethink Design Studio
Just for fun, here is a room with the french frames painted grey.

black windows Feldman Architecturevia Feldman Architecture, Inc.

So, I put our home in its mid-renovation state into photoshop, to help us see what our little spot could look like. I’m rather loving the turnout. Let’s do it!




We did it. Here is a little look at our turnout.


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  • I am SO into dark windows (inside and out). Thinking about going dark on our midcentury ranch when we replace the beat up 2 over 2s with modern casements. My only caveat is scale of the pane grid. I don’t necessarily think black would work for smaller scale installations when the mullions are tighter together because it loses the vibe of the inspiration images (oversized, metal mullion). Your windows and doors seem to be of a good scale so I say go for it!
    Your new house is super charming- I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    • Thank you Salley. And thanks for pointing the tightness of the grid out. That is an important consideration.

      Our grid feels a bit like it impedes on visibility to what’s going on outside. I have also wondered what it might be like to replace them all with picture windows or something a bit less busy. It’s not going to happen though b/c so much charm, especially on the exterior, relies on those french windows.

      It’s a fun practice to imagine all of the possibilities. Good luck with your window project. Drop back in and let us know that you did it.

  • I love the look of the black windows when everything else is painted white. The only concern I would have if I were you guys is the beams in your house. If you look at Amber’s pic, the all white with the black is gorgeous. Your second from the bottom pic is closest to that, I just wonder if you don’t paint the beams white if it will just look busy and not cohesive.

    • Thanks Jenny. I hadn’t considered that the natural finish of the wood beams would compete with a black frame. We’re certainly dedicated to keeping the wood finish. You have given me more to think about and look for in inspiration images.

  • I would paint them black. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. If I could paint my vinyl windows black I would do it in a heartbeat. (Unfortunately, previous owner left only 5 of the original wood windows in my house)

    For the longest time, I hesitated painting my 12 foot ceilings black, but one day, I said screw it and just started painting them black. I haven’t regretted it for one moment.

    • Joolz! <3
      12 foot black ceilings -- sounds incredible. I'd love to see that.
      I admire that spirit, and I relate to it. If the dude I share the house with wasn't so careful, I'd likely never stop to ask myself and I'd just paint away to see for myself.
      Sometimes you get an itch and you just have to scratch it. No room for regret!

  • So into it. I love the rendering you did. I wouldn’t be so concerned with it being busy with the beams because your style tends to steer away from density in furnishing.

    My new place is white walls with dark beige trim (which is not my favorite pairing and I am trying to deal with it), and I wish I could paint it this way.

    • Hi Kristen! Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. I’m still leaning towards wanting to do this. I saw that you had moved into a new place! I always love your style as well, hope I get to see what you do. I’m so excited to be moving away from our beige place. Can you paint your walls to minimize the trim? Seems like a strange choice to me too.

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