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7 Best Ways to Choose the Right Window Colour for your Home

By 02/06/2022May 24th, 202211 Comments

Did you know that the first and most important colour choice for your new build exterior is the window colour? Whether you are starting a renovation or planning a new build construction, your window colour choice sets the tone for the rest of your exterior decisions. Here are some guidelines for choosing the right window colour for your home.

How to choose the right window colour for your home

Ideally, your windows should look perfectly integrated with the colours and materials you’re installing. It’s also important to consider the versatility and longevity of the colour you choose. 

Most window companies, like Centra Windows (located here in the Westcoast), have lots of colour choices – but which is the right colour for your home? To create the most timeless exterior, you’ll want to keep these guidelines in mind when selecting a window colour.

This post is sponsored in part by Centra Windows and they provided some of the window colour images for this post. All colour advice is mine alone.

1. Always create a design plan before choosing your window colour

I recommend creating a plan for your colours and finishes BEFORE choosing the window colour. Don’t just default to white or black windows.

I had a client early in the black and white trend whose contractor went ahead and ordered 40K of Almond (green beige) windows based solely on wild assumptions. This window colour choice impacted ALL other colour decisions for her exterior and led her directly into a much earthier (brown and beige) colour scheme than she had in mind.

She called my eDesign department in a panic. We of course encouraged her to call her contractor out on his mistake and gave her options to move her project forward.

Since the black and white trend arrived, and the black window trend along with it, most people are now simply assuming that black windows are the correct choice for every style of home they are building. The emails my eDesign department now receives go something like this: “HELP, I chose black windows for my new build and now I’m worried they don’t go with the rest of my exterior finishes!”

The moral of the story is: don’t go into your exterior project without a plan – whether it’s a new build or renovation. Also, don’t choose a default window colour without considering the overall look you want to create.

2. When to choose white windows

White windows remain popular and probably the safest default colour choice, and for good reason. They work with a variety of fresh and pretty colour palettes. White windows are an especially good option for a traditional to a transitional exterior with plenty of crisp white trim.

Centra Windows

 

Centra Windows

Because my aesthetic preference for exterior colours is a fresher look over an earthy one, white windows take the top spot in my rankings for timeless colour choices for your exterior. 

But white windows do NOT work when you have an earthy colour scheme with stone that is warmer and more brown and varied in tone than green grey limestone. That’s when you need a warmer or deeper window colour. White windows will look too stark. More on windows for earthy palettes below.

3. Black windows are trending, but are they right for your home?

Due to the prevalence of the black and white trend for exteriors, the new popular default colour choice is black windows. But black windows in no way work with EVERY exterior. 

I would argue that white windows are often the prettier, less trendy choice for an all-white exterior, even for the trendy modern farmhouse look. However, if you love the look of black windows, make sure to balance them with plenty of fresh white, cream or pale greige. This is a nice example of that below:

Centra Windows

4. Here’s what to be aware of if you are considering black windows

If your windows are not nice and symmetrical or consistent in shape and size, that’s when you might want to avoid accenting them with high contrast black windows.

In the image below, the black windows and trim are too heavy for this exterior. It’s all you notice.

Black is a nice highlight for generously large and well-proportioned windows. In contrast to the example above, the design of this elegant house below has it right.

This house has large feature windows with slim frames and narrow mullions combined with a pretty symmetrical pale white/cream body. Black windows on an exterior like this will never look dated.

Read more: Are Black Windows the Best Choice for Your New Build?

Centra Windows

Black windows can also be pretty inside, just know that you will always have to incorporate some black into your interior decor to make them relate. This is relatively easy now with the black and white trend. There are plenty of subtle ways to repeat the black as they’ve done with the trendy area rug below. Black interior windows look great with white walls, but they are more limiting when your decorating style inevitably shifts.

But if you aren’t sure about carrying the black colour palette inside your home, here’s something else to consider. I always encourage my clients to choose white interior windows because timeless design means creating a versatile backdrop for decorating. 

Centra Windows

5. When to choose an earth tone or a warm grey window colour?

Did you know that colours typically wash out a few shades lighter in exterior light? This is important to know if you need cream or a softer window colour. A slightly creamier off-white option is probably not going to be creamy enough on an exterior. In fact, it might look more like white and end up being too stark to work with brick and earthy stone.

The best exterior creams are actually green grey and green beige, or sometimes taupe.

Read more: The Best Window Colour For Stone and Brick

6. WINDOW COLOUR TIP: See which window colour best matches your mortar.

Window colours that best match stone mortar are usually:

  • Green beige, typically called Almond
  • Green grey (which is also the colour of natural limestone and concrete), often called Clay, Cashmere, or Putty

While I recommend choosing a green undertone over pink, a pink or violet taupe is sometimes the right choice with exterior stone that has violet and pink undertones. 

The soft colour of the windows below looks like a green grey and relates beautifully to the mortar. The green grey window colour provides just enough contrast to the brick without coming across as heavy on the one hand, or stark on the other.    

Absolute Architecture

That being said, make sure you don’t just default to green beige (in other words Almond windows) for an earthier colour scheme. They can often be too yellow to be versatile with the stone on your exterior. Rather, you’ll find stone commonly has cooler green grey, violet grey and taupe undertones.

7. Will bronze windows work for my home?

Bronze windows are also a great choice with earthier colour schemes.

This earthy taupe exterior below with slim bronze windows could easily be painted a pretty creamy colour for a fresher look. That’s what makes bronze a versatile choice. It’s softer than black for windows but deep enough to look good with many fresh and earthier colour schemes. A window colour like bronze that is also versatile essentially equals timeless.

Centra Windows

I often encourage my clients to consider softer bronze exterior windows instead of black for a more muted but still timeless look with a pale body colour and a warmer roof colour. When you combine these warmer elements with plenty of fresh white, it can also provide a timeless look. 

Home Bunch

The best way to choose the prettiest window colour for your house comes down to having a design plan in place first. Once you know the context of the style and overall colour palette you want, you can work through which options will coordinate best.

You’ll also want to consider which option will give you the most longevity. Windows are not an easy thing to replace and they can set the entire colour palette for the rest of your exterior. That makes it an important early decision to make.

Read more: 10 Steps For Planning Your  Timeless New Build

Which window colour is the most versatile for your home and will allow you to update and change the look of your exterior in the future?

Because your window colour is one of the first and most expensive decisions for a renovation or new build, making a wrong choice can snowball into limiting future colour decisions. So, do you have a design plan yet?

If you’re located here in the Westcoast and thinking about adding or updating your old windows, I would highly recommend visiting your local Centra Windows location or their website. They will be able to guide you through the process and have a wide selection of window colours. But remember – a design plan comes first! 

This post is sponsored by Centra Windows, all opinions are my own.

Do you have questions about windows? Post them below!

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11 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    What about modern and contemporary style homes? I have black casement windows and chose among solely dark colors (charcoal, navy, forest green) for my exterior. I think it looks much better, and more timeless, than trying to copy the modern farmhouse look. I could have gone in a more traditional direction I suppose but traditional style is not my cup of tea.

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  • Claire says:

    For those of your readers who live in hotter climates, black windows may not be the best choice. The heat absorption of a dark color frame can cause too much expansion and break the seals between the glass panes of some types of windows. The manufacturer paperwork for our paintable (and expensive) energy saver windows lists a minimum LRV for paint colors. Painting darker frames than that voids the window warranty. I would assume that vinyl finished (unpaintable) windows available in dark colors wouldn’t have this problem.

    We had the cool bronze color in factory finish windows in a different house in the 80s, and they really did disappear visually when looking outside to the outdoors. But they looked much better with the taupe siding we installed later than the original hard white siding the builder put in.

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  • Holly says:

    The problem with bronze windows here in the Unites States is they discontinue colors and then you’re left with having to buy a different shade when you replace them, which happened to us. We originally bought Crestline windows 29 years ago in the color pewter to go with my Georgia Pacific vinyl siding in the color Clay. Building a house at 19 years old, I stupidly chose white soffit and facia instead of brown to go with the windows. Because of harsh Upstate NY winters, we had to replace quite a few, and Crestline no longer sells windows here, so we we went with brown in a different brand. Then we had to replace more, and we didn’t like the quality of the ones we bought so we chose dark bronze and went with Pella windows. This year we had to replace 3 more windows and I said that’s it, we’re going with white Pella windows in the same style as the dark bronze ones we replaced 12 years ago, and we’re going to paint match the aluminum on the rest of the windows and paint them white to match the three new windows and the white soffit and facia that my husband refuses to change to brown. At this point I will have to ignore Maria’s color advice and act like I never read her post if my siding calls for a warmer white for my exterior windows.

    I’m personally not as bothered by bright white windows and facia unless they’re accompanied by really warm exterior colors like olive green and dark brown wood cabins with cool white windows drive me absolutely crazy with the starkness. I’m looking at my neighbors right now.

    2
  • Julie Sikora says:

    We have dark bronze 80s windows on our California ranch and they look great with my mostly off-white interior walls as well as the exterior light green-gray siding. I actually thought they were black until we went to replace a bathroom window with a larger one and I pulled some paint chips to match the color. I guess we were lucky that Home Depot’s custom dept has a virtually identical dark bronze aluminum window frame still available.

    3
  • KJ says:

    There is an epidemic in our area of people replacing their old bronze aluminum windows on 80s brick homes with white vinyl windows. It looks so bad with the existing brick. And many chose low-e glass with a noticeable green tint. It’s horrifying to see and heartbreaking because even ugly cheap vinyl windows cost a fair bit of money.

    3
  • priscilla says:

    Ooh, good post Maria. I hope I never have to use this advice, but you know what they say about the thing you greatest fear…

  • kathy says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for the wonderful information, as usual. Just one question, is your first photo example [under #2 -when to choose white windows] really an illustration of white windows? Against the blue house I seem to see plenty of white trim with dark windows- either black or dark navy.

    Thanks for this informative blog. I’ve learned so much from you.

    With best regards,
    Kathy

    • Maria Killam says:

      Oh yes the white trim was so heavy I missed the fact that the windows are actually black. But you can get the picture! Maria

  • Holly says:

    I love all your informative posts, Maria! Just one question. I know you have an exterior color masterclass but what about writing an exterior color eBook? I’d love nothing more than to sink my teeth into one written by you!

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  • LC says:

    Good point about discontinued colors. We went with a particular company that has been in business for a long time to hopefully avoid that kind of problem.

    We had a second reason for choosing that company: they were the only ones who could change our existing poor quality windows with some that were a cream that went much better on the outside of the house with the limestone-look manufactured stone facade AND have white on the inside, which was definitely my preference.

    The only thing I miss about the original windows is that these new-fangled energy efficient windows is that they change the color of the light that comes in ever so slightly.

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