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How to Choose the Right Windows for a Brick Exterior: Before and After

By 03/24/2019March 29th, 202325 Comments

Updating your windows is an expensive upgrade, so you want to make sure you choose the right window colour. If you have a brick home, standard white windows can be too stark, so here’s what you need to consider to choose the best windows for your exterior. 

It’s finally spring! Most of us had a pretty harsh winter and the warmer days are most welcome. Bring on the spring rain and blossoms!


However, with the warmer weather, our thoughts turn quickly to all the updates we need to make to our home’s yards and exteriors don’t they?

eDesign Exterior Colour Consultations

This time of year, our eDesign department gets extra busy helping clients with the best updates for their exteriors. Because let’s face it, if you get a colour choice wrong for your exterior, it’s not as easy as simply repainting a room or returning something.

Exterior projects tend to be labour intensive and costly, so it’s really important to get the colour just perfect the first time.

This is especially true when it comes to investment upgrades like new windows.

Don’t just default to white or black windows

My dear client Carla reached out for help last season. She needed to replace her large metal windows on her classic brick home and wanted to make sure she got it right.

By the way, did you know that window style and colour is one of the first selections you will need to make when you are building a home? And that standard true white windows are too stark to work with most brick and stone?

Many builders simply default to white, and don’t even ask. It’s very common to see exteriors with earthy stone and brick and screaming white windows that in no way relate, and this is why.

White vinyl windows are generally the least expensive, “standard” option too. If you’re planning brick or stone for your exterior, it’s best to budget for a custom window colour that coordinates, you’ll thank yourself in the long run.

Many builders are now offering black windows and these should also be chosen with care, I talked about the black window trend here.

Carla’s original windows were true white and a good example of white windows looking too stark with brick (below).

Carla’s House Before

You can also see that the grids on the original windows are too busy. And the glass surrounding the front entrance lacks the wider profile elements, so it doesn’t relate well to the others.

On the other hand, the large scale of the windows is wonderful and I could see lots of potential here.

Here is a close up of a white window with the brick so you can really see how stark the white looks (below).

Stark white window with earthy red brick

How to Choose the Right Window Colour for Brick

Testing, testing and more testing. I advised that her new windows should be a softer green beige or green gray (cream wasn’t an available option) to relate to the mortar colour. Here is a test of the best green gray option the window manufacturer offered. It looks very similar to a pale green gray in my system, BM Pashmina AF 100 (below). Handy that she owned my large colour boards!

How to choose the right window colour for brick

Colour test of Clay windows

You can see that this colour coordinates much better with her mortar colour and looks softer with the red brick.

By the way, so that I can be sure that I’m seeing neutral undertones and colours accurately in my clients photographs for eDesign, I ask for them to take photos of all the finishes with white paper in natural light.

Carla did this for me with her brick (below).

testing brick colour

Photo of brick with white paper for colour accuracy

The Before and After

They are planning some new landscaping which is going to make the curb appeal of this home just amazing, but in the meantime, I couldn’t wait to share the dramatic after from just updating the windows and trim to match:

Here’s the before again:

And the after:


Beautiful right? The new windows relate perfectly colour wise, so much softer. While she didn’t consult with us on the style of the windows, the original grids were just so busy, especially with the patterned brick. Now the windows have presence but are much cleaner and more current looking.

They also changed the front door from a dated chocolate brown to a more classic black.

Once the new landscaping goes in, this house will be a knockout.

Thank you Carla for allowing me to share your beautiful home!

If you are planning some upgrades to your exterior this season, check out my eDesign consultation packages here. Email us here,  if you need help determining which package is best for your project.

PS. The ‘Colour is Relative’ talk I moderated at the KBIS show was video taped, you can watch the entire presentation here!

Related posts:

The Best Colour Advice on Painting your Exterior

The Best Exterior Trim Colours with Brick, NOT Cloud White

The Shortcut to Testing Exterior Colour; Before & After

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  • SueB says:

    Gorgeous! Perfect color and style.

  • Eva says:

    If she weren’t able to change the windows, would whitewashing the brick have improved the appearance?

  • Mari says:

    I always love black windows with Brick. I think it’s because I live in the city, and that combination is very industrial loft looking … Which is what most of the brick structures around here are. But also love it on brick row homes.

  • Carol says:

    What is the brand of windows used? My home is smaller, nut simular, and our existing windiws need painting. ( i want new ones, but not in the budget) i also too off the grids . Yuk. I hated those things. Lol

  • Penny says:

    Wow, beautiful! THAT would bring a smile every time you pulled in the drive. HUGE transformation.

  • Kim says:

    Holy moly, what a fabulous transformation! I hope you show it to us again after she gets her landscaping completed. Hint, hint.

  • Debbie says:

    Soooo much better. Great job, Maria! Really effective and helpful post. Thanks

  • Martha says:

    Do you want to always match your trim color to your window color?

  • mrsben says:

    Beautiful upgrade and comforting to know that white (and muntin bar) windows in some cases can be a distracting element as so often I see lovely homes, that to me the windows are screaming (as you have pointed out Maria) ‘look at me, look at me’ … ☺.

  • Tracy says:

    Wow! The “after” looks amazing. Updated and classic at the same time.

  • Monica says:

    I’m surprised her HOA allowed the window change.
    It’s become a bit of a battle in my subdivision.

  • Marissa says:

    I know people love the low maintenance of brick, but this seems like a perfect house to paint. I think the new color windows are an improvement but painted brick would have brought a breath of fresh air into it

  • Marianne says:

    Hi Maria, I’m glad you tackled this question. Where I live, brick houses are the norm. In my neighbourhood, I’ve observed that many people replace their windows with the same colour they started with, meaning a lot of white, french vanilla (looks like straight up yellow), and brown windows on houses built in the 80s like mine was. My brick alone has rust, tan, pinky-red, and dark grey in it. White or yellowy-cream with that is just not cute!

  • Joanne says:

    This was a post I didn’t want to read. The house I completely renovated has similar brick with white windows, trim, porch, garage doors, etc. I knew the white wasn’t right, but changing any white elements would make the remaining white look worse. To make matters worse, there is creamy yellow siding on three sides that look crisp with the white trim. The underlying problem was a clean dirty mix of siding and brick. Sigh.

    I decided to embrace the white and change the black lamppost to white, specify white flowering landscaping, etc. I think it helps, but I must admit after seeing this before and after, my house will bug me a bit.

    • AnnK says:

      Don’t let it. Carla’s new windows and trim color are gorgeous of course and a huge improvment, but I personally just prefer the brighter crisper white of the old windows and trim.

    • SDC says:

      Oh Joanne, don’t despair! White trim with red brick is timeless and classic. Look at the beautiful red brick buildings adorned with white trim and windows in such historic places such as Monticello, the campus buildings of the University of Virginia, Boston’s Beacon Hill, Philadelphia, PA, Charleston, SC, Williamsburg, VA, Savannah, GA etc.

  • Katy says:

    First of all, the change in grids and window style is absolutely wonderful to me. I’ve had several brick homes and had to face this issue of window color. While I agree that stark white as a default color is not good, I have found that it does weather a bit over time and is not as bad as some of the other colors which also tend to fade but not in a good way. My main concern when making a window color decision was window treatments inside. It may be old fashioned but I really don’t like to see much contrast in window treatments (even linings) which will show to some degree from street view. For instance…if you have shutters on inside…I think you have to consider what color to used based on window trim from outside. Same thought works with whatever you might use as window treatment. Maria, what color would you suggest using as window treatments considering this new exterior treatment? Of course it would depend on decor of interior…but would the exterior window trim enter into it at all?

    • Maria Killam says:

      The inside of these windows are white. I would not recommend this colour for all the interior windows.Thanks for your comment, good question! Maria

      • SDC says:

        I think Katy’s question was related to the color of the the window treatment (drapery lining, roller shade, etc.) facing the exterior – not the color of the window frames on facing inside.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Wow! What a difference! Eliminating all the grids made a big difference also.

  • Adam Smith says:

    Quite an improvement, Thanks for sharing.

  • Sheila says:

    Question about exterior window color vs. interior color. I have an orangey brick on the exterior of my house, and the stucco sections are painted BM Sandy Brown (body) and BM Lighthouse Landing (trim). Those colors look great with the brick, and cream-colored windows would be perfect. The problem is that I want the inside grids to be white, not cream, but with vinyl or fiberglass windows, it seems that the exterior color is also the interior color — and I don’t want cream grids inside. What is the solution? I live in Florida, so wood windows aren’t a great option here.

    • Lizzy says:

      What about when exterior and interior windows must be the same color (builder restricted)? I want clay for my exterior brick house, but not sure what to do about clay interior (and my windows have to be the same color each side). So is it better to choose white exterior even with earthy brown brick, in order to have white inside?

  • Louise says:

    Imo the peachy cream color does not look good at all. Looks dingy. Was so much better white. And the mullions are way too thick, takes up too much of the window. The additional mullions above the door make it seem top heavy.
    I would have: 1. Used an off-white or black color window frames. 2. Done the picture window above the door in one big window. 3. Done the other windows in a vertical (half-arched, single hung) 50/50 split, so there is only one mullion coming down the center instead of 2 or 3. This would give a much sleeker look outside and provide a much bigger viewing area looking out.

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