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White Vs Black Windows

For centuries a home’s windows have been overwhelmingly white. The second most common is wood and occasionally we see some bolder colors. But white easily makes up over 90% of all window frames. In fact, these days almost every manufacturer offers all of their windows in default white direct from the factory. You generally have to ask for bare wood as an option because so few people buy them. But that’s changing. One of the hottest trends in home building and remodeling are black windows. Which inevitably creates the comparison of white vs black windows. Which is best? When do you use black windows instead of white? Which costs more? And are they right for your house?

Some see black windows as a fad, but personally, I love the look. They’re a modern sleek design that’s very different from white. They’re dramatic, bold and draw a lot of attention. Especially to a home with white siding. And they help define a few styles like Modern, Transitional and the Modern farmhouse look. But that doesn’t mean white windows are going out of style any time soon. Both are fabulous color choices that work with a variety of home styles. It’s really all about the style home your going for.

When choosing a window color and design, both choices heavily rely on two factors: what style of home you’re building and your personal preference. Colonial homes should have white windows, it’s a classic look that’s been a standard for centuries. But some homes look better with black frames. It all depends on the style of your home. It’s as simple as that. At least these days you have a few more options to choose from. 

Traditional style home with black frame windows, gray siding and white trim. white vs black windows.

Traditional style home with black frame windows, gray siding and white trim. Black windows give a home a more modern look.

Black Windows

Let’s start with black windows since they’re the new hot trend in home building.

Although black windows have become very popular over the past few years, they actually date back to at least the nineteenth century. Builders were using black framed windows in warehouses, factories and industrial style buildings all the time. They eventually made their way into residential properties with great success, especially within Modern style homes. But they’re not a new product.

Black windows are extremely popular in both new construction and remodels which leads some to think they may be a passing trend. But I disagree. Considering how versatile the color black is and how long they’re be used in various applications, I don’t believe they’re a fad. Black is a powerful color that’s packed with character and definitely makes an impression. And great design has always been about creating contrast which is something black windows definitely do.

Windows are a highlight of Modern style homes. Architects and builders are using larger windows in their designs which includes entire walls of glass. These designs are almost exclusively done with black frames and sometimes wood but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them finished in white.

Black windows can be used in all kinds of home styles. The ones we see the most are the Modern Farmhouse, Modern and Transitional designs which are almost exclusively built with black windows. When people see white siding with black windows, they instantly think “farmhouse” or “transitional”. And almost every Modern home is using black frames. Although their use is definitely not limited to only these three styles.

Black Window Frame Materials

You can achieve the black window look with a few different materials. And some frames can even be one color on the outside and a different one on the inside if you paint them. But for the sake of this section we’ll assume the inside and outside color match.

The standard wood and fiberglass windows are both available in black. And wood windows can easily be painted which provides more flexibility for future choices. Fiberglass, vinyl and metal windows can be painted too but it’s generally not done. But if you decide to do it you’ll need special paint made for the material your working with.

Aluminum and vinyl windows have “bronze” options that have a similar look to black. It’s not as dark as actual black but to most people they’re considered black. You’d have to do a side by side comparison to see the difference.

All of these models come with Energy Efficient options.

There are a variety of options when it comes to style and price point for black frame windows just like with white frames.

Ever see an Ultra Modern home with entire walls of glass and thin black frames? Those frames are called mullions. These types of windows are generally custom built on site or in a factory. They’re not made like a conventional window frame and typically don’t open. Although you can build in panels with doors or smaller operable windows. Mullions are typically made from

Manufacturers like Pella, Kolbe & Jeld Wen offer very Modern and custom window options which include walls of glass with black frames. If you want something out of the ordinary I suggest you contact them.

White master bathroom featuring black wood frame windows with thin grills. Round white soaking tub. Ocean view.

White master bathroom featuring black wood frame windows with thin grills.

Black Window Frames Are Dramatic

There’s no questions that when you look at a white house with white vs black windows, the black frames are much more dramatic. They’re bold and make an immediate statement. They’re also a more Modern look. Especially when the frames are very thin.

Every great home design needs some contrast. It creates depth and helps elements stand out. Without contrast your design will look flat and uninteresting. Black window frames can help a lot with this. They draw immediate attention to the windows in the same way a bold front door does.

Another reason they draw so much attention is because they break expectations. Almost every home you see has white windows. It’s the standard and what’s expected. Even though black windows are a lot more popular than they used to be, they’re still very rare. It’s an unexpected site that many people have never seen in person. Black windows are all over the internet, TV and places like Pinterest, but have you ever seen one. Compare that with how many homes you’ve seen with white windows. Black frames are sure to make and leave an impression.

Anything black is instantly dramatic. it’s a very bold color that’s generally been used as a small detail color for things like a railing or light fixture. Using it as a window frame is a great way to highlight and outline your windows. have you ever heard the term frame the view. Black frames are great at doing just that.

If you looking for a dramatic effect from your windows and have the right house style for them, using black vs white windows are worth some consideration.

Are Black Window Frames More Expensive That White?

One of the only cons of using black frame windows is that they’re more expensive. If you compare an equal size and quality white or wood frame window to a black frame window, the black frame will generally be more money. And that’s for the exact same size and quality glass. So why the price difference? It’s due to demand. Black frames are very popular at the moment but still not nearly as popular as white or wood so they’re generally all considered a special order. I’ve never seen black frame window as an in stock item and we buy a lot of windows. I use black frames all the time and we always have to order them.

Another reason is due to the style. Black frames are often considered a specialty item and built in a different style than white frames. Many manufacturers like Kolbe, Jeld Wen or Pella offer a Modern sleek series of windows that come in a black frame. But they’re not the same as their white or wood framed windows. Generally their sleeker with more glass and a thin frame. Because of this design the cost is higher.

Then you’ve got the ultra modern windows which are custom built on site to create a wall of glass. These are specially construction with Mullions and panels of glass just like a commercial building. And they cost a lot.

If your comparing the cost of white vs black windows then in general you can expect to pay more for a black frame window when compared to a white or wood frame model.

Will Black Windows Go Out Of Style?

Black windows haven’t really been a popular choice in homes before but they’ve been used in construction since at least the 19th century. If you study architecture and look at commercial or industrial buildings you’ll find black windows everywhere. A lot of city homes used them too which were built more like buildings than homes and some farm houses that doubled as a barn. Any where I look at older homes and buildings that weren’t your typical suburban home I’ve found black windows.

Today they’re definitely a hot style but that doesn’t mean they’re trendy. And there are entire home styles that exist only because of black windows. Styles like the Modern Farmhouse or Transitional. These styles define some of the most beautiful homes being built today and I doubt that will all just disappear.

Then there’s the Modern home. Black windows are almost exclusively used in Modern style homes. Black thin frames and tons of glass are a staple of most Modern home designs.

And let’s consider the color black itself. Black has always been in style pretty much wherever it’s used. It’s a super dark neutral that goes with everything. It’s not like we’re talking about a color like purple, green, red or orange. If people were using purple windows I’d say stay away, but black is a safe choice for the long term.

When I consider white vs black windows I go with whichever is more appropriate for the home I’m working on.

Traditional style home featuring white windows and trim, wood cedar shake siding and a red front door.

Traditional style home featuring white windows and trim, wood cedar shake siding and a red front door.

White Windows

While I am a huge fan of black windows, I still love the classic look of a beautiful white window with white trim and sometimes grills.

For some home styles white is still the best option. A Colonial, most Traditional homes and Beach styles here at the Jersey Shore and along the New York coast are all still using white windows. The look of a bright white window with colorful siding or cedar shake is a real classic. I was just looking at some shingle style homes built in the Hamptons and they all used white frames. It’s such a beautiful look that will never go out of style. Even for most Country or Cottage style homes white is the right choice.

White windows work best when you have lots going on with the exterior design or are using lots of dark or bold color. White brightens the home and draws attention to the windows. Contrast is very important to a home’s design and white can definitely bring it.

If your considering white vs black windows then always consider the homes style and exterior color. You want to create contrast with the windows which is why black frames on a white home is so popular. For this reason I don’t recommend using white windows with white siding unless your going for a very specific look or creating contrast in other ways.

White windows have a very clean, crisp design that works with any style home. And there’s no chance white windows are a trend or a fad. They’ve been the standard window color for over a century and that’s not going to change any time soon.

Cons Of White Windows Vs Black

White windows are a fantastic choice in almost any home but there a few situations where I think black is the better choice.

Style. A home’s exterior needs some contrast to make sure things stand out the way you want them too. I mean, the last thing any designer wants is a flat design. That’s why I prefer using black vs white windows on a home with white siding. White on white is still an OK choice if you want a very bright home and you’d getting contrast somewhere else, but I really like black windows here. And so do many other designers which is why the Modern Farmhouse and Transitional home styles came from. If your going for one of these two styles then black windows are the way to go.

Predictable. Drive around just about any neighborhood and the overwhelming majority of windows will be white. It’s the standard and fairly predictable. Even though black windows are more popular than they used to be they’re still very much the minority. Using black windows when they make sense can help make a home stand out in a crowded real estate market.

Modern. I can’t remember seeing an Ultra Modern home with white windows in my life. I’m sure some exist somewhere, I just can’t remember them. Not in this country anyway. When I think of Modern home design I think either wood or black windows. Black being the majority here. It’s the standard and for very good reason. Black is appropriate for the style.

None of these are really a huge con with white windows. They really are a great choice in almost every situation which is why they’re so popular. But in a few cases I do prefer black.

luxury dining room with white windows. Thick trim and wall paneling. Dark brown wood floors. Classic style.

White windows give a home a bright, classic look.

Should You Use White Vs Black Windows

White vs black windows. Even a few years ago the choice was only between white and wood. And people chose white well over 90% of the time. There’s a reason why every window manufacture makes white the default color. But now we have black windows as an option and it just so happens to be a very good and tempting option.

I work as a home designer, custom builder, renovator and house flipper. And I use both black and white windows in my homes. They’re both excellent choices and white is still my default window color. But for some home styles black is the better choice. It’s nice that I have options where a few years ago it was just white.

Let’s look a few examples where I prefer black windows over white.

  • Contrast. If the siding is light and I want more contrast I use black windows.
  • Modern. Black windows give off a more modern look which is often the style I’m going for.
  • Style. If the home is Modern, Transitional or a Modern Farmhouse then black is the appropriate color for the home.
  • Cost. Black windows generally cost more money so the project needs the budget to use them.

Really it’s all about the home’s style. If black windows are the right choice for the home I’m working on and I have the budget then I typically use them. If not I default back to white.

Are Black Windows The Right Choice?

Even though black windows may fit the style home your working on, there are still some other very important considerations you’ll face later on. Especially if this is a house you plan on living in. In this section we’ll go over some very common situations you should think about before going with black.

What Shades Go Best With Black Windows?

A major thing you need to consider when you have black windows is how will you cover them?

The standard 2″ white blinds don’t work with black windows like they do with white. The white blinds hanging over the black frames looks weird and very busy. If you can’t use the standard window coverings then what?

Drapes or roman shades look the best but can get expensive. And they’re not practical in every room. They’re also not adjustable like shades are. You either open the drapes or close them. The versatility that comes with adjustable shades is gone unless you use black. While some people do like the look of black shades most find them too dark. Black windows work because they’re mostly glass with a black frame. But black shades are a huge block of black. it can be a little too much.

Do Black Windows Look Good Inside The Home?

Most pictures you see of black frame windows are either from the outside or in homes without shades. And that’s for good reason. They look better from the outside or when uncovered. But what happens when you don’t want to decorate your windows around black any more.

Your only option will be to paint them. It’s a viable option, I’m working on a home right now using black windows with a white interior. Wood window frames are a great material for this because it’s easy to paint and can even come from the factory pre-painted this way. But it’s something you should think about. Some window materials aren’t as easy to change as wood.

This is why I recommend using a wood frame to most clients. Unless you have a super Modern home that will always use a thin black frame I’d go with the thicker wood frame. It has more versatility and can easily be changed in 10 years.

Black Windows Look Best Uncovered

Black window frames look best when totally uncovered. You really want to see those dark frames stand out against the light walls or siding. it’s a dramatic effect with lots of contrast. Especially when the window frames are very thin. Everyone is used to seeing the standard white wood framed windows with coverings. One of the reasons black frames look so good is because they’re so different.

But how many people want to live in a house with no window coverings?

If your anything like me then you value your privacy. Especially in the front of the house. I don’t mind some of the back windows staying open all the time because my yard is fairly private, but the front of my home is visible to the entire neighborhood. This is especially an issue at night when you can see everything going on in the home. I like to cover up my windows at night which completely eliminates the effect of black frames. Especially at dusk when they’re most beautiful.

If you look at the black frame windows you’ve pinned recently I’d guess most of them had uncovered windows. But that’s not the right choice for most homeowners so you need a strategy going in on how you’ll cover them in a stylish way.

White Vs Black Windows Gallery

Below is a gallery filled with some of my favorite white vs black windows. Hopefully a few of them will help you decide which color is best for your home.

Traditional wood walls, ceilings and floors with bronze windows & doors.

Traditional wood walls, ceilings and floors with black windows & doors.

beautiful bright bathroom with marble, gray shaker style cabinetry, a soaking tub & white windows.

beautiful bright bathroom with marble, gray shaker style cabinetry, a soaking tub & white windows.

Traditional living room with white windows and trim. Gray walls.

Traditional living room with white windows and trim. Gray walls.

Traditional style home with white siding & black windows. Black front door and metal accent roofing.

Traditional style home with white siding & black windows. Black front door and metal accent roofing.

Traditional porch with white frame windows and doors. stone flooring and columns.

Traditional porch with white frame windows and doors.

Ultra modern home featuring floor to ceiling black frame windows built frommullions. Wood ceiling. Stone walls.

Ultra modern home featuring floor to ceiling black frame windows.

Inside view of a home with thin black frame windows. Black kitchen island.

Inside view of a home with thin black frame windows. Black kitchen island.

Waterfront beach house with wood cedar shake siding and white windows. whitetrim.

Waterfront beach house with wood cedar shake siding and white windows.

Traditional style home featuring grey cedar shake siding, black metal accent roofing & white windows.

Traditional style home featuring grey cedar shake siding, black metal accent roofing & white windows.

Traditional style home featuring grey siding and black windows. whitetrim. Real stone retaining walls. Blue front door.

Traditional style home featuring grey siding and black windows.

Beautiful traditionally styled living room with black frame windows. arched wood ceiling. large wood burning fireplace.

Beautiful traditionally styled living room with black frame windows.

A beautiful classically styled living room with black frame windows.

A beautiful classically styled living room with black frame windows.

Backyard view of a grey home with black windows. white brick walls. Wood columns. Bluestone. Swimming pool.

Backyard view of a grey home with black windows.

Closeup view of a white stucco home with black windows. black metal roof overhang.

Closeup view of a white stucco home with black windows.

Prep kitchen window with a traditional white frame. quartz countertop. white shelves. No backsplash. small round sink.

Prep kitchen window with a traditional white frame.

beautiful Modern kitchen with white subway tile backsplash, quartz counters & black frame window. light wood shelves.

beautiful Modern kitchen with white subway tile backsplash, quartz counters & black frame window.

Summary: White Vs Black Windows

For centuries a home’s windows have been overwhelmingly white. The second most common is wood and occasionally we see some bolder colors. But white easily makes up over 90% of all window frames. In fact, these days almost every manufacturer offers all of their windows in default white direct from the factory. You generally have to ask for bare wood as an option because so few people buy them. But that’s changing. One of the hottest trends in home building and remodeling are black windows. Which inevitably creates the comparison of white vs black windows. Which is best? When do you use black windows instead of white? Which costs more? And are they right for your house?

Some see black windows as a fad, but personally, I love the look. They’re a modern sleek design that’s very different from white. They’re dramatic, bold and draw a lot of attention. Especially to a home with white siding. And they help define a few styles like Modern, Transitional and the Modern farmhouse look. But that doesn’t mean white windows are going out of style any time soon. Both are fabulous color choices that work with a variety of home styles. It’s really all about the style home your going for.

When choosing a window color and design, both choices heavily rely on two factors: what style of home you’re building and your personal preference. Colonial homes should have white windows, it’s a classic look that’s been a standard for centuries. But some homes look better with black frames. It all depends on the style of your home. It’s as simple as that. At least these days you have a few more options to choose from. 

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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