11 Window trim colors to elevate your home's exterior – experts pick the best shades for curb appeal

Which are the best window trim colors to improve your home's exterior? Design and color experts pick their favorites

three exterior images showing window trims
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore/Kaminski + Pew)

What do we mean by window trim? For the purposes of this feature, we're considering window frames, ledges, surrounds, in fact, anything around the windows.

When you're choosing an exterior color scheme all these window details on a house are generally treated as a whole and painted the same color. But choosing the right window trim colors to elevate your home's exterior paint ideas can be complicated. That's why we've been taking a careful look at the options and have asked design and architecture experts for their tips on making the right choice of window trim colors to elevate your home's exterior. 

Which window trim colors will elevate a home's exterior? 

Anyone who follows window design closely (ok, so that's just us then) will have seen a dramatic shift in design and color over the past 15 years or so. From a classic white painted wooden frame, we've seen white uPVC take over, followed by gray frames, black steel frames reminiscent of art deco design, and lately the rise in popularity of softer shades of green and beige. 

All of these window trim colors are still very much in evidence and, used in the right way, all can play their part in elevating a home's exterior. We've asked the color experts to share their favorite shades, and explain how they can do wonders for your home's curb appeal. 

1. Choose smart gunmetal gray

home exterior with white walls, gray door and window frames and two gray chairs on porch

(Image credit: EDGEiD/The Homestead Resort)

This is a look we've seen all over new builds and big renovations in the past 10 years. Dark gray window trims create a tailored look, with a contemporary twist. Decorating with gray works well for exteriors as a contrast with either white stucco walls or, as here, white painted clapboard, the gray trims cut an even sharper profile. Add in the softest of gray roof tiles, with matching porch pillars and you're on to a winner. 

2. Try black for heritage-style homes 

Maestri Studio lakewood house painted in SW with accent trim

(Image credit: Jennifer McNeil Baker, Maestri Studio)

Black trim is a great choice for heritage homes, particularly Mediterranean revival-style homes like this one from Maestri Studio, where Sherwin Williams 7069 Iron Ore gives real definition to the exterior trim and showstopping windows. And in case you're wondering what colors go with black besides the obvious white, the answer is pretty much any other color, since black is a neutral. 

'Black window frames are something we have seen grown in popularity over the past few years,' says Arianna Barone, color marketing manager at Benjamin Moore. 'With those, people often opt for black window trim or white. You’ll want to think about the scale of your windows and how they work in proportion to your house.'

3. Go for classic white, but which white...

exterior of house in east hamptons


White window trim may be a familiar old favorite but it's got the kind of effortless appeal of a true classic and looks equally good in a coastal setting with stone exterior walls and ocean blue front door, as here, as it does with a red brick exterior or clapboard home. 

'A white-painted trim is always an option for a classic look,' agrees Arianna Barone of Benjamin Moore, but explains the nuances of the many different white shades. 'You can go bright and clean with Super White OC-152 or soft and subtle with Steam AF-15. A white-painted trim gives you a wide range of options when it comes to door colors. When choosing trim and door colors, be sure to take into consideration the siding color as well. This helps to create a cohesive look. If your siding color leans cooler, opt for cooler white paint colors like White Heron OC-57 or Decorator’s White OC-149. For warmer siding colors, try warmer off-whites like Cloud White OC-130 and Simply White OC-117.

'For white painted-trim, I consistently reach for Super White OC-152, White Dove OC-17 or White Down OC-131. These colors are versatile and provide a lot of options when it comes to exterior accent colors. For lighter exterior colors, brighter white paint colors, like Super White OC-152, give good contrast to the lighter hues. With darker exteriors, choosing softer white trim colors, like White Dove OC-17 and White Down OC-131, can create a more subtle color flow.'

All of which goes to show there's a lot more to white window trim than meets the eye! 

4. Go for a calming pale green

window trim color salisbury green by Benjamin Moore

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

A relatively new kid on the block for window trims but growing increasingly popular, pale green reflects the calm, cool shades of the natural world. 'Pale green window trims can elevate a home's exterior yet also anchor it firmly in its surroundings,' says our editor Jennifer Ebert. 'It's an easy color to use, and an easy color to love.'

The shade pictured above is Benjamin Moore's Salisbury Green, which is is perfect on-trend pale green.

5. Use earthy gray-brown shades to great effect

house exterior with redbrick and gray windows

(Image credit: Rebecca McAlpin)

Kevin Kaminski and Alexis Pew, founders of architecture and interior design firm Kaminski + Pew designed the rear addition to the historic Philadelphia home, pictured above. 

For anyone wondering how to decorate with earthy tones, and perhaps considering a gray-brown tone for window frames and trims like this, it's worth noting how well the shade works with red brick, and also how it helps the addition to blend with the existing building as well as subtly highlighting the new section.

When choosing an exterior color scheme for a new home or addition the architects say it's important to consider the whole scheme, not just the window trim in isolation: 'What are the materials of the existing building and the neighboring properties? Is it set in the desert, the forest, city?' says Kevin. 'Our goal is to find balance and harmony with the setting and the overall design before developing the material palette. We often incorporate natural materials - brick, stone, copper, etc. - into the design so the material selections from the base of the composition and paint becomes the accent. Paint can enhance design elements or allow a space to be more recessive.'

6. Keep it simple with a natural wood trim

stone house exterior with path trees and brown wooden shutters

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

When a home's aesthetic is all about natural stone and earthy natural colors, wooden window trims are the natural choice. 

Here, dark wood window trims enhance the golden hues of the stonework, with rustic shutters to finish the look. Sure, it's understated but it brings with it the heritage of farmhouse style to elevate the home's look, 

7. Buy into beige, for a clean cut and sophisticated style

window trim color gray owl benjamin moore

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

If you're a fan of shades at the paler end of the color card, this next option, surely one of the best beige paints, is for you. 

'Softer colors, like Gray Owl OC-52, offer a subtle contrast when paired with white exteriors, as shown in the image. Although it is a quieter color palette, by flipping the typical color placement and putting the darker color on the trim, it creates a more modern look,' explains Arianna Barone. 

8. Experiment with cream in different finishes

house exterior with gable and white render

(Image credit: Jennifer Hughes)

Use a calm, smart cream shade and it can give a very elevated look to the home's exterior, that's very now. Take it a stage further, mixing semi gloss and satin finishes and there's no reason why you shouldn't use the same color across the whole exterior, including stucco, doors, window frames, and trim.

As Wayne Adams, principal of BarnesVanze Architects, explains: 'Lately, a monolithic look for the home exterior color has been working well, but with a different finish (sheen) between the main body of the house and the window trim,' he says. 'The windows and trim would have a slightly glossier sheen (semi-gloss sheen) to that of the body of the house.'  

9. Pick out just a hint of blue

White painted cottage exterior

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

When considering how to paint a house exterior, doors, windows, and trims can make a big impact, particularly with a whitewashed thatched cottage like this. Soft gray-blue is a great choice to elevate the look of white walls. Sherwin Williams Moonmist is a similar shade and would work just as well in a coastal setting as in a rural home. We love the combination of white exterior walls and blue paint, but since the shade is so soft it will look good with sidings in other shades too. 

10. Commit to a strong, deep green – one of the new neutrals

window trim color Mohegan Sage

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Looking for something a little different in a window trim color to elevate your home's exterior? Look no further, Benjamin Moore's Mohegan Sage, used for the house pictured above, is one of the best dark green paints. These darker shades are so close to black that they act as neutrals, but with a whole new level of sophistication. 'For a bolder trim color, I like Onyx, Black Bean Soup, and Mohegan Sage. Pair these deeper hues with softer exterior colors for maximum contrast to highlight the exterior’s architectural details,' advises Arianna Barone. 

11. Throw caution to the wind – choose a wildcard red

contemporary home in snow with timber finish

(Image credit: Spacecrafting)

Decorating with primary colors is challenging at the best of times, and although bright red isn't a popular choice around windows and won't work for every exterior in this woodland setting and with the dark exterior of the rest of the home, it makes a bold statement that truly does elevate the home.

Kristine Anderson, managing principal and designer at PKA Architecture  explains how she arrived at the unusual color. 'The surroundings played a big role in this exterior, as the home intertwined with the landscape. The home was about creating something that blends with nature yet can withstand the elements. To bring some color fun to the exterior, the windows are a poppy red. In the summer, the structures blend away in the deep woods it lives in, and in the winter, they are lovely objects in the snow.'

And we can't say fairer than that. Choose smart shades, calm colors, perfect palettes for your window trim, but above all have fun with them. If the colors appeal to you and work well with the rest of your home, then you're already part of the way there, 

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for homesandgardens.com and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.