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Using Window Frame Finishes to Add Style

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Given their primary function—to let bright natural light inside—many people don’t think beyond basics when selecting windows. If and how they operate and whether they have divided lites are the most common stylistic concerns, but there’s more you can personalize. Window frame finishes, and by extension the trim/casing, also contribute to style. There are plenty of options, with a variety of interior and exterior finishes offered straight from the manufacturer and frame materials that allow you to customize the finish onsite. Here’s how you might use different frame finishes!

Marvin Ultimate OXXO Glider

White is crisp and classic, and it makes this Marvin® Ultimate Glider OXXO window with divided lites the perfect choice for a modern farmhouse. If you’re going for a light and bright scheme, white window frames will definitely support that!

Define with White

White is the most common trim color homeowners choose for their façades and interiors, and white window frames naturally extend that style. By highlighting the windows—especially those with divided lites—this way, you can give them a crisp finish that draws the eye to their construction, and by extension, the whole architectural picture. No matter the color of the house, white window frames will grab attention.

As with any other aspect of design, window frame colors are often associated with particular styles. And although white is extremely adaptable and you’ll find it used on all sorts of homes, it is practically requisite for a few types. Classic farmhouses and simple colonials look their best when their divided lite windows—the only way they came, back in the day—pop. Whether against the relatively dark interior when viewed from outside or against lush, colorful surroundings when looking out, white provides contrast that frames your view through the windows.

Integrity windows and patio doors

With a dark finish inside and out, the Marvin Elevate windows and patio doors on this home contrast beautifully against the white walls for a formal European aesthetic. Dark frames add definition and preserve the clean look of the design.

Go Classic or Bold with Color

If white stands out too much for your liking, try a darker hue. The effect can be wildly different inside and out; as most interior walls are painted in light colors, dark window frames make a bold statement in contrast, but they tend to blend into the windows when seen from outside. Black frames are striking against white walls—a fitting combination for contemporary homes—while dark brown looks lovely with practically anything—paint, stucco, brick, etc. You’ll find dark window frames favored for formal styles of homes, including everything from European designs to luxury urban townhouses.

You can also set your home apart with something unexpected—colorful window frames. The easiest way to execute this on the exterior is by matching the color of the trim, which is usually dark blue or green if it isn’t some shade of white or brown. Deep green and red look great when set off against medium to dark wood siding, if you’re working with a rustic home. There are plenty more options, of course; consult with a professional to ensure you create a balanced picture.

Integrity Wood-Ultrex Double Hung Window

Choose a wood interior if you want to stain your window frames to the perfect rustic tone. You can match the frame and the surrounding trim for a beautiful look like on this Marvin Elevate Double Hung Window, or bring it out even further with matching wood paneling or furniture pieces.

Stay Rustic with Wood Tones

If you have a home that plays up the natural aspect, you’ll love sticking to wood interiors. Not only can you choose from a variety of wood species, but you can also stain the frames to fit your vision. Keep them light and casual or dark and refined—you can achieve whatever effect you want while still maintaining a rustic vibe with the underlying wood grain pattern and tonal variation. Just remember that exterior wood frames have fallen out of favor due to wearing and maintenance concerns; try a matching paint color instead, or give them a totally different personality from the outside!

A wood interior is perfect for Craftsman and traditional Southwest homes, both of which put a focus on natural materials. Of course, it also works well for mountain and lake homes, which give a nod to their rustic environment no matter their main architectural style. These frames amp up the perceived built-in factor of the window feature, providing an almost furniture-quality feel. That might sound bizarre, but once you see wood frames in action, you’ll believe it.

When it comes time to choose windows for your home, check out Marvin! They offer a large catalog to serve all needs, and you can select from a variety of interior and exterior factory finishes or a primed surface so you can customize your window frame finish onsite. Find a local dealer to discuss the possibilities!