6 Tips for Choosing the Best Color for Your Window Frames

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Color for Your Window Frames

November 28, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
Aluminum window frame dark color in modern kitchen

Whether you are building a new home or taking on a renovation, the number of choices you have and decisions to make throughout the process often seems endless. Selecting windows alone can be a formidable task. And just when you've nailed the perfect window size, type, and style, you find you have one more choice to make—color—specifically the window frame color. Many homeowners start to feel overwhelmed at this point. Do you go with something neutral and tried and true, or should you be a bit more adventurous? And how do you then coordinate the window frame color to your house color? 

Fortunately, brands like Milgard windows in San Diego offer an array of styles, colors, and designs to meet your needs. Here at US Window and Door, we can provide expert advice to help you pick out the best Milgard windows for your home. 

Here are six tips to help you navigate selecting a window frame color.

Use Eye-catching Colors to Highlight New Windows

Keep in mind that it's relatively easy and affordable to change paint colors, unlike windows—which are a much bigger investment. For this reason, we generally advise homeowners to pick a neutral hue for their window frames. Then, if you like fun, bold colors, you can go to town with your paint colors. Of course, for every design rule of mine, you should always be looking for opportunities to break it. There's something to be said for going for the unexpected—doing things a little differently from everyone else. So if you aren't afraid of color, go ahead and select a bolder hue for your window frames. If you go this route, though, you may want to keep the surrounding color neutral or in a similar color family as the frame. For example, a bold window frame color such as Milgard's Tuscany Series color Pea Pod would look fantastic with a medium-to-dark gray or dark green house color.

Consider the Climate and Environment

Perhaps your siding contractor told you to consider your surroundings when choosing the best paint color for your home. Well, the same goes for windows, too! If your home is located in a neighborhood, consider using your neighbors' home colors as inspiration. Or, if you're located in a rural area surrounded by lush foliage, consider using the greenery as inspiration for your color palette. 

You can also use the houses in your neighborhood to choose a window style too. Perhaps the homes in your area all have double-hung windows. It's usually best to complement or stick with the window styles in your community—this will make it easier to sell your home down the road.

Considering the climate, you live in before installing window frames is a wise decision. For instance, if you live in a dusty environment or along a dirt road, you may want to choose a taupe or tan-colored window frame to disguise dirt. Steer clear of white or black frames—they show dust and grime most quickly. If you live in an area that gets dusty or dirty easily, such as near a freeway or an active construction site, keep in mind that grays and taupes in mid-tones (i.e., not too light; not too dark) camouflage dirt best. White and other light colors, as well as black and dark colors, tend to show dust and dirt the most. So your best bet to camouflage dirt and grime is to go with Milgard's Fog or Harmony in the TuscanySeries or Tan, Silver, or Light Grey from the Premium Vinyl line.

milgard windows in sunny san diego

Living in a hot environment like San Diego, you may want to choose a light-colored window frame to save on energy bills. Dark colors absorb heat more quickly than light colors, so white or tan window frames will keep your home cooler for longer.

If you live in the urban hustle and bustle, there is probably a lot of dust and grime in the air. Both very light and very dark tones show grime. Mid-tones may be the way to go to disguise that grime. In very hot climates, even the most energy-efficient vinyl windows will undermine your energy efficiency if their dark coloration absorbs beaucoup sunlight and transmits it inside your house. White and light shades won't absorb heat or fade as quickly as darker colors.

Either Blend In or Stand Out, Not Both

Do you want your new replacement windows to pop? Or do you want them to blend seamlessly into your home's exterior? This decision will impact the color of your window frames.

If you'd like to make your windows stand out, choose a bold, vibrant color. If you'd like your windows to blend in, choose a color that's similar to your siding. Or, you may opt for a combination of both. In this case, you'd likely want to choose contrasting colors for windows with unique architectural features and matching colors for smaller windows with simple styles.

When thinking about curb appeal, you need to remember that in most cases, your house doesn't stand alone. It's part of a larger neighborhood unit. You want it to stand out a little, but you don't want it to stick out like a sore thumb. So take a look at the colors used in your neighbors' windows. It's almost always a good idea to find something that complements rather than clashes. The exception, of course, is when your neighbors have done something a little wild or crazy.

When thinking about window frame colors, consider whether you want the frames to blend in or stand out. White and other light shades tend to highlight the window and call attention to the architectural elements. Dark shades, on the other hand, tend to blend in more with the glass, which creates a visually smooth appearance. But keep in mind that these are not the only options. Milgard Windows, for example, has a number of custom colors available and, in many cases, can color match your needs. So, for unique or custom homes, another color might be the best option.

Shades of tan and beige ruled as the go-to neutrals up until a few years ago when cooler hues, especially cool neutrals, became popular. Gray is having its moment in the spotlight as the new neutral but handsome shades of black and navy are also great choices. Milgard's Fog, Evening Sky, and Black Bean, or Bronze, Light Grey, or Silver from the Premium Vinyl line would look sharp with pretty much any house color.

Consider the Color and Style of the House

The biggest challenge to planning vinyl window frame colors is knowing what will work with your current plan. You want your windows to work in harmony with your decor, not undermine it.

Here are some rules of thumb to start with:

  • Contrasting windows work with rustic or traditional decore. Consider a warm, home-spun cinnamon trim to set off soothing taupe walls.
  • Modern color palates often blend together seamlessly. If urban chic is what the doctor ordered, pick tones close to each other but different enough to invoke tech-forward subtlety.

Once you've nailed down a color, you'll want to consider the perfect window style for your home. The best way to do this is to stick with your home's current architecture. For instance, if you have a Modern home, you may opt for the clean lines that casement or picture windows offer. Or, for a Farmhouse, you may choose to install popular double-hung windows. 

If your design style veers toward traditional, consider window trim colors that contrast with the house color. For example, try pairing Milgard's Style Line Vinyl Series color Cinnamon with a medium taupe house color for a colorful update to a traditional palette. Fans of modern and contemporary design will want a look that is less busy and ornamental and should go for window trim colors that blend in with the surrounding wall color. Try pairing Milgard's Premium Exterior Vinyl in Silver with a similar gray house color that is a few notches lighter or darker for a clean, contemporary look.

Create and Work with a Color Palette for Your Home

Your home's current color palette is a great place to start when choosing a shade for your window frames—especially if you already love your siding or paint color. Since your window frames should enhance the color of your home, the shade you choose should fall within the same color palette as your home. Thankfully, your existing color palette is simple to determine. It falls within one of two categories—warm colors or cool colors.

Warm Color Palette

A warm color palette includes shades of red, orange, yellow, brown, and tan. Typically, warm colors are popular with traditional home styles. Earth tone and tan shades look great with warm home exteriors.

window frames in neutral and warm window colors

Cool Color Palette

A cool color palette includes shades of green, blue, purple, and gray. Typically, cool colors are popular with modern home styles. Gray and white shades complement cool homes beautifully.

For those who are easily overwhelmed by a large number of color choices available, a foolproof way to coordinate your window frame and wall and décor colors are to limit yourself to either a warm or a cool palette. A warm palette would include shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown, and your coordinating window frame colors would be Natural Crème, Rattan, Tweed, Cinnamon, Classic Brown, and Bark in the Tuscany Series and Tan, Espresso, Chocolate, and Taupe from the Premium Vinyl line. A cool palette includes shades of green, blue, purple, and gray, and your coordinating window frame colors would be Fog, Pebble, Pea Pod, Fern, and Evening Sky, or Silver or Light Grey from the Premium Vinyl line. I find warmer palettes tend to give a more traditional feel while cool palettes feel more modern. White and black window frame colors work well with all design styles.

Be Cautious About Following Color Trends

Keeping your home looking current is usually a good idea, but be very wary of falling for trends when it comes to your window colors – both inside and out. Windows are expensive to replace, so the color you choose will likely be there for a very long time. Tastes may change, but your windows won't, but as long as you take the style of the home into account and choose something complimentary, you won't have any regrets.

Get Help From Window Experts at US Window & Door

If you still need some extra help choosing the perfect window style and color for your home, we're happy to walk you through the process. Our team at US Window and Door has helped hundreds of homeowners across San Diego add curb appeal to their homes with beautiful, reliable replacement windows from Milgard Windows. Schedule a free in-home estimate* to get started today!