Are Black Windows the Best Choice for Your New Build?

Williams & Sonoma

My first SOLD OUT Specify Colour with Confidence workshop of the Fall season just finished up last week. Dallas, Charleston and the second Vancouver course will be happening next.

Art gallery white walls and black windows were a hot topic during the class so I thought I’d write a post to thoroughly answer the question, how TRENDY are they?

Those of you who regularly read my blog will know by now that I approach choosing permanent elements like tile, countertops and backsplash from a classic perspective and exterior fixed elements are no exception.

If you’re thinking about installing black windows in your new house, you might have already noticed there isn’t a single article advising you on what to consider if you do choose black windows. Everyone just says, hooray, aren’t they fabulous?

And I’m not saying that in the right context they are not beautiful. However, I am saying they are not for every house and everyone.

So first, as long as black and white is TRENDY, which it will be for the next 10 years (the life cycle of a trend) all will be well.

You’ll build a new house, install black windows, paint the walls white and for a while you’ll be happy, maybe.

But what happens when down the road, you no longer want to decorate with black?

Your windows will still be a prominent part of the colour scheme.

Or what happens if you didn’t realize they would be so bossy and you don’t know how to decorate around them?

The other thing you need to consider is how will you cover them?

The minute you cover them with 2″ white blinds, it’s over. Now you have white wood blinds, hanging over your black windows and it gets busy. In fact, most black windows online were covered with black blinds, and that is certainly not going to work in every room in your home.

So drapes or roman shades (below) will look the best and that can get expensive. And they are simply not practical in every room.

Related post: 5 Reasons You Cannot Paint Your House Art Gallery White

Interior Design by Alicia Zupan

When I started writing this post I found an article about black windows written by a window manufacturer. They said one of the amazing features of black windows is that you can (and should) leave them UNCOVERED.

And why is this such a great idea? Help me understand? Who lives in a house with no window coverings?

Yet, the beautiful photos that we’re looking at on Pinterest are exactly that. Uncovered. Why? Because then you can see the black window, and that looks the best.

Via HGTV

Here’s the other issue with the black windows you’re in love with. Online, you’re looking at the beautifully decorated interiors AND exteriors. Created by designers. Interiors that have a look and a feel.

Those are the photos that get pinned OVER and OVER and OVER AGAIN. In fact, they are so heavily pinned (and many of them on link-bait sites), it’s impossible to find the actual source of most of them (believe me I tried).

The beautiful uncovered black windows are the ones that are pinned to your boards.

Go back and look at them right now, I’ll wait.

The average house with black windows that is not expensively built and decorated will look like this or this instead.

And wait, what about the exterior? If you choose the wrong windows, they will look like black holes.

Windows at the best of times, always look black ALREADY during the day (below).

via source

These windows are small (below), the architecture is beautiful and the window boxes are filled with white flowers. Here the black windows are working:

Via Bright and Beautiful

This photo has been taken at dusk (below). Have you ever gone for a walk in the early evening, before the sun sets when you can see inside people’s homes (because the lights are on and they haven’t closed the blinds or drapes yet?).

That’s what is happening here to make this photo look so great. You can even see the sun setting through the clouds in the second floor windows. This same house during the day will have black holes where the windows are:

If you look again at your most beautiful inspiration photos, they were taken with the lights on inside the house, or close enough so the photographer caught the trees reflecting in the windows.

via Pinterest

Image source

Image source

Image source

Since black windows in the interior of your house are so bossy, if you really love this look, I would keep it to the exterior of your home and still specify white (off-white or cream) for the inside.

And, if you’ve read all of the above and still want black windows, here is my best advice:

Keep the mullions super THIN

Love these, however,  notice AGAIN the lack of window coverings.

via Ryan Street and Associates

This image has been circulating for years! And again, it’s uncovered.

Apartment Therapy

If your windows are black, you need to repeat it in your decorating

Image source

via Design Sponge

via Atlanta Homes

Image source

Notice when the black is not repeated, it starts looking like the wrong colour choice:

Via Freshome

If you have a primarily earthy colour scheme in your interior or exterior, skip the black windows.

White and fresh goes with black. This house (below) is earthy.

source (this house will look wrong forever)

Earthy goes with cream. Trust me on this one.

My exterior webinar goes into this at great length, you can buy it here.

Leave your black windows uncovered

You might be in the luxurious position of living in the middle of nowhere. Or surrounded by privacy trees, or a courtyard?

As I’ve just said, most of the inspiration images online have UNCOVERED black windows.

Why?

Because they look the best that way.

Image source

Image source

The Design Atelier

If you subscribe to the ‘every room needs a hit of black’ then black windows might be for you, but choose them with care instead of just buying or specifying them because you love all the inspiration images you’re seeing.

Bottom line, if you do not plan to carefully decorate your home from top to bottom, I would re-consider installing a window in such a bossy colour, in the inside of your home anyway.

Over to you my lovelies, who’s installing black windows in your new build?

If you need help coordinating all your new build colours and finishes, we can help here.

Here is another fabulous class of True Colour Experts from my SOLD OUT Vancouver event last week.

We had new designers, experienced designers, homeowners who want to learn how to make informed colour choices every day themselves and homeowners working on new builds! Everyone can learn my System for Specifying Colour at the same time!

The Vancouver course in November 28 – 30 is also located on Robson Street at the Hampton Hotel on the same strip is all the shopping!

See the black windows (below)? And they sure are pretty when the lights reflect against the windows at dusk just like I mentioned in my post!

Register here for Dallas, Charleston and my second Vancouver course this Fall.

Related posts:

10 Steps for Planning Your New Build

5 Best Ways to Choose Your Roof Colour

Ask Maria: What Mood Does Black and White Convey, Warm or Cool?

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  1. What a great post! I’ve loved the look of black windows for awhile now. I have considered painting the inside of mine black, but I just couldn’t commit. Now I know my instinct has been leading me away from that. I will leave them the natural wood tone that fits my bungalow. As for the exterior, when I replaced the windows with architecturally appropriate ones, I used an wood aluminum clad, and chose a dark red for the aluminum. It looks amazing, and after 10 years I’m still very happy.

  2. I like black windows but I totally agree with they’re not for everyone, just like white interiors or dark interiors are not for everyone. I think the trouble is that most don’t realize that trends can inspire us. However, style is something that develops as we go along and adopt the trends that work for us. Personally, I’ve used many different window colors for clients of mine depending on the context. I think that’s the number one key element to start out with. Is it a traditional home in the countryside or a loft in the city? As long as choices are made bearing in mind the overall context, then very little can go wrong.

  3. When I read this post it immediately brought to mind this beautiful new build white stucco house with black steel windows in my neighborhood. It is (was) stunning but much to my chagrin when I passed by the house this weekend, EVERY window was obscured by inside white plantation shutters. So there is actually something worse than curtains for steel windows!