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Get Into Detail: 5 Exterior Window Trim Ideas to Enhance Your Home

posted on September 01, 2021 in Global Blogs

Brick home with thick, brown exterior window trim

It’s well-established that windows are one of many ways to boost your curb appeal. They add color, style and character that’s easy to spot from the street.

As you step closer to a home, you start to appreciate all the little things that make it unique — things you might not notice from the curb.

Things like exterior window trim.

What You Can Add With Exterior Window Trim

Windows bring so many benefits to the interior of your home, that it’s easy to forget about exterior advantages beyond curb appeal. Exterior trim helps frame the window to give more definition. It adds architectural detail and creates design continuity. And it provides accents to round out your home’s color scheme

Exterior window trim is not something every home has, making it a unique way to add character to the outside of the house. So if you appreciate the details, there are a number of ways to finish your windows with outside trim.

Modern home with black-framed windows with thick trim

1. Create a bolder border around your windows.

Window trim is like a frame around the frame. When you use the same color for the frame and the trim, it creates a thicker, more dramatic casing around the window. Use this same tone-on-tone tactic around your entry door for a cohesive look across every opening.

White home with dark, decorative exterior window trim

2. Make colors pop.

On the flip side, you can use a different color on the outside window trim to create contrast. This idea can be used in two different ways: to make your windows stand out or to add eye-catching accents to your home’s color palette. For example, black windows with white trim highlight the modern look of the windows because the trim itself fades into the neutral siding. In a Victorian-style home, trim accents help create the vibrant look that makes these homes so unique.

White windows with square grilles and decorative exterior trim

3. Add decorative elements to your exterior window trim.

Traditional styles have long featured more ornate window trim on the inside of the home. You may have seen layered window sills, crown molding or intricately-designed trim that matches the woodwork.

You have similar window trim options on the exterior. There are a variety of standard styles to get the look you want: 

  • Brickmould – A thick trim often seen on brick homes, brickmould has a small ledge that juts out and then angles back toward the frame. It comes in different sizes so you can choose a small, thin brickmould or a taller, more prominent one that creates a chunkier trim. Some styles of brickmould include multiple ledges that look like a miniature staircase leading down to the window. 
  • Rounded trim – Curves bring a softer, more elegant look to the window trim. Some exterior trim options are so round that they are almost a circle. Most others have a small, rounded bump extending away from the frame or an additional thin, straight-edged ledge for a varied style.
  • Crown molding – Always popular on the interior, crown molding can be added above your windows, too. It’s more decorative than other options, featuring more cuts of straight edges and curves.
  • Window sills – If you know your window anatomy, you know that sills are actually only on the exterior of windows. There are performance benefits of a sill like energy efficiency, protection from water and structural integrity. But window sills are an optional part of the trim that give you more decorative space for plants, flowers and furnishings. 

Custom exterior window trim is also an option if you want a look all your own.

Craftsman home with detailed exterior window trim

4. Complete your home’s architectural style.

Many home styles use decorative window trim inside and out. So there may be a specific exterior trim option you need in order to get every architectural detail just right:

  • Craftsman-style exterior window trim emphasizes clean, simple lines. The trim is wide and thick to match the thick columns on the front porch and the wide eaves of the rooflines on Craftsman homes.
  • Ranch exterior window trim has little embellishment in comparison. Lower trim profiles create naturally flowing lines that don’t distract from the large horizontal windows typically used in Ranch-style homes. 
  • Colonial-style exterior trim features a flat casing with a crown and sill, styled with a mix of angles and curves. Colonial-style homes often use double-hung windows in groups, so the trim helps accentuate the characteristic window combinations.

Poolside exterior of modern home with outside window trim

5. Stick with simple exterior window casing.

You don’t have to choose decorative or architectural detail. Exterior window trim can be flat, too. No details — just like an extension of the window frame. And the flat window casing can be small or tall, depending on how thick of a border you want to create around your windows.

Simple, flat exterior trim is great for contemporary or modern homes — especially designs that mix materials or textures for the siding. The beauty is in the simplicity. A simple window trim style in a classic color like black or white provides a nice contrast from the large window openings and natural textures of modern and contemporary design.

How to Select the Right Exterior Window Trim

There are probably more exterior window trim options than you ever knew existed! But there are still more things to consider. Outside window trim is available in many different materials, including low-maintenance aluminum, durable PVC, cost-effective vinyl and protected wood. Each trim material is available in certain styles, which may be limited by the window material you choose.

So this is definitely an area where it’s worth talking to an expert to understand all your options and know which are available to you with each window style. A Pella professional can fill you in on all the details so you can get every feature right in your home’s design.

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*Study of homeowner perceptions of leading national brands. Study commissioned by Pella, 2021.