There’s no question that homeowners place a lot of thought into their window choices. After all, windows play a big role in the way a home looks and feels – both inside and out. Spacing, layout, size, and shape are factors that are typically considered when designing the windows on a home. But just as all these elements play a role in the overall aesthetic, window trim can add just as much excitement and energy to the finished look of a home.

While it may not sound flashy, exterior window trim is a tiny detail that can make a world of difference on a finished home. Affecting style, feel, and design continuity, the importance of getting exterior window trim right is often overlooked. But perfecting this detail goes far beyond a simple color choice. As you’ll see, there are many different ways to use exterior window trim ideas to create a lasting effect.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 17 unique exterior window trim design ideas, along with certain considerations to make when designing the unique look of your dream home.

Considerations When Choosing An Exterior Window Trim

There are essentially three elements to consider when selecting exterior window trim options: design, color, and trim style.

Exterior Window Trim Design – Design is one of those all-encompassing elements that can sometimes be hard to put your finger on. While some design is clearly categorized by recognizable features, like traditional trim or Victorian shutters, other designs are more difficult to describe and can often work well with a variety of architectural styles. Lines, edges, shaping, and continuity with other architectural features are all things to look out for when considering different exterior window trim designs.

Exterior Window Trim Color – While some homeowners like their exterior window trim, soffit, and front door to match to a tee, others like to take a more complementary approach by using the exterior window trim as an opportunity to create contrast with surrounding siding, doors, and other architectural features. Whether you’re choosing a similar color or a contrasting color, it’s important to keep overall tone in mind.

Exterior Window Trim Trim Style/Type – The third element that comes into play is the exterior window trim style or type. In many cases, this can be measured up by material choice. While vinyl and wood are classic favorites, alternative approaches to exterior window trim styles, like stone or mixed-media types, are also available.

17 Exterior Window Trim Designs Ideas

1. Thick Frame Exterior Window Trim

This classic look is made up of a thick, smooth border that visually frames windows in the same style as door frames, letter boxes, and other architectural details.

Match the exterior window trim with other elements, like porch banisters and ceiling paneling, for a clean, put-together look.

2. Color Play Exterior Window Trim

For a playful, whimsical look, experiment with different color combinations. Sometimes offsetting the exterior window trim with contrasting siding can create beautiful and unexpected charm that exudes energy. When experimenting with color, remember to pay attention to tone and warmth.

Colors carry very different hues, so simply picking ‘red’ or ‘blue’ isn’t going to cut it, as there can be an incredible amount of variation within each of these color categories.

3. Flared Angles Exterior Window Trim

Not all exterior window trim has the same uniform cut! Try a flared top to create visual intrigue and dimension. This approach works particularly well with white exterior window trim and on buildings that have unique angles already integrated into the architecture.

4. Siding Break Exterior Window Trim

Windows are often designed to align with larger aspects of architectural structure, such as along the roofline break.

For these particular layouts, exterior window trim can be effectively used as a transition or visual break between different exterior siding panels.

Whether working with a change in color or material type, extending the window trim line can help emphasize the siding break, making it appear clean and stylish.

5. Double Color Exterior Window Trim

Who said exterior window trim had to be limited to a single color? For some homes – especially those that feature additional ornamentation and detailed trim – sometimes using two colors can help embolden the overall look and impact of the home.

Consider the surrounding details, like soffit, banisters, railing, door frames, etc., when choosing a double color design for exterior window trim.

6. Lateral Layout Exterior Window Trim

Some homes feature strong linear designs, whether it be with additional trim that emphasizes vertical edges, shiplap siding, or horizontal brickwork. These homes can benefit from a simple, clean, lateral layout for exterior window trim, which complements the other structured components of the home’s exterior design.

7. Roofline Extension Exterior Window Trim

Create continuity by elongating the visual lines already set by rooftop features.

By matching style and color, a visual roofline extension that extends to the exterior window trim can create a put-together appearance that also helps the home appear slightly taller.

8. Uniting Mixed Media Exterior Window Trim

It’s not uncommon for modern homes to feature several different design elements and materials. In fact, piecing together stone, wood, and vinyl features has become a unique way for homeowners to create their own look. When working with a mixed-media exterior, the best way to approach exterior window trim is to consider it a bonding element that can provide visual structure for the otherwise complex dimension of the surrounding exterior. Selecting a simple design and classic color is often the best bet.

Selecting a simple design and classic color is often the best bet.

9. Window Box

Looking for a cozy, welcoming aesthetic that carries all the feelings of being home?

Including a window box as part of your exterior window trim layout can boost curb appeal and charm – not to mention provide a wonderful place for developing your green thumb. Consider anchoring the window box with complementary shutters or trim so that it appears balanced and natural.

10. Crosshatch Shutters Exterior Window Trim

There are many different shutter options that can complement exterior window trim. Crosshatch shutters provide incredible detail that adds an eye-catching aesthetic capable of exuding both antiquity and a modern vibe. Again, color is very important here, and you’ll want to consider setting a simple base trim that will serve as a strong backdrop for the crosshatch shutters.

Then, use a contrasting color to outline the segmentation, as needed. This can help emphasize the segmented frames while also providing a cohesive backdrop that fits naturally with surrounding siding.

11. Segmented Frames Exterior Window Trim

Even though the windows on a home may be segmented, the exterior window trim doesn’t necessarily have to conform to that same form. One approach is to fully extend the trim to encompass all of the windows with a subtle color similar to the siding.

12. Natural Infrastructure

For unique architecture that features windows set deeper within the structure, somewhat like an alcove, take advantage of the natural infrastructure to showcase the distinct beauty that the home has to offer. A brown wood trim works particularly well in homes that have exposed beams on the interior. By pulling elements of the interior into the exterior, this can create a seamless transition in overall aesthetic.

13. Postmodern Design Exterior Window Trim

While postmodern design elements can sometimes come across as shocking, other elements of postmodern design simply involve putting together a combination of elements that may not typically go together. When it comes to exterior window trim, this can be as simple as a wood trim complemented by brass detailing. Don’t be afraid to mix and match materials and styles – sometimes this approach results in the most beautiful results!

14. Supportive Visual Framing Design Exterior Window Trim

Another role of exterior window trim can be to provide visual framing for other elements of the architecture to shine. This is certainly the case when working with a home that features a striking rooftop design. Thin, simple trim that is matched with the soffit or roof can be a great choice.

15. Multi-Design Approach

More courageous homeowners looking for an eclectic aesthetic will appreciate a multi-design approach when it comes to exterior window trim.

Basic trim on one window and ornamental shutters on another may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually work very well when a home has dimensional distinction.

16. Interior/Exterior Connectivity

Blending the interior and exterior can be a top priority for homeowners who like to spend time outdoors.

One way to boost this seamless connectivity is to frame windows with trim that helps the space feel airy and expansive.

For example, smaller, segmented window panes above can help the larger frames on the bottom appear more open, creating a unique effect that makes the interior and exterior spaces feel more connected.

17. Stone Accent Exterior Window Trim

Finally, who said exterior window trim had to be wood or vinyl? Using stone is a wonderful way to accent the windows in a way that feels natural with the surrounding structure.

When using stone, be sure to distinguish the window trim by using an elongated design that separates the feature from the surrounding stone.

Create the Look You Want With Your Exterior Window Trim

When it comes to picking the perfect exterior window trim for your home, be sure to consider how you can use design, color, and trim style to create the look you want! Hire a professional to help plan your ideas and design the home of your dreams. It’s the little details like window trim that help make big picture visions become a reality.

lastly, If you’re interested in exploring more recent window designs, we recommend checking out our compilation of window design trends from 2019.

Editorial Contributors
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Elisabeth Beauchamp

Senior Staff Writer

Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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