10 Exterior Window Trim Ideas to Give Your Home a Finished Look

Exterior window trim goes around the outside of windows, covering the gap between the window and siding. While it serves a practical purpose, it can also be decorative.

There are many materials, thicknesses, and window trim styles, and what you choose can boost curb appeal, giving your house a more finished look. Exterior window trim is also great for adding color and highlighting windows.

Exterior window trim

If you’re unsure what to install, here are the most common types of exterior window trim, plus ten styling ideas.

What Kind of Material Can You Use for Exterior Window Trim?

The most common exterior window trim materials include solid wood, fiber cement, vinyl, and engineered wood. The top wood species are weather-resistant cedarwood and redwood. One of the most popular fiber cement trim options is Hardie Board, from the brand James Hardie.

What is the Longest Lasting Exterior Window Trim?

Wood and fiber cement window trim can last up to 50 years but require maintenance and painting every 5-15 years. Vinyl window trim doesn’t last as long but is maintenance-free.

Here’s the average lifespan of exterior window trim, based on material:

  • Fiber cement trim – up to 50 years but must be painted every 10 to 15 years
  • Wood trim – up to 50 years, but needs repainted every five years
  • Vinyl/PVC – 20 – 50 years depending on manufacturer, maintenance-free

Common Exterior Window Trim Styles

Most manufacturers offer brickmould and flat exterior window trim. But, depending on the brand, you can find many more options, like craftsman style, ranch style, and decorative millwork.

Here’s an overview of the two most common window trim styles:

  • Brickmould – Brickmould is a standard interior and exterior choice for traditional homes. It gives windows a picture-frame look and has decorative grooves.
  • Flat- Flat casing is a contemporary choice but can work for classic homes, depending on the color and size. It features straight, clean lines and comes in many thicknesses. 

10 Exterior Window Trim Ideas to Accent Your Home

There’s no limit on exterior window trim ideas. You can customize the color scheme, thickness, and style. Here are some examples.

Create High-Contrast with Black and White

Create High-Contrast with Black and White

If you want to add a modern touch to the exterior of your home, consider a high-contrast black-and-white scheme. These designers chose a white trim with a black frame, making the windows a focal point. The window trim style is flat, adding a contemporary look.

Make Your Frames Look Thicker with Tone on Tone

Make Your Frames Look Thicker with Tone on Tone
JB Architecture Group, Inc.

These homeowners chose a white window frame with white trim, making the frames look thicker. Not only is this style simple, but it gives the home a clean look and makes the windows feel more substantial.

Match Your Trim to Other Details on Your Home

Match Your Trim to Other Details on Your Home
Sicora Design/Build

If you have small architectural details on your home, consider painting your exterior window trim the same color. Doing this makes the design look intentional. If you want to use a second color, pick a complementary shade.

Complement Your Home Style

Complement Your Home Style
In the D Construction LLC

For historic homes, like this Tudor-style, stick with a classic design. The owners of this house added a dark brown window trim over the brown window frames. If you live in a historic home, look at window trim examples of similar-style houses.

Accent with Shutters

Accent with Shutters
Polhemus Savery DaSilva

Shutters add extra detail to your windows. In this house, the white window frame matches the exterior trim, and the shutters draw your eye. You can use functional or decorative shutters to achieve a similar look.

Highlight Your Windows with an Unexpected Color

Highlight Your Windows with an Unexpected Color
North Construction & Restoration

Rather than using a standard black, white, or brown, consider highlighting your windows with a bold color. On this home, the green exterior window trim complements the siding’s red undertones. To achieve a similar look, use the color wheel to find a complementary color to your home’s siding.

Use Window Trim Color to Add Character to an All-White House

Use Window Trim Color to Add Character to an All-White House

Bring life to an all-white house with colorful trim. These homeowners chose a pale blue-gray color, which gives the home a classic feel. Consider gray, brown, or black if you have an all-white house and don’t want something distinctive. While neutral, these colors break up the white and add interest.

Try an Unexpected Color Scheme

Try an Unexpected Color Scheme
Ty Evans, Windermere Real Estate/BI, Inc.

Try a unique color scheme if you’re not afraid of going bold. These homeowners chose a red frame and trimmed it with green boards. While this is a classic Christmas color combo, the beige siding prevents the home from looking holiday-like. 

Keep it Classic with White

Play with Color
Michaelson Homes LLC

If you want the most simple and classic window trim idea, choose white window frames and white trim. The white on white is classic and clean. It works well on all house colors except white. If your house is white, you can still use white frames but consider a different trim color.

Play with Color

Play with Color

If you’re not afraid to go bold, pick an unexpected color. The window trim on these two matching cabins is the same style but in different vibrant shades. Since window trim is an accent, it’s a great place to try new colors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Do all windows need exterior trim?

Window trim covers the gap between the siding and the window. You need it, or else water and pests will gain entry into the siding of your home. 

What’s the best exterior window trim material?

The best exterior window material depends on the type of home you have. For example, vinyl is the most durable, but it doesn’t match the looks of all homes. If you need wood trim, consider using cedar wood as it resists rot and moisture damage better than most species.

Where can you purchase exterior window trim kits?

You can purchase exterior window trim kits from window manufacturers and most home improvement stores.

What are the best simple exterior window trim ideas?

The most simple exterior window trim is a flat exterior casing in white.

What is the best modern exterior window trim?

If you want your home to look modern, find an exterior window trim with straight, clean lines. Then use a color that complements or contrasts your house. Black is the most popular modern exterior window trim color.

What is another word for exterior window trim?

Another word for exterior window trim is casing. WIndow casing goes around the edge of windows, and most window manufacturers sell it.

Can you paint exterior window trim?

You can paint wood and fiber cement exterior window trim. Painting vinyl is more complex and doesn’t always turn out well. Paint that’s on vinyl often chips and peels over time.

Final Thoughts

Exterior window trim can help set your home apart. If you want a classic design, choose a white trim and white window frames. If you’re after modern, try dark brown or black.

Remember, the material is just as important as the style. While vinyl window trim will stand up to the elements, it doesn’t match every exterior. You can also choose from wood, engineered wood, and fiberglass cement. Keep up with maintenance for whichever product you pick.