Why are Black Windows so Popular?
With the popularity of Fixer Upper, Selling Sunset, and countless other home-centered shows, it’s no wonder home trends have been changing faster than ever. While some trends, like smart home systems, have just become popular for the first time, many design trends have a long history of repeating themselves. Take the sleek black window look that has been showing up in modern homes from coast to coast. Where did this look come from and why are black windows so popular today?
What are black windows?
When we talk about black windows, we’re not talking about filthy, dirt-covered windows or overly-tinted glass. Black windows refer to windows with black window frames. While modern windows have previously only been available in wood and select colors (usually white or light shades), modern manufacturing and materials have allowed top window makers like Infinity from Marvin, Pella, and Andersen to offer black interior and exterior options for their window products.
A brief history of black windows
History, nostalgia, and style all play a part in what makes a trend come back and when it comes to black windows, there is a lot of history to uncover. Black windows have a long history stretching back to medieval Europe.
In those days, wrought iron, which is a dark-colored gray or black metal, was used for window construction materials. The window frames, often created by local blacksmiths, were works of art that added character while allowing extra light and ventilation into properties.
Because glass technology was limited at the time, only extremely wealthy property owners had glass in their windows. At the time, glass could not be produced in large sheets so metalworkers had to design a window frame that could hold multiple plans. This led to the design of glazing bars (also known as window grilles or grids or muntins) and the traditional diamond pattern seen on Tudor-style homes.
By the mid-1700s, iron windows had fallen out of style with the rich and fashionable of the day in favor of wooden window frames which were seen as more elegant. Instead, the black window style was adopted by religious buildings to create stained glass masterpieces and by those looking to secure buildings like banks, jails, and mental hospitals. This shift took the reputation of black windows from something fit for a king’s home to something fit for a prison.
It would be some time before black metal windows would regain popularity. Instead, starting in the 1700s, wooden windows gained popularity for their affordability, operability, and accessibility, as they could be assembled on-site without specialized metalworking skills. Here in the United States, wooden windows were often constructed with large grilles holding the panes of glass together to fill an opening. Homeowners and designers during this time would paint wooden window frames and grids black to match the dark interiors of homes in pre-indoor electricity days thereby minimizing their appearance.
This continued until the mid-1800s when technology allowed for reduced grille size. Homeowners then began to emphasize their windows by painting frames white to contrast with vivid red and yellow home siding colors.
White windows remained in popularity during the rest of the 19th and 20th centuries bolstered by the popularity of vinyl windows which were introduced in 1964. Vinyl windows were seen as a less expensive option that offered no maintenance and better efficiency but was only available in white and other light colors. This led to consumer demand for new materials and methods that could deliver these same benefits in a range of colors including black.
Why are black windows so popular today?
Black windows have made a strong comeback thanks to improved methods and materials. While black vinyl windows often expand and warp in the sun and metal frames can become dangerously hot to the touch, manufacturers like Infinity from Marvin have designed black fiberglass windows that eliminate these issues and offer the exceptional energy efficiency consumers expect. In fact, these fiberglass frames can withstand more heat with less expansion and contraction than other window materials making them ideal for homes with a lot of direct sun exposure.
In terms of design, homeowners choose black windows for their property to enjoy the modern, yet timeless look it creates. Black windows are made to be seen with the goal of framing your view so many homeowners and designers choose to choose minimal window treatments or forgo them altogether.
What style of home looks best with black windows?
For some homeowners, the idea of painting or replacing windows with a black frame look seems wild. Most modern homes are built with stained wood or white windows and the dramatic change can be hard to envision, but the design payoff can be significant. These are just a few cases where you should consider black windows for your home.
Homes with light-colored exteriors
Black windows set against a light-colored exterior like a white or cream-colored siding or brick gives properties of all styles a modern look. This works well for nearly any architectural style from colonial homes to farmhouses to bungalows.
Homes with picturesque views
Black window frames naturally draw focus and attention to the view from a room. Black windows are the perfect option for homes with mountain, city, or waterfront views to make the landscape feel like a part of the home.
Historic & historic-reminiscent homes
As a nod to history, black replacement windows are a perfect option in historical homes and many homes that have a “New Traditional” architectural style, including Colonial Revival, Classical, Tudor, French, Prairie, Craftsman, and others. Additionally, black windows can add an unexpected touch of class and luxury to ranch-style homes.
Is there a cost difference with black windows?
Generally speaking, colored window frames, including black window frames, are about 10-16% more expensive than white frame options. Some homeowners choose to skip paying a premium by painting white windows black, however, this effect often fades and begins to show its age after just a few years.
One thing homeowners should keep in mind when replacing old windows with black replacement windows is that black windows add an elegant look which can substantially improve your curb appeal and home value.
Conclusion: Final thoughts on black windows
What’s old is new again, at least when it comes to window trends. Black windows have come a long way from the wrought iron bars of yesteryear and transformed into maintenance-free, energy-efficient works of engineering and design.
Thinking about replacing your windows or wondering what black windows might look like in your home? For more than 40 years, Des Moines-area homeowners have relied on Nu-Vu for quality windows and siding with outstanding workmanship. Contact Nu-Vu today for a free replacement window consultation to learn more about your options.