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What color should exterior window sills be?

Choosing the right color for your home’s exterior window sills can really enhance the look and feel of your home’s exterior. The color you select for the window sills should complement the overall color scheme of your home’s exterior while also being practical and durable. When selecting a color, there are a few key factors to consider including the style of your home, the main exterior color(s), the window frame color, and geographic location/exposure to elements. Taking the time to carefully consider these factors will help you land on just the right color for a beautiful, pulled-together look.

Complement the Home’s Style

One of the most important considerations when choosing a window sill color is selecting a hue that complements the architectural style of your home. Here are some recommended sill color options for common home exterior styles:

Home Style Recommended Window Sill Colors
Colonial White, black, deep red, navy, forest green
Farmhouse White, light gray, tan, pale blue
Victorian White, tan, olive green, burgundy
Cottage White, light blue, sage green, pale yellow
Tudor Tan, taupe, slate gray, dark red
Mediterranean Earth tones like terracotta, light yellow, sage green
Contemporary White, black, gray

As you can see, white window sills look great with just about any home style, since white serves as a classic, neutral backdrop. For homes with an inherently colorful or busy exterior, like Victorian, choosing white sills helps anchor the look. For more modern, streamlined styles like contemporary, black or gray sills complement the aesthetic nicely.

Coordinate with Exterior Colors

In addition to complementing the overall home style, your window sill color should coordinate well with the exterior colors that are already established on the home.

If your home exterior is painted in cool-toned colors like gray, blue, or sage green, opt for a sill color within the same color family, such as light blue, dove gray, or pale sage green. This will create a cohesive, pulled-together aesthetic.

For warm-toned exteriors in tan, peach, yellow, or terra cotta, consider sills in coordinating warm shades like cream, light sand, pale yellow, or terra cotta.

Homes painted in vibrant jewel tones like navy, eggplant, or forest green can be nicely balanced out with white or black window sills.

Red brick exterior homes look great with white, black, tan, or gray sills.

The most foolproof approach is choosing a window sill color that is already featured in your home’s exterior color palette. For example, if the exterior is painted gray with white trim, white or light gray sills will seamlessly tie the look together.

Consider the Window Frame Color

The existing color of your window frames is another important factor when selecting the right sill color. You’ll typically want to make sure the sill color complements but doesn’t exactly match the window frame color.

For example, white window frames with bright white sills can look too washed out. Instead, opt for an off-white or ever-so-slightly darker white to add contrast.

Black window frames should be paired with a slightly lighter black or gray for the sills so it doesn’t look too harsh.

For painted window frames in a shade like navy, forest green, or burgundy, the best practice is to paint the sills white or black to create contrast. Matching the sills exactly to the window frame color often looks somewhat off.

Think about the overall balance of contrast and whether matching or clashing the sill color with the window frames creates the look you’re going for. Most often, a complementary but slightly different shade is ideal.

Factor in Geographic Location

Where you live can also come into play when selecting an ideal window sill color. The regional climate and typical weather patterns in your area will influence which sill colors hold up best over time.

In very warm climates that get a lot of direct sun exposure and no snow, lighter sill colors like white, cream, tan, light gray, and pale blue tend to withstand fading. Darker more vibrant sills in those sunny environments can fade more rapidly.

In cooler climates with more precipitation and freezing temperatures, darker richer sill colors often hold up better over time than lighter pastel shades. Deep greens, slate grays, and darker blues help the sills pop against snowy backdrops in chilly weather.

Homes situated in rainy, humid climates benefit from sills painted in mildew-resistant hues that won’t easily show water damage. White and cream sills stain easily with water marks in these damp environments. Better options are tan, gray, slate blue, and sage green which help disguise moisture damage.

Consider your region’s climate and weather patterns when weighing which hills colors will look fresh longest.

The Best All-Around Exterior Window Sill Color Choices

While your home’s specific style, color scheme, window frames, and location should all factor in, there are a few universally versatile sill color options that work well in nearly any scenario:

– White – Crisp, bright white sills look gorgeous against virtually any exterior and provides a clean contrast against colored window frames. White does require more frequent touch-ups though.

– Light Gray – An alternative to white, light gray provides similar crisp contrast and pairs beautifully with white, black, or gray exteriors. Easier to keep clean than bright white.

– Cream/Ivory – Warmer and softer than white, cream and ivory sills complement a variety of color schemes and show dirt less. Can look dingy against very white exteriors though.

– Slate Gray/Blue – Darker and moodier than true gray, slate gray or blue sills provide nice contrast against lighter exteriors. Hide scuffs better than white.

– Black – Nothing makes window frames pop more than contrasting black sills. Works with any style home and many color schemes. Can look harsh if the exterior is already very dark though.

– Tan/Khaki – More subtle than white but lighter than wood tones, tan and khaki blend in well against a variety of exteriors while adding a natural earthy feel.

Keep in mind that darker sills will make the windows look smaller and lighter sills make them appear larger, so factor in your window proportions when choosing between dark and light colors.

Choosing Paint Finish

When selecting exterior paint for window sills, opt for durable finishes designed to withstand the elements. Satin and semi-gloss finishes are good options that help repel water while still being easy to clean.

Flat and matte paint finishes should be avoided for exterior sills, since they stain easily and struggle to withstand precipitation and humidity. Glossy finishes are very durable but can create glare and visually magnify imperfections in the sill surface.

In addition to finish, make sure to use only 100% acrylic latex paint or another exterior-rated product designed specifically for high-traffic and exposed areas like windowsills. The product specs should indicate it is mold/mildew resistant and provides maximum UV protection to prevent fading.

Applying multiple coats will also ensure a longer-lasting, even finish on your sills. Use painter’s tape for clean edges and avoid painting when temperatures are extremely cold or hot and humid to get optimal paint adhesion.

Making the Final Decision

Choosing just the right color for your home’s exterior window sills requires balancing several factors – the style of home, surrounding colors, geographic location, window frame color, and visual appeal.

While personal color preference certainly comes into play, try to make sure the sill color you choose complements the home, fits with the overall aesthetic you want to achieve, and will hold up well to your local weather conditions.

This ensures your new sill color not only looks fantastic when first painted but keeps your home’s curb appeal in tip-top shape for years to come. With a little forethought and smart color selection, you can give your exterior windows a framed finish that elevates your home’s whole look.


Selecting the perfect paint color for exterior window sills requires factoring in the home’s style, other established exterior colors, window frame colors, geographic location, and your personal preferences. Sticking to versatile, durable options like white, light gray, slate blue, cream, or tan is a smart choice for most homes. Aim for colors that coordinate with but don’t match the window frames. Be sure to use only weather-resistant exterior paint finishes designed to withstand sun, rain, snow, and humidity. With the right sill color choice and quality application, your home’s exterior windows will maintain their eye-catching framing and protect the sills from elemental damage for years to come.