Tom Shafer

7 ways to change the appearance of your windows, inside and out

April 20, 2016

Want to totally change the appearance of your windows and make your home look modern, fresh, and vibrant? Consider changing the molding, or trim on the windows -- both inside and out.

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It sounds like a small thing, but it can make a huge difference. Window trim and molding has had a very traditional design for years. Depending on where you live in the country, you'll likely find one of these two styles to be the most prevalent: the outside is either a 2" brick mold or a 3 ½" trim board. The trim inside isn't any more daring -- usually a colonial or ranch design.

But you've got so many options to choose from instead.

Your options for interior window trim and molding

  1. Do you have a vinyl window with drywall on the jambs filling the space to the wall? That is terribly plain. Buy a contoured, wood molding and create a "picture frame" around the window. Instantly, you have a window and a room brightened up with warm wood instead.
  2. If you have attractive trim or casing now and a rather large room, why not put an additional complimentary piece around the present trim to give it a richer, fuller look? You'll be surprised by what a big statement a wide trim can make.
  3. For the DIYers among us, consider cutting the corners on the window trim and installing plinth blocks. These are three- or four-inch squares with a rosette or a starburst design inside. If you love the idea but aren't that handy, call in a contractor.
  4. Extend the stool. This is what most people refer to as the "window sill." It can actually be extended to create a wide shelf where you can display plants, photos, or other decorative items. You can also replace your wood stool with a marble one for an upgraded effect.

Your options for exterior window trim and molding

  1. If you have brick molding, consider extending it using a 1x3 or a 1x4 board and installing it on the siding.This will serve to make the exterior trim wider and more substantial looking.
  2. If you have vinyl windows with a simple box frame and no curb appeal, do as I did on one home: buy PVC brick mold and install it around the top and sides of the windows.
  3. Another exterior alternative is a fluted or beaded casing around the windows. This may require removal of the brick mold, and extension of the window exterior sill, but the look will be well worth it.

The cost will be about $40 a window for material and about $80 for labor, but you'll wind up with windows that look brand new and a totally different feel for your home.

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