How To DIY: Painting Window Frames

Now clearly I’m not suggesting you do this this week but in normal weather conditions painting your window frames is a small job that may not even require a ladder. It is also, as I mentioned in Monday’s post a really effective way to bring a room together and even add a dramatic element.

madaboutthehouse office window frame matching walls by mark anthony fox
madaboutthehouse office window frame matching walls by mark anthony fox

I have mostly painted my window frames to match the walls but if you have pale walls then a contrasting colour such as green, will bring the outside in, or yellow will add drop of sunshine to a winter’s day (clearly not the issue in the UK at the moment).

woodwork in russel green via benjamin moore
woodwork in russel green via benjamin moore

As ever, for this DIY series I have enlisted the help of the experts and today it’s Bianca Hall, of French for Pineapple, who, while she professes to hate painting windows, does it a lot and it always looks great.

sash window painted by bianca hall of french for pineapple
sash window painted by bianca hall of french for pineapple

You will find her instructions and a list of tools in the link here. I suggest you bookmark it for later and don’t forget to share the results with us both.

The images are, as always, for your inspiration. If your windows are not wooden but uPVC they are still very paintable as long as you prime them first. Here is a reel Sophie made of painting her white plastic windows.


yellow window frame at the home of skye mcalpine by
yellow window frame at the home of skye mcalpine by
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I did a upvc bathroom window about 10 years ago. We had to do the replacement windows at our house in two stages, back and then front. Long story, but back windows very dark brown inside and out, front windows Irish Oak upvc and the bathroom is the only room in the house with a front and back window. When we renovated the bathroom my husband’s view was, “well, you’re stuck with it”. Er, no. Zinzer 123 primer tinted to a background light oak colour then a grained wood effect painted on top to fool the eye. It worked, my husband admitted I an a genius and it is still holding up 10 years later.

  2. I’ve done three lots of large single pane sash windows over the past year. My suggestions, FWTW, are:
    it is very worthwhile taking off latches and handles, the finish will be better
    flexible decorators caulk to fill gaps between glass and frame, or to smooth the grooves in the architraves – the paint finish will be smoother and easier to achieve, the seal around the glass long lasting, the final product easier to keep clean. Apply after the scraping, sanding and cleaning, before the primer.
    There is a correct order to paint all the parts of the sash frame, and following it makes life easier. The Readers’ Digest DIY book sets it out (this is still the best book!) or find a You Tube video.

    Definitely going to buy a window vacuum for this winter – good for shower units as well (we have single pane sash windows, and hard water – condensation and limescale, joy!).

    Inspired by this blog, I have painted the windows Mylands Primrose Hill (a sprightly olive green) to match a colour in the wallpaper, F&B French Grey (soft sage to frame a garden view) and Fired Earth Oyster in a room with walls of Little Greene Brighton (so not wihite, and picks up the oyster used on the fire surround and picture rail – no, taking the wall colour over the picture rail and up to the ceiling, didn’t look right, but it did look good on the skirting board and door frame, door and cupboards. You just have to adapt trends to your actual rooms).

  3. Great post – thanks Kate. I really want to paint our UVPC windows however they have an internal white strip and wondered if anyone else had the same problem and found solution?

    1. I would have thought the white strip is just UPVC like the windows themselves but is used to hide the gaps/joints between frame and wall or cill. Whatever you use to prime and paint the frame you can use to paint the cloaking strip so it matches the windows.

  4. I am so tempted to do this. Do you think, though, once you paint one lot of windows, you kinda have to do all the windows?

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