Painted Mullions + Trim

By Kate Riley January 10, 2013

A good friend of ours is remodeling an older home with divided light wood windows and she was asking about how to paint them since they’re in need of touch up, and what window treatments I’d suggest since they looked a little plain in her eyes.  One of the options I suggested was to paint the mullions and interior grid a color other than white and consider skipping the window treatments since privacy isn’t an issue. 

All of the divided light windows in our own home have those white metal strips layered in between two panes so for me it’s not an option to paint them and I’m stuck with white – not that there’s anything wrong with that  :) – but here’s a peek at a few ideas I’m sending her way: 

aqua trim doors and mullions

blue divided light windows

El Mueble

green cabinetry emilyjenkinsfollowill

Emily Followill

blue painted mullions

House of Turquoise

gray divided light windows


blue painted doors elle decor

Elle Decor

pale green painted trim

via Pinterest

painted mullions and trim house beautiful

House Beautiful

mint painted mullions and trim

Shop Ruche

black divided light windows

House and Home

black trim and mullions at home in arkansas

At Home in Arkansas

black divided light windows real lived in spaces wabisabi style blog

via Pinterest

black divided light windows carter kay

Carter Kay Interiors

black mullion windows


Someday if I ever build or buy another house, painting the mullions and trim a fresh color or dramatic black is a detail I wouldn’t hesitate to incorporate – until then just I’ll live vicariously through my friend’s remodeling adventures.   It’s a gorgeous detail, right?




  1. I love this idea too, I am not a fan of window coverings and often look for alternatives.

  2. What about the caulk around the frames and panes? My newer Pella True Divided Light windows have very minimal caulk, but my original ones have caulk everywhere. Can you paint silicone caulk?

    • Hi Eddie – yes, as long as you buy “paintable caulk” you can paint it…. I’ve done it many times.

  3. What a timely post! We have a ton of french doors in our home and I love them, but I think they would look fantastic … black! I’m trying to convince my husband to paint all the interior doors black to add some interest.

    We remodeled 2 years ago, and still feel like our home lacks character… partly it’s because I still haven’t figured out the proper way to layer, but I know painting some contrast will give our home some more character.

    If you ever desire a trip to LA, come visit my “Chalet”… it needs some Centsational Girl touches.

  4. Yes, love these! When we first bought our home with dark wood mullioned windows & dark trim, I was worried that they’d look weird when we painted the trim white… but it turns out I loved the combination. Pictures like this help reinforce my belief that I’m not crazy. (and I’ve seen them in PB catalogs too, so it MUST be okay to do… ha!)

  5. Beautiful!!! What a great way to highlight your windows and doors. I’m typically a white trim all the way girl but I really love these, especially the black. Makes me wish I lived in an old home again. I miss all the architectural features :( I guess I’ll just have to find a client who loves the idea and live it out through them,lol

  6. OMG I absolutely love the first two pictures! It is the perfect blue. I would have never thought of painting these but they look amazing in all these pictures. Please post pictures if you can of what your friend does!!

  7. Black mullions are one of my very favorite things. Sadly, I have the same windows you do.

  8. I love this! Especially for all those out there who like white walls. I think white walls can be great, but they can also look a little boring if its not balanced out with an interesting collection of furnishings and decor. This would be a great way to add a little color, while still having white walls. I’ve been thinking about this idea since your post on design trends! It stuck out to me. Thanks for doing a post on it!

  9. How old is the house in question? The reason I ask is because of the varying styles I’ve seen based on the age of the home. In our area, we even have a few really old houses (over 200 years) that go as far as to paint the glazing putty on the window a different color from the wood components of the sash. On a colonial era house it can look very interesting. Usually we’d see black putty with white or cream sash, but I think it would look good on a gray sash too.

    We painted our front French doors in the very high gloss black and love the way they look.

    It’s always important to remember that paint is the first line of defense against the weather on old wooden divided light windows, so it’s extremely important to repaint somewhat often. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t look really great at the same time!

  10. We painted our french doors a dark grey and they look divine. Love all the rooms, Could you give ideas fo fireplace mantels.

  11. Kate,

    Love the pictures. I usually dont see trim painted in colors in homes, only usually in magazines…I would love to see in person. The black trim looks like a picture frame on windows, it really adds a great detail.

  12. Color is very fun, and I am a fan of the black. I fell in love with black from the movie It’s Complicated. They look very modern.

  13. This is so trendy right now. I was over at a friends house and they had painted the mouldings and trim the same the color as the walls. It was a dark gray and it looked amazing. So dramatic yet still very cozy.

  14. I love this look. However, wouldn’t one have to paint every window in the house the same for continuity? The upstairs also? This would be a huge decision to make…

  15. I love the look of painted french windows. We have a french bay style window in our living room which I’ve contemplating painting a muted grey-green though I think it would mean painting all of the adjoining trim as well which I’m hesitant about because it’s rather plain and not something I would normally make a feature of. I noticed that in many of the inspiration photos above the windows are independent though in a few they have adjoining trim which does seem to be painted to co-ordinate. I know it’s not essential though it does seem to make sense (though I think it’s okay to paint a door in an entirely different colour). Also, we need window treatments, somewhat for privacy though more for climate control, which might detract from the overall impact.
    Anyhoo, maybe one day. I think it’s a great look.

  16. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time! We replaced the windows in our almost 100 year old farm house recently, and since I’m in the process of redesigning the master bedroom {I’m posting the progress on my blog}, I was trying to decide whether to paint the original window trim to match the new windows. The photos in your post gave me just the inspiration I needed!

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