diy window grids

How I Made My Windows Look 10x Better in Less Than 25 Minutes

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We are in month 13 of our build. Week 56. It feels like month 1,000 and week one billion, especially when I see people online building much larger homes and they start after us and finish before us. But hey, that’s on me. Nobody said social media was a good place to make yourself feel better.

In the meantime, I’ve been itching to do what I can to make the time go by faster. Decluttering, planning out our rooms, thinking about how we’re going to complete the spaces, and buying furniture and decor have certainly helped! Well, the retail therapy has not helped the budget, but when does it ever?

As I was thinking about how to complete the spaces, one pleasantly surprisingly easy and high-reward DIY we started to do is create window grids. Window grids, sometimes called grilles or muntins, are thin pieces of wood, metal, or plastic that give the illusion of the window being divided into multiple glass panes.

Way back when this is how windows used to be, but nowadays, it’s mostly a decorative feature because it adds charm and architectural interest to your home. Plus, there are so many different ways you can create a design, whether your home style is farmhouse, cottage, colonial, European, or something in between. It’s an easy way to create interest, as long as you don’t mind a divided view.

The windows on our front exterior have the window grill look built-in and it’s *fine*. I didn’t know it’d be built in and I thought it’d be a wood grill, but I guess I never checked. And when I saw the rest of the non-grill windows get installed, I’ll admit, I felt a little underwhelmed by our basic single-hung windows. The interior color is a whole other issue.

I picked out the sandalwood color for the exterior, not knowing that would make both sides the same color. Once again, I should have checked, but in my mind, I see windows all the time have a color on the exterior and be white on the inside and I’d just assumed that would be the case for us too.

I didn’t realize that it wasn’t the case for us until all the windows were ordered and already going in. For the past 6 months, I’ve been obsessing over them and trying to convince myself I like them. Talk about a regret…

(But I think I found a good solution. Coming soon!)

Color aside, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a single hung window and it’s very common! But once I saw the rest of the windows installed, I found myself wishing that windows were more of a discussion. For our build, the situation was more, “These are just the type of windows we use…”, but turns out, there are a lot of options out there.

Funny enough, I barely thought about windows until they were installed. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about them. If I went into the process more informed, I would have looked into my other options, and if given the chance, I probably would have gone with casement windows with wood grids because I feel that is more in keeping with my French Country style, but alas, the windows are in and it would be incredibly wasteful (and expensive) to start over!

So instead of wallowing (too much longer) in one of my many build regrets, I got to work thinking about how to elevate them to my style. Since I knew I liked grilles, I started there.

I ordered a sample pack of grilles from New Panes and though it’s easy because it comes as a kit and you just have to assemble it, I felt a little underwhelmed by that option. Though a pretty affordable and doable project, the plastic look was not what I was hoping for. From far away and even up close, it almost looked like electrical tape.

new panes window grid option
New Panes window grid option

So I knew something with a profile would add more interest. Next, I tried a more expensive version from Fix Home. At this place, you give them your window measurements and they build you custom grills out of wood. This option was so much better!

Except…the profile was too deep and our windows didn’t open. Wah wah wahhhh.

plastic vs wood grill options

As you can see from the picture above, the difference between wood and plastic grids is dramatic. But at the same time, getting custom grids would have cost thousands of dollars.

Back to the drawing board. I circled back around to the thought of doing something ourselves.

The project seems simple enough, so building them was the first thought I had, but neither husband nor I were too thrilled about it because we’re trying to avoid DIY projects in this home unless we’re 100% sure we can make it look good. (Nothing against DIY, everything against us!)

And with the grids come cuts and cuts need to be precise in order to look good.

Or so I thought…

Actually, no, the whole cuts thing is true – I’m talking about something else!

I previously thought the only way to do grids was the traditional way. You know, the divided lites. The little boxes.

So next I thought to myself, “What if we can do window grids without having to make a fancy joint?”

I started looking up all the different grid styles besides the divided lite traditional style and soon I was feeling optimistic!

via Great Lakes Windows

Three over one? Two over one? Now that looks doable!

Okay, so I had a plan. The next and most important part was to find wood that had some type of detail but was thin enough so we could still open our windows.

After much searching, okay, going to one home improvement store, we found something! And by something, I mean the only thing. We were looking for under a quarter inch depth and only one fit the bill in the trim department. But that’s okay – it only takes one.

Next came the most satisfying part. Seeing it all come together easily. Without power tools!

diy window grids with a hand saw

All we (husband) did was measure the window and use a little hand saw to cut it to the correct size. And if you make it a smidgen bigger than it needs to be, then the tension allows it to fit snugly in the window.

We may add a dot of glue or a removable adhesive (these windows face our private backyard) to make it more secure, but it didn’t seem like the trim-turned-window-grids were going anywhere.

diy window grids with trim

It took mere minutes to get the trim up and instantly, I liked it better. It wasn’t much – but just enough to add a little something!

Because it seemed to be going so well, you know what a girl wanted next?


I was finding my favorites, but I really wanted to try out the traditional style.

diy window grids

This divided look was surprisingly not as hard as we thought. It wasn’t a fancy cut, mind you, but with a clean cut, it butt up next to the other wood nicely without any weird gaps.

Because the sunroom/dining room/flex space has the most windows, I wanted to jazz up those windows too, but it still needed to coordinate with the kitchen.

So we tried out all of the same yet different options.

I think the traditional divided look is my favorite (these were done quickly so they could be a little straighter), but they are the most difficult to do on the bigger windows without getting all fancy and technical.

The lines would be the simplest to do but read a little more craftsman. So though I’m not 100% sure which ones I’ll go with yet, I’m relieved to find a simple, affordable, and removable option!

We got a gallon of paint matched to our window that’s sitting in the garage, so we haven’t actually painted the trim yet and I suppose that will add to the 25-minute timeline, but if you get it all lined up and get a sprayer out – it should be done in minutes.

This isn’t an official tutorial (if you couldn’t tell), but one home enthusiast saying to the next: You can elevate the look of your windows!

Here’s another DIY we’ve done in the past that was relatively easy and inexpensive, but made a huge impact: How I Limewashed My Brick Ranch Exterior (For Under $30!!)


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.