How to Restore Wood Windows

If you follow along on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve heard me rave on and on and on about how to restore wood windows. Guess what!? I FINALLY remembered to take enough photos to put the whole tutorial together!

I’m slowwwwly restoring every wood window in our house with this method. So far I’ve completed the kitchen, living room, our son’s bedroom, and our daughter’s nursery windows. Brightening the windows makes such a HUGE difference in a room and is one of my absolute favorite parts of each makeover!

Just look at this before and after from my son’s room:

restore wood windows
BEFORE – boy room
how to restore wood windows
AFTER – boy room

It lightens the room so much! Granted, neither of those is the most beautiful photo ever. But I tried to find photos that give a fair comparison and showcase the actual change. Both photos were taken on my phone, and I didn’t edit either of them (not even the ‘after’ photo). Cus really, how helpful is it if I tell you “it brightens the room so much!” and then show you an ‘after’ photo where I boosted the brightness a million percent … not much.

But if you like a little more glamorous shot, here’s a nicer ‘after’ (don’t mind the light fixture hanging out of the ceiling … this was mid renovation):

how to restore wood windows
AFTER – boy room

Aaand a totally staged and edited ‘after’ photo just for good measure:

Boy Bedroom Makeover
AFTER – boy room

I did the same thing in my daughter’s nursery, and here’s how that one turned out:

girl nursery ideas
AFTER – girl nursery

I know you’re all on the edge of your seats now – HOW IS THIS DONE!?!

Let me tell ya, it’s just a little sanding, primer, and paint.

Tools & Supplies

Step 1.

If you’re re-doing trim at the same time, remove the trim before you begin. I wrote a separate post on how to remove trim without damaging drywall, which you can check out over here. Use the same method, but for the window.

how to restore wood windows


Once the trim is off, scuff up the old finish around the entire window frame with fine grit sandpaper. I used 220 grit which worked great.

how to restore wood windows

Step 2.

Apply painter’s tape around the window frame. I taped around the glass to protect it, but didn’t worry about the outside edges since I re-did the trim also. Once it’s all taped off, prime the entire frame. I used my favorite Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer.

DIY Closet Door Makeover

Step 3.

After the primer dries, paint the entire frame. I used Sherwin-Williams Urethane Trim Enamel in ‘Extra White’. The windows were stained really, really dark brown, so it took about 2 coats of paint to thoroughly cover it. I recommend using some sort of trim enamel since it’s a little more robust than standard wall paint.

how to restore wood windows


If you aren’t re-trimming the window, that’s all there is to it! Just a little primer & paint and you pretty much have a brand new window.

how to restore wood windows


For anyone interested in re-doing your window trim as well, head over to my post on how to install interior window trim!

For more information, I’ve saved a quick video on how to restore wood windows in the highlights on my Instagram profile.

Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Bitterroot DIY

Thanks for stopping by!

For more project ideas, you can find me on Pinterest. And to stay up to date with the latest shenanigans, follow me on Instagram.

how to restore wood windows

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