This $3 Garage Staple Will Make Your Windows Look Much More Expensive

published Apr 12, 2023
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Washi tape can elevate many eyesores in your home — fridges, walls, mirrors, TV frames, doorways, furniture legs, and more — but its cheaper, more practical, more industrial cousin, electrical tape, is the latest go-to for raising the style profile of something almost every home or apartment has at least one of: a window. 

Using black electrical tape on a standard window can help create the look of antique leaded glass (without actual lead) or a more industrial-style window with grid-patterned mullions.

Take this bedroom redo by Shweta Pathak, which relies on electrical tape to zhuzh up a large window. Pathak spray-painted her white window frame black, then used evenly spaced electrical tape in the middle of it to create faux panes. 

TikToker Liz Campbell did the same. A pro tip from Campbell? Use a dry-erase marker to note your measurements for where the “panes” should go; it’ll rub right off! “When you get to the edge, you can cut [the tape] with a razor, but I noticed in my kitchen that the electrical tape did shrink… so I just left a little tab and folded it over,” she says in her TikTok. “This might bother some people. It does not bother me at all. As soon as you step back, you can’t even see it.”

Here, Apartment Therapy’s own Karis Danish uses white board tape (another good, thinner option) to dress up her bedroom window, which already had a black frame. “It looks good even up close,” she says. She measured out even strips and used a level to make sure her tape lines were straight and convincing architecturally.

The best part of this trick is how affordable (and reversible!) it is. You can buy 60 feet of black tape for about $1.50 on Amazon, and because it’s vinyl, it’ll peel right off if you change your mind or move out. Danish’s white board tape cost $7. (One caveat: If you’re a renter and you can’t paint your window frame black, or it didn’t already come that way, you might want to choose tape in the existing color of your window frame for a seamless look, but it’ll add the visual interest you’re after nonetheless.)

And the next best part is how customizable this hack is. You can add your electrical tape in a diamond pattern or vary up the height of your intersections for other antique-inspired looks. For more ideas for adding more charm to a plain-jane window, check out these 10 more window upgrades.