Whether you’re freshening up the exterior of your home with new paint for a resale or for your own enjoyment, it’s worth it to take the time to get the color right. The wrong exterior house colors will make you cringe each time you come home, and will also hurt your home’s value. The right color, on the other hand, will bring you enjoyment and increase the value of your home.

What to Consider

Before you start collecting paint swatches, do some preliminary thinking about your neighborhood, the style of your house, and more:

  • What parts of your house can NOT be painted? You can’t change your roof with paint, and you won’t be painting any brick or stone accent work. These features are more permanent, so make sure you choose a paint color that will blend with them.
  • Look around your neighborhood. What do you love? Are you in an HOA that determines what colors you can use for your exterior?
  • Think about the style of your home: A Craftsman home needs nature-inspired colors, while a Colonial-style house does well with neutrals and whites. Farmhouse-style homes almost always look great in white as well.
  • Use color to play up the best features of your home.

The standard for most homes is to use three colors: One each for the body, trim, and shutters. Get some inspiration from the color combinations put out by paint manufacturers.

Exterior House Color Ideas

The below mentioned trends in house exterior colors are a sure win:

The Classics

suburban house

Image Source: maxpixel.net

Classic color patterns are classic for a reason — they always work. White, in particular, tends to work well with a variety of home styles. It works well with many landscapes as well.

Going neutral is often a sure bet too, as neutral colors will harmonize well with each other and with your home’s surroundings.

Look to Nature

landscape and house

Image Source: pxhere.com

Take a look around your home. Are you in a woodsy area, a coastal town, prairie land, or smack dab in the middle of the suburbs? Get inspiration from the surrounding colors in nature. For example, green, brown, and coppery tones always work well together in nature — and they work well together in a home’s exterior.

Consider the natural elements of your home as well, like wood finishes in your deck or porch. Think about how they contrast and complement the rest of the home.

The hues you choose can make your home recede into the background nature, which can be lovely. You can also choose colors that contrast with nature to allow your home to stand out.

Go Easy on the Bold

Tiny home

Image Source: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=629753

Bold accents can make sections of your home pop in just the right way. Your door or trim might be the right place for bold colors. But be careful to not use too much of a bold thing. Limit your bold accents for a sharp, restrained look that won’t overpower.

One Color, Multiple Shades

House ideas

Image Source: James Thompson on flickr

Keep boring out of your neighborhood by painting more than one hue on your exterior. Where are the accent pieces on your home — the window frames, the trim, the shutters? Paint these elements a darker or lighter shade than the main color of your home for striking, polished interest. Then, to take it up a notch, add one complementary color (perhaps on the door) for an unexpected — but sophisticated — look.

How About Some Whimsy?

Tiny home ideas

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Not all houses can pull off the whimsy and charm, but cottage-style homes tend to play well with whimsical approaches because these homes tend to not be bound by formal rules. Add some candy box, soft pastel colors for an interesting and fun look. Not sure you want to commit to so much color? Use the candy box color on the front door instead.

Gray and Dark Gray


Exterior of house

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For a traditional look, put gray on gray. Using different shades of gray will add extra interest and dimension while keeping your home traditional looking.

Cream and French Gray

front garage ideas

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A nice neutral palette, cream exteriors with French gray accents are always lovely.

Black Trim

Landscape ideas

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Draw attention to your windows with black trim. This adds an element of elegance without overdoing it.

Dark Colors and Natural Woods

house exterior

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Does your home have brick, stone, or wood accents? Contrasting these accents with a dark exterior is a sophisticated choice. Look to the underlying tones of your home’s brick or stone to choose a dark color that will complement your home’s natural features.

Additional Tips

Keep these tips in mind, no matter the colors you choose for your exterior:

  • Mix flat and shiny surfaces. Paint flat paint on the body of your house, and keep shiny paint for highlighting millwork.
  • Repeat colors in the right way: Paint the same colors on your window sashes as you do on your door.
  • You don’t have to blend all the colors together. Your front door can contrast with your home’s siding and look stunning (but it should still coordinate with some element on your exterior).
  • If you want to go dark, paint 2/3 in a dark hue, and 1/3 in a light tone.

Live What You Love

Always choose colors you love. Following designer, rules won’t matter if you hate the look of your house. Follow the above tips for direction, but ultimately, go with what makes you happy.


Trends in Exterior House Colors to Look Out For was last modified: November 9th, 2018 by Josh Abramson

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