20 Inspiring House Exterior Paint Color Ideas

White painted house with outdoor lounge chairs and potted plants

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Choosing your home's best exterior paint colors can be a challenge. Paint sets the tone for a home. It can make homebuyers more eager to see a house or drive them away. That said, homes are different, and what works for one home may not work for another. For example, a country house may look good in neutrals, while a beach house may look good in pastels.

If you've decided to paint your home's exterior, take your time considering the best colors. Painting a home is a challenging task, so make sure you get it right the first time.

Browse these 20 exterior paint color ideas to inspire change for your home.

Let House Details Speak

Since you aren’t doing a complete renovation, you should examine the lasting elements—such as stonework, tiles, and roof shingles—before you pick exterior colors. Most of these features have undertones that might affect your palette. Some are cool, others are warm, while others are bold. The brick might have dark gray flecks, while roof shingles might have a blue cast.

Choose paint colors that will harmonize fixed elements. Attention to details such as roof lines—the fascia and other roof details can use accent colors. Columns, shutters, window and door frame trim, and your front door color can be sources of accent paint colors.

Exterior view of a sage green front door of a house

John Keeble / Getty Images

Factor in the House's Lighting

If you have a home built from scratch, ask the contractor to build a miniature brick test wall from plywood. Position it to face the street like your home. Look at it during the day, at night, when it is sunny, and when it's cloudy. Paint color is usually affected by the environment, shade, sun, and time of day. Brick houses soak up some of the paint's pigment; hence exterior designers note that the color will be lighter on the house than on the chip. Thirdly, make sure the color you choose coordinates with the roof color.

Daylight and sunlight will drastically turn your exterior color cool or bluish, which happens to a paint color when light is abundant. A house with bright sun exposure will need to go at least 2 to 3 times warmer on the exterior color to get to a balanced color so that the house doesn't lean too cool or blue.

Take a look at neighboring brick houses for color ideas
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Neighboring Homes Can Inspire

Your home is likely part of a neighborhood of nearby homes, part of shared geography, similar plants, and terrains, like coastal, desert, prairie, or mountain. Look around and choose your paint color politely with a bit of restraint. Exterior house trends are rarely extreme; for example, driftwood gray, taupe, and darker neutral colors. Blend with the neighbors.

Tract homes in new subdivision with gray, blue and beige exteriors

JPLDesigns / Getty Images

Get Professional Advice

Painting a house is like becoming an artist. You agonize over the colors, try several shades, and repeat the entire process until you succeed. All of this can take a lot of time and effort. Talk to house painters, designers, color consultants, and even architects if you want to save time. Some apps can help you to select great paint colors. Professionals have a wealth of experience and can advise you on the outdoor paint to use.

House painter on scaffold painting green trim of house exterior

MacphersonPhoto / Getty Images

Consider Curb Appeal

Your home's curb appeal and exterior colors should be based on the surroundings of your home. They affect the entire street, and potential buyers can easily notice if you have chosen the wrong ones. Before you buy outdoor paint, assess your neighborhood's exterior color trend. Some communities have homes with similar color schemes, while others have custom colors. Since you want to blend in but don't want to disappear, choose a similar color but with elegance and personality, like ivory instead of white.

Different colored houses with manicured lawns

PhilAugustavo / Getty Images

Choose the Right Paint Finish

Choosing the right paint finishes can be almost as challenging as choosing paint colors. Paint finishes are categorized into five types: flat/matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. Each one performs a particular function and decorative job. The paint finish you use can determine how the colors you’ve used look. If you choose great paint colors and bad finishes, home buyers will notice something is off. Remember this rule of thumb when selecting paint sheen: a high, glossy sheen has excellent shine; the higher the shine, the longer it will last.

Use neighboring color palettes for inspiration
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Emphasize Your Home's Heritage

Your home's architectural style gives it character. Choose paint colors that emphasize the style and don't downplay it. There are specific color schemes for art deco homes, Craftsman bungalows, and contemporary abodes.

If your home is older or historic, visit a paint manufacturer and inquire about recommended colors. You don't have to choose the very same hues unless your neighborhood codes say otherwise. Don't make the common staging mistake of choosing too many contrasting colors. Many paint specialists have compilations of historically accurate colors that can make your work easier.

Charleston row houses with painted and brick walls

Pgiam / Getty Images

Stuck? Go Bluish

If you want to pick a neutral color for the house, like white, but don’t want to go one-note, pick a white hue with blue undertones. If you select a blue door or blue accents for window framing and porch furniture, you can also play with bright white to tie it all up. Each color in the trio works beautifully, and the paint's commonalities create perfect harmony.

Bluish colored home exterior with blue accents

Doug Vos / Unsplash

All Neutral Palette

If you choose a neutral exterior paint color like beige, you can make the house stand out with black accents like shutters and the front door. Contrast the black accents with white accents too. The house can stand out without needing brightly colored, garish paint colors. It can make the home have a crisp, clean look.

Neutral exterior with black accents

Lexia Frank / Stocksy

Monochromatic Style

Doing a monochromatic paint scheme on the house requires a little skill. It starts with picking your favorite accent color first—the color you plan for the window frames, shutters, and trim—and then go lighter or darker for the primary color of the house. Throwing in a complementary color even adds more visual interest, and it can be done tastefully as a highlight, for example, the color choice for the front door.

Craftsman house with a muted green monochromatic color scheme

Siri Stafford / Getty Images

Dramatic Exterior Detail

You can get drama from your exterior paint color by having only one element stand out, like the front door. You might choose a house color that is neutral or non-descript, but a bright door makes a distinctive "hello" statement. Little unexpected details like a Colonial-style home accented with an unusual color palette will also stand out.

Two story colonial home with beige painted walls, white columns and bright red front door

TerryJ / Getty Images

Wood Stain Options

Think beyond paint when considering exterior paint colors, especially if your house is sided in wood panels or shingles. Sometimes, a wood stain might be the right way to enhance the wood's finish naturally. Stains offer a wide range of tones and shades. A foolproof color that matches wood hues is a soft white tone, especially when it comes to more traditional or classic styles, like Victorian, Colonial, or French provincial homes.

A-Frame log cabin with outdoor seating on wooden deck

JamesBrey / Getty Images

Stand Out With Contrasting Color

You can make a statement without making the house stick out oddly. For example, suppose your home blends nicely into a lake community, matching the natural surrounding with browns and greens. In that case, pick colors that match the earthy natural landscape tones and choose an exterior paint that contrasts, such as a powdery pastel hue like lavender or pale blue.

Yellow clapboard with blue and white trim cottage style home facade in autumn

Perry Mastrovito / Getty Images

Choose a Color Matching the Size of the House

When picking an exterior paint color for your home, consider the size of your home. A dark color swallows up a large home, making it look imposing, and a very dark color on a tiny house can also emphasize how small the place is. Meanwhile, a little house that is white or too lightly colored can get lost or appear ghosted. As a general rule of thumb, light colors will work for many average-to-larger-sized homes and estates, making them look palatial; the White House is one of the best examples.

Single family home with beige and white painted exterior

ucpage / Getty Images

Living the White House Life

White remains one of the most popular exterior colors, and others like cream, beige, yellow and lighter shades of grey and blue are not far behind. White can minimize an imposing facade and allow the landscape to stand out. White gives a home a clean appearance and is easy to personalize. It seems that white is the color favored by most new home buyers.

Stylish white house with garden and terrace on sloped hill

in4mal / Getty Images

Tricolor Theme

Use the three-color rule if you're looking to get colorful with your home exterior. Three colors should be your limit. The color hues don't have to be different; they can be monochromatic or mixed with white, black, cream colors. Some common color trios include gray, black, and white; red, black, and white; and taupe, red, and white.

Bungalow house salmon, beige and green exterior with white picket fence

Douglas Keister / Getty Images

Go All Natural

Natural exterior homes can be wood, stone, stucco, or adobe. These homes include log homes, natural wood siding, wooden shingles, and clapboard. White and earth tones are the perfect accents for homes with natural elements to bring out the earth-given building materials, making them look cohesive and straightforward.

Santa Fe adobe house with stucco wall and flowers

ivanastar / Getty Images

Less Is More

If you go over the three-color rule of paint colors, you will find that the architectural details of your home will stand out more with fewer colors on the exterior. Using accent colors is excellent, but only to highlight attractive elements of your home. Do not call attention to detracting details like gutters, air conditioning units, and uneven windows.

American contemporary white home with blue window shutters

John Henley / Getty Images

Plan Around Details That Are Hard to Change

Unless you’re doing a complete renovation or building a new home, roof shingles, tiles, stonework, pathways, and driveways will remain in place. Choose an exterior paint color that will blend in with those elements. As you select exterior colors, look for undertones in those elements and determine whether they are warm, earthy tones or cool colors.

Renovated house with stone, brick and white painted panels

Anatoli Igolkin / Getty Images

Make a Statement With Landscaping

Coordinate the palette of your garden and house for a cohesive and artful design. Link a home and its garden or landscape by picking exterior paint colors repeated in foliage or flowers. Or vice versa, plant landscape flowers that accent or pick up hues in the house exterior color. Simple color schemes often work best. Think of your house color as the backdrop for your garden. House colors that are easiest to integrate with a garden are the greens, browns, and beiges of nature. Flower colors will provide all the contrast you need—naturally.

Backyard with trimmed garden, wooden deck and flower pots by green house

irina88w / Getty Images

Watch Now: Exterior Paint Colors and Design Ideas for Your House