6 Tips for Choosing House and Deck Color Combinations That Work

Confused on how to select the best paint, stain, or deck material for your outdoor space? Use these ideas to pick deck colors that are an ideal match.

Done well, house and deck color combinations can help to enhance your outdoor space, complement your home, and add visual interest. However, choosing the wrong color or material could turn your deck into a distraction and maintenance nightmare. The ideal deck color scheme will depend on various factors, including your home's existing color palette and exterior features and the deck's level of use. Use these tips on choosing deck colors to select the paint, stain, or material that works best for your lifestyle and home.

wood deck seating area with raised garden beds
Kritsada Panichgul

1. House and Deck Color Combinations Should Be Harmonious

Your deck colors should be a cohesive part of your home's exterior color scheme. To help guide your choice of paint or stain colors, consider the existing shades on your siding, trim, and other exterior elements. You can pull out one of the hues used elsewhere on the facade for your deck or select an accent color that blends with your home's style. If you're updating your home's exterior while updating the deck, include deck colors when deciding on your new overall color palette.

2. Consider Your Deck Material

The amount of flexibility you have with your deck colors depends on the material. Wood and composite decking, for example, can be painted or stained in a wide variety of colors. You can also stain decks made of concrete, but brick pavers are generally static in color. If you want the ability to easily change your deck colors when desired, wood decks typically offer the most options for paint and stain colors and the simplest application.

outdoor patio furniture set on wooden deck
Kimberly Gavin

3. Apply Deck Colors with Wear and Tear in Mind

Different parts of your deck get used in different ways, so the shade and finish should be considered when choosing your deck color. Stairs have much more traffic than railings, so they might need a more durable seal or require restaining more often. Remember that all decks need to be regularly cleaned, and any finish will require periodic upkeep and re-application.

4. Use Color Wheel Rules

For the best house and deck color combination, consider a scheme consisting of three colors: dominant, secondary, and accent. You can use these colors on new or existing siding, trim, doors, decking, outdoor furniture, and more. To help you build a pleasing palette, follow the rules of the color wheel, either with a combination that's analogous or complementary. It is a good idea to replicate that same setup in your deck colors and design, with a dominant tone as the primary hue and two additional colors in supporting roles, such as with outdoor pillows, planters, and other accessories.

5. Complement Surrounding Landscaping

The landscape surrounding your deck can also influence house and deck color combinations. For example, a primarily green landscape could prompt you to pick deck colors (such as red or orange) that complement that dominant hue, while a colorful space might invite a more neutral deck palette of brown or gray tones. Additionally, if your deck connects directly with your home, you can take cues from your indoor flooring to suggest the best color for your deck.

6. Test Deck Colors First

Before you choose a paint, stain, or other finish, try out the finish on a small, inconspicuous area of the deck. Step back and view it from different angles and at different times of the day to see how it looks. You can also find retailers that allow you to try the color virtually using an online tool. Keep in mind that some deck materials might impact the deck color. Wood decking, for example, sometimes has a tint that influences how a particular stain color looks.

Stain also looks different based on the color and opacity you choose. A more opaque finish will usually need to be reapplied more often. A clear stain will allow the wood's natural color to shine, while tinted supplies just a bit of color. Semitransparent stain supplies color to the wood and can also add a more consistent finish. A solid stain will allow very little of the wood's color to show through.

metal wood deck table and chairs
Laurie Black

Deck Color Ideas

Dark Gray

Gray can work well in cool or warm house and deck color combinations. Keep in mind that a darker hue can also hide footprints and dirt better.

Dark Blue

Perfect for cottage or Cape Cod-style homes, this classic shade works well with a variety of secondary tones, including lighter blue, cream, beige, and even more playful hues such as purple and pink.


A popular interior paint choice, green is a lovely tone for a deck color. It works well with traditional facades as well as more contemporary homes and can be paired with many colors, including taupe, black, and red. Shades of green range from soft sage to deep forest green.

Black or Chocolate Brown

A dark tone, such as black or chocolate brown, is a neutral color that works well in small spaces. However, these shades might be overpowering on a very large deck, and they will typically absorb more heat from the sun's rays.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does it cost to paint or stain a deck?

    A small deck (10x10 feet) will cost between $200 and $500 to paint or stain, while a larger (16x16 feet) deck can range from $500 to $1,500. Expect to pay between $2 and $5 per square foot for any size deck.

  • What deck colors are easiest to clean?

    Darker decks are easier to clean since they show less wear and tear than lighter-colored decks. Brown, black and gray are the best choices for easy-cleaning colors.

  • Can you stain a deck yourself?

    Staining a deck is a project most DIYers can tackle. You need to have the necessary tools, follow the steps, and spend the time to do it properly. 

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