24 Exterior Color Schemes for Every Architectural Style

Pick an exterior color scheme that works for your home's style.

gray home exterior patio with white trim and path
Photo: Edmund Barr

Your home's exterior color scheme plays a pivotal role in its overall look and feel. The combination of paint colors on your siding, trim, front door, and other exterior elements sets the tone before you even step foot inside. Learn how to decide which exterior colors go together and how to pick hues that work for your home's style and architecture.

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Blue Exterior Color Scheme

light blue house stone walkway
Werner Straube

Neutrals like white don't have to be one-note. Pick a shade of white with undertones that match the rest of your exterior color scheme. On this home, white siding with blue undertones melds gracefully with a bright blue front door and powder-blue porch furniture and pendant light. Each color in the trio is distinct, but their commonalities create perfect harmony.

Suggested Paint Color: Ice Mist 2123-70, Benjamin Moore

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Neutral Exterior Paint Colors

tan home exterior with vinyl siding and black shutters
Robert Brinson

You can add interest to an exterior color scheme without using bright paint colors. An all-neutral palette looks particularly polished when accented with hits of black. To give your beige exterior a more sophisticated feel, try painting the shutters and front door black. Use white on the trim and other exterior elements so the look is crisp and clean instead of one-note.

Suggested Paint Color: Domino SW 6989, Sherwin-Williams

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Gray Exterior Color Scheme

gray home exterior patio with white trim and path
Edmund Barr

Because it typically covers the most surface area on a home, siding will often provide the foundation color for your exterior scheme. Consider the undertones of your siding color, and choose two or three other shades that complement the hue. The gray siding on this home, for example, has strong blue undertones, which are highlighted by the turquoise front door and patio furniture. White trim stands out brightly against the cool exterior colors.

Suggested Paint Color: Orchid Ash 4003-3B, Valspar

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Monochromatic Exterior Color Scheme

front gray house exterior light green entry
Brian McWeeney

The danger of choosing a single hue for an exterior color scheme is that, without careful planning, it can feel boring and dated. To avoid that, try this exterior paint color idea: Identify an accent piece on your home (window frames, shutters, trim, or the front door for example) and paint it either a darker or a lighter shade of your main color. To add more contrast, consider choosing one complementary color, such as red, for an unexpected highlight.

Suggested Paint Color: Obligation PPG1135-7, PPG Paints

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Standout Exterior Colors

gray house with bright red door
Brie Williams

It's OK to pick just one element that stands out in your exterior color scheme; more often than not, that's the front door. The reason is aesthetic as well as practical: A bright front door hue such as this red signals visitors where to enter. On this house, the bulk of the color (warm gray) helps the low-slung profile gently recede into the landscape.

Suggested Paint Color: Red Gumball PPG1187-7, PPG Paints

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Exterior Accent Colors

colonial-style home blue door purple shutters
David A Land

Some of the best exterior house paint ideas are those that turn tradition on its head. Take, for example, Colonial-style homes, which are often painted in a single color, many times white. While a white exterior color scheme has classic appeal, there are ways to update and modernize that choice, too. For example, the accent shades chosen here—a dusty lavender-gray and a bright turquoise—would normally not be used in the same color scheme. Here, though, the grayish-purple offers a refined accent on the shutters, while the turquoise—a brighter spin-off of some of those same blue-purple tones—directs foot traffic to the front door. Plus, if you're looking for easy exterior paint ideas, adding color to just your shutters and front door is the way to go.

Suggested Paint Color: Mexicali Turquoise 662, Benjamin Moore

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Elegant Exterior Color Scheme

green-gray house light accents red door
Richard Leo Johnson

Judicious use of an accent color can lend your home a more refined exterior scheme. It's a choice that works well with classic home styles, particularly because it doesn't overpower their traditional forms. This home, which deftly matches a deep green-gray with a lighter tone, also relies on an orange-red hue found in the copper roof accents and repeated on the wood front door. That tone carries over onto rooflines and side doors to provide a continuing color line for the eye to follow.

Suggested Paint Color: Glowing Green 5007-3A, Valspar

08 of 24

Choosing House Paint Colors

Selecting from a nearly endless parade of exterior paint color ideas can be overwhelming, and the very act of exterior home painting is a big job. Follow these tips for choosing exterior paint colors that go together so you can be confident as you undertake your painting project. With a little know-how, you can create a color scheme that suits your home's architecture and style and reflects your tastes.

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Materials for Exterior Color

gray contemporary home brick wood accents
Michael Garland

Many people equate contemporary homes with a limited exterior color palette. But modern-style homes offer inspiration for a diverse way to showcase color and pattern, even if the palette is fairly neutral. If you're building new or remodeling your exterior, consider all the shapes and sizes of brick as a way to create an accent feature, rather than relying solely on paint for adding color. Here, the pattern on the brick section of the front facade is nearly mosaic-like. Functional features, such as drain pipes or front steps, can be a wonderful way to include different colors or materials, too.

Suggested Paint Color: Urban Sunrise 4004-1B, Valspar

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Primary Color Scheme

blue house primary color accents yellow door
James R. Salomon

The primary colors—red, yellow, and blue—are the basis of all other hues, and as such, they're naturally complementary. But very few of us would consider painting a home in red, yellow, and blue, as represented in the original color wheel. However, when given rich depth or startling brightness, the hues provide an exterior color scheme that's at once distinctive and deeply satisfying. The key to color combinations is to select one color that pops (here, yellow) and another that's used sparingly (in this case, red). The rich shade of blue acts almost as a neutral for the exterior house paint color.

Suggested Paint Color: Freedom Found PPG1040-6, PPG Paints

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Green Exterior Color Scheme

muted green and beige craftsman-style house exterior
Bob Greenspan

Complement beige exterior trim and natural stonework with warm shades of green. Hunter-green shutters and shake shingles stand out against this home's soft sage-green siding. Green garage doors continue the nature-inspired color palette, while copper light fixtures pick up the amber hues of the surrounding stone.

Suggested Paint Color: Spearmint SW6465, Sherwin-Williams

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Exterior Stain Colors

classic home shake shingles white accents
Werner Straube

As with traditional painted colors, stain offers a wide range of tones and shades to choose from, each of which can revive your home's exterior. Wood stains in midrange hues, in particular, work well on a variety of home styles. As with exterior wood paint colors, it's best to sample the stain on a swath of exterior wall to see how the color looks and feels throughout the day. For a fool-proof accent color, look to white. For more classically styled homes, white is a traditional accent for window trim, pillars, and doors.

Suggested Stain Color: Cedar Naturaltone Transparent Wood Finish, Behr

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Classic Exterior Paint Colors

exterior of home with people biking up front walk
John Bessler

When it comes to exterior color schemes, there's something to be said for tried-and-true combinations. This classic abode might look out of place with any palette other than warm beige for the siding and bright white around windows and on rails. Look to exterior light fixtures for adding complementary materials or colors. On this exterior, the dark bronze lantern-style sconces balance the home's symmetry, with a pair flanking the doors on all three floors.

Suggested Paint Color: Sanderling SW7513, Sherwin-Williams

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Contrasting Exterior Color Scheme

seafoam green house white accents
James Yochum

If your home is surrounded by a natural landscape, you can take one of two approaches to exterior paint color ideas. First, you can pick hues that will make the home recede into the background of trees and plants. Or you can choose a standout color that calls attention to the style of your space. This home does the latter; its seafoam green exterior wood paint selection stands in contrast to the lush green backdrop of the tree canopy. When it comes to pastel shades, white is a successful accent color that adds contrast without being too jarring.

Suggested Paint Color: Open Air SW6491, Sherwin-Williams

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Exterior Color Dos and Don'ts

Selecting an exterior color scheme is a big decision. The level of commitment is more intense than picking a wall color. (Don't like your wall color? Repaint it in a weekend. Don't like your siding color? That's one you might have to live with.) But knowing a few exterior color dos and don'ts will save you a lot of color regret. See how to play up your home's best features and pick the right hues with these simple exterior color rules.

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Cottage-Style Exterior Colors

cottage style home shake shingles blue door
Brie Williams

Cottage-style homes are amenable to an exterior color scheme that's less bounded by formal rules and freer to experiment with whimsical approaches to shade and pattern. Here, the first impulse might be to paint the section of the front facade above the door line the same color as the bottom half. But instead, the natural wood, which will weather to a warm gray if left unstained, adds warmth to the gray-green paint. For contrast, bright robin's-egg blue accents the front door. What ties these three disparate tones together is the white trim around the door, pillars, and rails.

Suggested Paint Color: Big Surf M460-3, Behr

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Exterior Color Schemes by Size

mid-sized green home with porch
Michael Partenio

The mass of your home determines the range of color choices for your exterior. For example, a very large house in a very dark color might look too imposing; a very small house that's painted too light might seem floaty in the landscape. This midsize house is a good example of using a single midrange hue in a way that's complementary without being overpowering. To prevent the front door from getting lost, try painting or staining it in a warm, rich color.

Suggested Paint Color: Folk Art 528, Benjamin Moore

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White Exterior Color Scheme

white dormer home front yard flower bed
Heather Anne Thomas

White remains popular for exterior color schemes for good reason. It works well with a variety of home styles, it minimizes the imposing facades of very large homes, and it allows the landscape to stand out with its texture and color variation. However, as with other colors, there are nuances in the brightness and lightness of even white. Test out several swatches in various shades of white, and view them at different times of day (when the sun hits and when it doesn't) to see how the hue varies.

Suggested Paint Color: Pure White SW7005, Sherwin-Williams

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Three-Color Exterior Scheme

light gray monochromatic home wooden doorway
Brie Williams

Using three colors is a general rule of thumb for selecting an exterior color scheme. Most homeowners assume those hues have to be distinctly different, but this monochromatic house proves otherwise. Here, light gray is the dominant color, while a medium tone accents the wood archway over the front door. A deeper shade of gray around the windows and doors supplies the final accent.

Suggested Paint Color: Drizzling Mist 4006-1C, Valspar

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Matching Exterior Colors

ranch house limestone façade yellow accents
Mark Lohman

Materials used on a home's exterior often supply a built-in base for a color scheme. For example, brick exteriors tend to take on a warmer, red hue. The question then becomes what to do about the accents. This limestone facade offers a base that's in tune with both the home's architecture and the natural landscape. To keep the color scheme low-key and minimalist, shutters and windows were painted a neutral yellow shade that nearly blends in with the stonework. For a bit of warmth and as an accent, a medium-tone stain warms the front door.

Suggested Paint Color: Coconut Twist GR-W14, Behr

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Front Door Colors

front exterior tan house with red front door
Brie Williams

Earthy beige coats most of this home's facade, but a fire-engine red front door bucks the trend. If you're looking to quickly switch up your exterior color scheme, a new front door color is one of the easiest makeover ideas. When working with an existing color palette, consider the undertones and color family already used within the facade. For example, this slightly cooler red, rather than one that leans orange, plays nicely with the cool undertones of the beige brick and siding.

Suggested Paint Color: Real Red SW6868, Sherwin-Williams

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Neutral Exterior Color Scheme

small monochromatic home brick siding weathered wood
Edward Everett (Rett) Peek Jr

While a multicolor palette is certainly eye-catching, a single-hue exterior can also cause passersby to stop and take notice. This small home commands a presence, thanks to its charcoal gray brick siding and similar-tone metal roof. Plenty of lush greenery and a handsome weathered wood door ensure the exterior is stylish, not foreboding.

Suggested Paint Color: Slate Rock N460-5, Behr

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Exterior Color Schemes with Wood

contemporary gray home dark wood accents
Edmund Barr

By itself, steely gray can be a sterile choice for exterior house color combinations. But if this cool-minded hue tops your preferred color list, consider warming it up. That can be done in a number of ways, such as a bright accent color like orange that's on the warm end of the color scheme. A contrasting material, such as wood, can also be a good choice, particularly when stained a medium to dark color. In this contemporary scheme, a rich gray provides a good bridge between the two hues.

Suggested Paint Color: Ellie Gray SW7650, Sherwin-Williams

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Natural Exterior Colors

white stucco house white shutters stone accents
Emily Followill

For a facade with texture, a tone-on-tone color palette makes the case for simplicity. White stucco and white shutters create a clean look, while a section of stone above the front stoop draws the eye to the front door. The tones of the roof shingles play off the stone colors for a cohesive yet simple exterior.

Suggested Paint Color: Crumb Cookie PPG18-01, PPG Paints

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the most popular exterior house colors?

    Classic, timeless colors are the most popular exterior house colors, including white, gray, and neutrals.

  • What exterior house colors increase curb appeal?

    The same colors that are most popular will add to curb appeal—whites, grays, and neutrals. Other exterior colors that attract attention are black and green.

  • What exterior house color holds up the best?

    Choose a lighter color for a longer-lasting paint job on the exterior of your home. Darker colors will fade more quickly and need to be repainted more frequently.

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