The Top 10 Exterior Paint Color Trends to Try on Your Home in 2021
Add curb appeal with popular paint colors like bold black, rich charcoal, vibrant green, and warm white. Apply these shades to make your home the talk of the block.
While exteriors are typically less susceptible to fleeting design trends, we've recently noticed a shift in popular house paint colors. Traditional bright whites are being traded for more confident, statement-making palettes on siding, trim, and front doors. Think vibrant blues and greens, creamy neutrals, cheerful pastels, and even monochromatic schemes of charcoal and black.
This new affinity for bold outdoor colors could be traced back to the difficulty of the past year, says Lisa Tharp, designer and creator of ECOS Paints' new color collection Lisa Tharp Colors. "There is a greater need for celebrating what is good and letting go of decisions that, in the grand scheme of life, are not that important," she says. "This means injecting more joy into the colors one chooses, and even into the selection process itself."
Nivara Xaykao, color marketing and development associate manager at Benjamin Moore, adds that exteriors in 2021 are seen as an extension of a home's square footage. "Many people are starting to realize the potential of these outdoor areas as an additional living space. Just giving your siding a fresh coat of paint or adding a pop of color to your door can do a lot to rejuvenate the exterior and make it a place where you want to hang out," she says.
Read on for a range of trending paint colors and accent ideas for your next curb appeal refresh.
Top 10 Exterior Paint Color Trends in 2021
1. All-Black Exteriors
Suggested Exterior Paint Color: Tricorn Black SW 6258, Sherwin-Williams
Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, notes a major exterior trend this year: monochromatic black facades. "Black exteriors are so different from what has been done in the past," she says. "People are gravitating toward this surprising and modern look, even on traditional-style homes! Dark, saturated hues have the power to make any house stand out and look more modern."
In addition to Tricorn Black, consider Sherwin-Williams' Iron Ore or the brand's 2021 color of the year, Urbane Bronze. "These colors pair beautifully with a home's surrounding greenery," Wadden says. "If you don't want to commit to painting your whole exterior a dark color, these hues are also great for a front door or shutters, as they make for a very classic focal point."
Related: How to Paint Shutters for Easy Curb Appeal
2. Dusty Charcoal
Rich shades of charcoal are rising in popularity as well. Tharp is currently using Slate Roof by ECOS Paints to transform a shingle-style home, covering the formerly beige exterior with an all-over coat of charcoal. "We are having such fun testing accent colors for the front door, including the rich warmth of Ochre or the bronzy-green Sculpture Garden," she says.
Xaykao is seeing charcoal exteriors boom this year, too. "For the more adventurous (and if their location allows it), dark hues are bringing a stylish edge to the body of homes, from charcoal to navy," she says.
3. Warm Whites and Creams
Rather than bright white, more subdued options with a restful energy are increasing in popularity, according to many manufacturers. "Pure whites are quietly shifting to more nuanced whites that sit more softly on a weatherboarded exterior," says Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball. "A great example is Shaded White with its gentle green tone. It feels less sharp and looks sophisticated when teamed with a dramatic dark such as Studio Green." Benjamin Moore's White Dove offers a lighter, creamier version of the shade.
4. Vibrant Greens
Suggested Exterior Paint Color: Green Smoke No. 47, Farrow & Ball
O'Donnell lists rich green shades as a go-to for homeowners in 2021, a nod to nature and its rejuvenating qualities. "We are noticing a shift in how color can impact elements such as structural planting in the garden," he says. "Darker exterior shades are very flattering to greenery. Think of fencing or brickwork painted in Green Smoke to accentuate flowering plants."
5. Muted Gray-Greens
Suggested Exterior Paint Color: Hyde Park Gray 1550, ECOS Paints
If you're looking for a nature-inspired shade that is more subdued, muddy gray-greens are a burgeoning favorite. "There is a greater interest in color that inspires us and supports our well-being," Tharp says of this calming range of colors. This past year brought a renewed interest in "finding connection with the perennial colors of nature," she says. Tree Moss, Dried Basil, and Nantucket Gray by Benjamin Moore are great options to try, as is Behr's Muted Sage.
6. Classic Navy
Suggested Exterior Paint Color: Newburyport Blue HC-155, Benjamin Moore
Part of Benjamin Moore's Historic Colors Collection, this traditional shade is rounding the bend toward modern. As a popular exterior color in 2021, Newburyport Blue is ideal for both classic and contemporary facades and pairs well with several contrasting accents, such as rich yellow or natural wood textures. O'Donnell recommends Farrow & Ball's Inchyra Blue, described as a "dark blue-gray," as another option for those looking to capture this sea-inspired style. Wadden suggests another bold blue called Naval.
7. Black Exteriors with a Contrasting Door
"Darker shades are playing their part in this quiet revolution," O'Donnell says of the monochromatic paint color trend—but don't forget about the front door! Using black siding with a lighter entrance can help draw attention to the architecture of your home in a fresh, unexpected way. Try replicating the look of this home, which pairs siding and trim painted in Farrow & Ball's Off Black with a cheery Blue Ground door.
8. Rosy Doors for Off-White Homes
Wadden reminds us that you don't have to paint your entire exterior to update your curb appeal. "Painting your front door is one of the easiest and quickest ways to boost your curb appeal, and it's a project that can be completed in just a few hours," she says. "If you want your front door to stand out, consider Oceanside or Begonia."
O'Donnell also recommends a bold hue for a front-door update this year. "Doors are a great (and small) way to make a statement as to the personality of the household—from bright, joyful pinks like Lake Red to aged-heritage blues such as Stone Blue."
9. Charcoal Shades with Muted Pastels
Suggested Exterior Paint Color: Ocean Air 2123-50, Benjamin Moore
When choosing accent shades for homes with darker siding, consider a few non-traditional shades for a playful, eye-catching combination. "For trim and accents, pastels like pink, baby blue, and lemon can add some much-needed fun and cheer to exteriors," Xaykao says. Pleasant Pink, Ocean Air, and Weston Flax are a few of her favorites.
Expert Tips for Painting Your Home's Exterior
Depending on the scale of the project, hiring a professional for exterior paint jobs is usually recommended. If you're choosing to do the work yourself, consider the following tips before you get started.
1. Consider your neighborhood's style.
Pick colors that complement neighboring facades, but don't replicate them. "When selecting colors for your exterior, I always recommend starting by looking at which colors your neighbors have chosen and avoid using those same shades," Wadden says. "Instead, choose a color that complements it—this curb appeal trick benefits you and your neighbor!"
2. Be mindful of the weather.
Plan your painting around the weather forecast to avoid extreme temperatures or high humidity. "Avoid painting on days with low temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or in high humidity or rain," Xaykao says. "These factors can easily ruin a fresh coat of paint or significantly delay dry times."
3. Invest in quality exterior paint products.
Pick high-quality tools, including the applicators, primer, and paint. According to Xaykao, this ensures an easier, more professional paint job. "When selecting your tools, consider the surfaces you are painting and choose those specifically designed for those applications," she says.
4. Do proper prep work.
Surface preparation is critical for every successful paint job. "Make sure the surface is completely clean—which, for exteriors, often means power-washing," Xaykao says. "Then, a fully dry surface is imperative. To ensure proper adhesion, the surface should also be dull and smooth."
5. Start in the shade.
Be strategic about where you start. After priming and patching, begin painting on the side of the house that will remain in the shade until you finish. "Work from the top down and be prepared to apply two coats of premium exterior paint," Xaykao says.