How to Pick the Perfect Exterior Color, According to Your Home's Style

earth tones home features
Photo: Edward Gohlich

Choosing the perfect color for the exterior of your home is no easy task. The right choice depends on several factors, including the architectural style of your house. Use these tips to find the best exterior color for your home's style.

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Colors for Different House Styles

Light blue house with dark shutters and yellow door
David Tsay

A home's architectural style can tell you a lot about its character. Before you begin choosing exterior colors, it's important to understand what style of house you have. Some aesthetics, including Colonial, Tudor, and Victorian homes, have historical significance that makes them better suited for certain colors. Other styles like contemporary or cottage houses provide more opportunities to experiment with unique color combinations. After determining your home's style, seek out other houses with similar features to gather color inspiration.

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Contemporary Exterior Colors

contemporary home tiered steps
John Granen

Contemporary-style homes offer a streamlined, modern aesthetic, often showcasing geometric forms and asymmetrical designs. These houses are well suited for sleek colors like steely gray and slate blue. For striking contrast, juxtapose these cool exterior colors with warmer materials like stained wood and copper or bronze metals.

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Cape Cod-Style House Colors

Grey cape cod home
Michael Partenio

Cape Cod-style homes were historically designed to be sturdy, economical residences for the first settlers in America. This humble architectural style doesn't lend itself to bright, flashy colors, and these homes often look best with the classic gray shake siding. Crisp white trim helps set off the simple designs.

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Colonial Exterior Colors

White colonial home with greenery in entryway
Werner Straube

Colonial homes represent classic American architecture, so exterior color schemes that are simple and timeless tend to work best. Choose siding colors such as white, muted blue, or gray to establish a stately appearance. Black accents, including shutters or trim, add distinction and a more modern look. A stained wood door or dark red front door provides a traditional finishing touch.

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Colorful Victorian Homes

yellow and red Victorian style house
Jay Wilde

Intricate decorative details give Victorian homes a highly distinctive appearance. Unique exterior color combinations, which often include at least three different colors, enhance the elaborate designs. Bright, eye-catching hues including red, yellow, green, blue, and even pink or purple are all fair game for Victorian homes.

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Cottage-Style House Colors

blue-green cottage-style home
Jamie Hadley

Cottage-style homes often draw color inspiration from nature, creating exterior palettes that blend beautifully with the surrounding landscaping. This charming cottage house is partially shielded from the street by a gated fence and flowering vines. The color on the walls of the house offers a fresh blue-green backdrop for the lush array of colorful flowers. The reddish-brown door blends nicely with brick accents on the fence posts and walkway.

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Earthy Craftsman Colors

earth tones home features
Edward Gohlich

Earth tones and rich neutrals fit in well with Craftsman-style homes. These exterior paint colors reflect the Arts and Crafts style's emphasis on natural materials and organic colors. Here, well-coordinated greens, set off by cream trim and a wood door, add to the home's relaxed, timeless appearance.

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Color Schemes for Tudor Homes

red brick Tudor-style home
Jeff Herr

Classic brick walls with wood and stucco accents distinguish many Tudor-style homes. Inspired by English architecture, these houses look especially charming when dressed in creamy white and brown exterior colors. This Tudor takes on a historically accurate look with ivory-painted stucco and dark brown framing that accentuates the red brick exterior.

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Neutral Cottage Home

blue door neutrals cottage-style house
Ryann Ford

Neutral exterior colors fit well with cottage-style homes, especially when there's a brighter accent color mixed in. On this cottage, a classic neutral palette is energized by an unexpected yet refreshing turquoise front door. Dark trim around the windows matches the roof and provides subtle contrast with the gray siding.

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Ranch Home Colors

warm neutrals ranch-style home
Emily Minton-Redfield

Sporting just one story, ranch-style homes often span a wide expanse, which means bold, bright colors can easily overwhelm. Neutrals such as beige, brown, or gray provide an aesthetically pleasing exterior color scheme that works well for these low-to-the-ground houses. Natural stone adds texture to the facade of this ranch, while the roof, front door, and garage door work in agreement with the dark brown trim.

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Low Country House Colors

blue shutters orange door low country home
John Bessler

Low Country houses are often found along the southern coast, which means they're perfectly suited for splashy coastal exterior colors. This traditional Low Country home features classic white siding with bright accents. Pale blue shutters and a vibrant orange door provide a sunny, welcoming appearance.

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Blue Georgian-Style House

blue Georgian-style home
Greg Schiedemann

Elegant and refined, Georgian houses call for traditional exterior colors. The deep blue of this Georgian-style home provides a strong and inviting impression. Clean, white trim adds contrast, and a wooden door acts as a focal point for the perfectly balanced architecture.

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Eclectic Exterior Colors

red door eclectic-style house
Richard Leo Johnson

A neutral palette is perfect for an eclectic-style house with lots of details, such as divided-light windows, a columned portico, and textural siding materials. This home's brick walls are painted a slightly darker shade of gray than the shingled gables, offering subtle contrast. The welcoming red door provides a punch of color.

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Rustic Cottage House Colors

earthy colors cottage-style home
Edmund Barr

For cottage-style homes with rustic accents, opt for a pleasing mix of earthy colors and textures. Here, dark-stained shakes blend nicely with the natural stone chimney while small doses of white provide contrast. Cutout patterned shutters painted dark green add color and detail.

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Mediterranean Exterior Colors

mediterranean color country french style home
Michael Partenio

The use of sun-inspired colors on stucco walls lends casual elegance to Mediterranean-style homes. Consider hues like tan, gold, and coral, as well as warmer shades of green and blue. Here, warm terra-cotta walls partner with earthy browns and greens on the trim and shutters for a welcoming combination.

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Classic Farmhouse Colors

white-and-black traditional farmhouse
Michael Partenio

Traditional farmhouse exteriors typically feature white siding with black or a single color for an accent. This farmhouse embraces a timeless look with a classic white-and-black color combination. A small break from tradition, the black door provides an unexpected modern touch.

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Dutch Colonial Colors

Warm Neutrals Dutch Colonial-style home
Werner Straube

The sophisticated combination of gray, black, and white on this handsome Dutch Colonial-style home creates a restful feeling of harmony. White trim and a dark front door and shutters partner effortlessly with the warm gray walls. The gray works well against the natural stone chimney because it offers contrast while still blending beautifully with the grout.

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English Cottage Color Scheme

contemporary colors english country cottage
Kip Dawkins

This English country cottage is updated with a contemporary color scheme of warm grays. The home shows how opting for a light siding color and dark trim can have a pleasing effect. The welcoming entryway is painted the same color as the trim, and the door adds a splash of color.

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