7 No-Fail Exterior Paint Colors

Painting your house’s exterior takes hours of hard work—even just to pick out the colors you love. And with exterior house paint costing $50 per gallon or more, you don’t want to make any mistakes. Start the process of choosing exterior house paint colors by looking at what’s already there. Take the color of your roof and your windows into account. You likely won’t change these when you paint. If you have brick or stonework, either in the architecture of your house or in pathways, consider those tones as well. Let these existing color palettes influence the beginning of your selection process.

The paint scheme of your house’s exterior will involve three main colors: the field, the trim, and the accent. The field color is for the major areas like the walls and roof. The trim color covers the fascia boards, window trim, and rakes. The accent color is for doors, shutters, and other architectural features. Choose your field color first, and make sure it’s a paint color you will love for years. In general, trim paint should be a lighter shade than the field color, and your gutters, downspouts, and other service-type elements should be painted the same for a cohesive look. The accent color is where you can make a splash and show your personality. A bright pop of color on your front door can distinguish your house from all the others in the neighborhood.

Choosing an exterior paint color can be challenging, but the results are well worth it. For help narrowing down your options, check out our list of fail-proof house colors that never go out of style.

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  1. Choosing the Right Color


    When it comes to finding the best exterior paint for your home, it's important to choose a color that captures your personal style, but it's also key that it complement the architecture of the house. "Choosing exterior color schemes can be a challenging but rewarding experience," says Sara McLean, color expert at Dunn-Edwards Paints. But where to begin? McLean suggests collecting inspirational images of homes you like, strolling through your neighborhood to see which exterior colors you're drawn to the most, and even analyzing the landscaping and "hardscaping" (wood, stucco, brick, and stone) that surrounds your house to determine which shades will look best with them. Here, we pinpoint seven popular house colors that work well with many types of homes.


  2. Gray


    Gray's sophisticated mix of modern and timeless style makes it natural choice for exteriors. Whether you choose a pale fog or a deep charcoal, trim gray houses with crisp white woodwork. For a little pizzaz, punctuate the color scheme with a bright door—red, orange, yellow, turquoise, or lime green.

    Related:  9 Bright and Bold Colors for Your Front Door

    Troy Mock

  3. Putty


    Putty is the new neutral for home exteriors—you'll spot it everywhere if you start to look. For style that stands out, paint the woodwork a different color. For a subtle contract opt for fresh white paint for trim and shutters. If you prefer a high drama look, try black or deep brown for the woodwork instead.

    Related:  Instant Curb Appeal - 15 Fast Facade Fix-Ups

    Design: Witt Construction, Inc. / Photo: Randall Perry Photography

  4. Blue


    Blue homes exude a nautical spirit, whether or not you actually live by the water. Especially popular in home design these days is a deep, gray-blue exterior framed with white trim. Blue paint is naturally suited for homes with red brick patios, pavers, or pathways.

    Related:  Refresh Your Home with 8 Easy Outdoor Paint Projects

    Zillow Digs home on Bainbridge Island, WA

  5. Sage


    Take a tour around neighborhoods across the United States, and you'll notice sage green is cropping up everywhere. The hue works especially well on homes surrounded by lush gardens as it complements many shades in the green family and provides a wonderful backdrop for bright flowers.

    Related:  Before and After - DIY Facelifts for 8 Home Exteriors


  6. Yellow


    The appeal of yellow homes is easy to understand. They simply capture a joyful charm that few exterior colors can rival. What's more, this versatile color works equally well with grand Colonial homes or quaint cottages. With yellow, though, there is a danger of going too bright. The most livable shades are slightly muted—think pale lemon or straw.

    Related:  In Living Color - 7 Tips for Brightening Your Home's Palette


  7. Purple


    Purple may seem like an unusual color choice for your home exterior, but it's actually a great option, especially for a historical home. Opting for a shade with gray undertones is a good way to make your home stand out from the crowd while retaining a rich sense of architectural tradition.

    Related:  Architectural Royalty - 9 Victorian Homes We Love

    flickr.com / via opacity

  8. Red


    If you're looking to make a statement, red is an attractive choice. While bold, it still manages to look classy rather than brash in its environment. Crisp white woodwork adds energy to this color scheme and keeps the rich hue from appearing too serious.

    Related:  9 Color Mistakes Everyone Makes

    Design: Bret Franks Construction, Inc. / Photo: Melanie Siegel

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