11 on-trend paint colors for the exterior of your house

We asked designers, paint experts and even real estate experts for their top tips on the best colors to paint the exterior of your home

Three images of a house painted blue, white and black
(Image credit: Little Greene/Molly Rose/Getty)

We think exterior paint colors need more attention. We spend so much time considering the schemes and palettes inside our homes and yet when it comes to the exterior, it's either left with whatever you inherited or just very basic, very safe colors are used. 

But that is starting to change, and the biggest paint brands are campaigning for outdoor paint to be in the spotlight just as much as the color we use to decorate our rooms. Colors of Year are being chosen for external paint too, and the shade range of stains and outdoor paints is growing and growing. 

It's a commitment choosing paint ideas for the outside of your home. More so than any space inside, so it's understandable that we tend to fall back on 'safe' colors – plain neutrals or the colors that are already there. But we want this gallery of ideas and expert advice to inspire a change. We asked designers and paint experts what they think are the best colors for the exterior of a house and these were their top choices and ideas. 

1. Go for a timeless look with softer shades

Exterior of a white house with terracotta roof

(Image credit: Molly Rose)

Here we are talking about going bold with your external paint ideas and the first suggestion is a soft neutral. But bold doesn't need to mean bright colors and clashing shades, because you do want your home to look classic and welcoming and for some styles, a softer shade just works best. 

But we say follow the color trends of 2024 and shift away from using a brilliant white as so many homes do, and choose a softer, gentler color like the palest of yellow, a soft beige or a cream. As Bailey Oates, Colour Expert at Earthborn Paints explains, 'Neutral tones are a great choice when it comes to paint for the exterior of a property – offering a clean, timeless look that will stand the test of time. Alternatively, for those looking for a more playful result, pastel colors like baby pink and lemon yellow will shine in sunlight, and look beautiful when flowerbeds or bushes are in bloom.'

2. Consider the whole scheme as you would indoors

House painted in lilac with a black door and white pillars

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

'Don’t let decorating the exterior be an afterthought, as well as weatherproofing and protecting your home, it’s a fantastic way to add design personality and curb appeal.' explains Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director of Little Greene. And we couldn't agree more. 

'Gone are the days of only being able to find masonry paint in limited colors; our Intelligent Masonry Paint is available in the extensive Little Greene color palette, so homeowners can really create a unique exterior design scheme. In the same way you would look at paint colors alongside curtain fabrics and furnishings, consider the architectural elements of your exterior too: do you have red or yellow tone bricks, limestone or granite walls, what color are your roof tiles? Build these into your design scheme to ensure your paint choices are complementary.'

Helen Shaw, Director of Marketing and color expert at Benjamin Moore, agrees, 'Whilst much of our focus is centered around our interiors, the front of your home can – in comparison – feel like an afterthought. Painting the exterior of your house not only looks good but also offers practical benefits; it ensures the woodwork is protected against the natural elements and extends the life of your woodwork. Although the go-to paint is often a white or off white, choosing a bolder color is a great way of creating a feature, especially if you have beautiful doors or windows in your property.'

3. Pick the right paints

Patio with white walls and outdoor sofa

(Image credit: Julie Soefer/Marie Flanigan)

As well as considering paint colors for the exterior of a house, it is also important to think about how to paint a house exterior.

'Painting an exterior is not just about choosing the right colors, it’s also about choosing the right paint finishes, after all, this finish needs to protect the building as well as decorate it!’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene

‘Exterior paint is essentially your home’s protection from the elements, so it’s vital to select paints that not only look fantastic and have a superb finish, but that are also durable, practical and formulated to withstand the test of time, harsh weather conditions in winter and the baking UV light of mid-summer.’

‘For brick, stone or rendered walls, a masonry paint is required, extremely durable and water-resistant, it offers effective protection from the elements, and benefits from being highly dirt-resistant, with its anti-fungal and anti-ageing properties ensuring it looks good for longer,’ continues Ruth. ‘If you’re unsure about choosing the right paint finishes for your home, consider an all surface primer.'

4. Colonial style home? Keep it classic with white

Colonial Style House in Virginia

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Classic and timeless, you can't go wrong with white for colonial style houses. One of the most popular paint colors for the exterior of a house, it suits almost all house styles from colonial homes to new builds.

‘Refreshing the exterior of the house can instantly transform your property and add value to it. External features such as window ledges, door surrounds and gate posts can all be painted with the same formulation and color to create a uniform look,’ says Matthew Brown, color consultant at Sadolin & Sandtex

5. Select red for farmhouse vibes

colored house exterior

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have a farmhouse or even farm-style barns on your property, then red is a classic house paint color. While it would make a bold statement in the city, in the countryside, red is a timeless choice.

Red is the traditional color for farmhouses. Before paint was readily available, farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil which was often mixed with red iron oxide to seal the barn's exterior and kill any fungi. This addition turned the barn a rich red color. Today's red house paint color is an attractive nod to the tradition.

'Throughout New England, the Midwest, and other dairy farming regions, the farmhouse trend of weathered red as an exterior color (with white trim) still earns powerful nostalgic reactions from homeowners and especially their guests,' adds Baron Christopher Hanson, luxury South Florida Realtor at EchoFineProperties.

6. Brighten a timeless gray exterior with white accents

exterior of house painted gray with white accents

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gray is one of the most elegant and durable paint colors for the exterior of a house. However, if you select the wrong shade it can look dark and unappealing. Therefore, if deciding on gray for the exterior of your home, also factor in ways to brighten the look. 

Select a gray with warmer, silvery undertones and pair with a clean white gloss for the trim, porches, window frames and door frames to catch the eye and brighten your home's exterior. 

'Aesthetically paint will highlight outstanding features,' explains Helen Shaw. 'As well as your windows and doors consider the soffits, barge and facia boards where the roof line meets the brickwork. You can opt for one tone for the whole of the exteriors or pair two complimentary colors and pick out the features in the bolder shade. Don’t forget the finishing touches, a new coat of paint for your fence, front gate and metal guttering can make all the difference.'

7. Select a color to help your house sell faster

Classic American Home in a traditional subdivision setting

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are looking to sell your home, then when it comes to picking paint colors for the exterior of a house, the advice is the same as that for painting the interior of a house. 

Painting your house white inside and out is always the best way to sell any property faster. White is also a neutral color that reflects light, allowing landscaping and trim colors to stand out whilst making every room of your house look bigger and reflect even more light indoors. 

'White is also a tabula rasa color that allows buyers to envision their own color palette, skin tones, artwork, and furnishings. If buyers wish to paint a room or wall or door or shutter any different color, white as a base coat is always best,' says Baron Christopher Hanson. 'The advice we give to every seller in any market is simple: paint it all white, inside and out, with one pop of color, and your home will appeal to far more buyers.

8. Select a sunny shade to bring year-round cheer

colored house exterior

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yellow is a cheery shade that will brighten any home. A favorite shade for interiors – you can't beat yellow room ideas – it also looks great on the exterior of your home.

However, if considering yellow paint colors for the exterior of a house, it is important to carefully consider tone. There is a lot of color variation with regards to decorating with yellow, from a creamy off-white through to vibrant lemon. When choosing paint colors for the exterior of a house, opt for a lighter shade, with mustardy undertones and avoid anything garish – temper the look with a clean white trim. 

'With its bold nature, yellow is a fantastic shade to couple with soft greys as it adds class and intrigue to any outside space. Mixing these shades together through exterior paint can create an immediate, contemporary and on trend exterior space with minimal effort,' adds Matthew Brown.

9. Choose blue for an uplifting welcome

colored house exterior

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Blue is one of our favorite paint colors for the exterior of a house. While it is still a fairly neutral shade, drawing on the same tones and whites and grays, it will still stand out on your street.

'The rule of thumb is typically to paint your house with colors of your surrounding environment. For instance, you’ll see many beach houses painted a light blue, whereas in the mountains you’ll see a lot more brown,' says Matt Woods, co-founder and CEO of SOLD.com.

'In fact, many Homeowner Associations have rules that their homes must be painted to match their surroundings. This goes for aspects of the exterior such as the trim and the shutters, and is meant to help your home look more natural in its environment.'

10. Opt for on trend griege

greige house with white trim and blue door

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Greige, a mix of gray and beige, is having a real moment. The beige-gray color trend is taking interiors by storm and is also one of the best paint colors for the exterior of a house. Greige works well with many different styles and is an interesting, yet neutral shade.

An added benefit of selecting greige paint colors for the exterior of a house is that it leaves you free to be more creative with your front door color ideas. Every color from warm reds, pinks and oranges through to cooler greens and blues will look great set against a greige house. 

11. Choose a dramatic yet soft off-black

black cladded cottage with white trims

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For a modern look, consider dark paint colors for the exterior of a house. However, you need to be careful when opting for darker shades, especially if you live in a warm part of the country. '

Dark colors absorb both light and heat, and as such will make your home feel warmer. While this is a great choice if you live in a cooler place where you are actively trying to increase the insulation of your home, dark colors should be avoided if you want to keep your home cool. For these houses, light colors are better for as they help to reflect light and keep your home cool.

'Trend-wise we have seen a move towards darker exteriors in more urban environments. Off blacks and deep greys have become very popular and are often used on all exterior woodwork making the property stand out in a subtle way,' explains Helen.


How many colors should a house exterior have?

The house exterior should have at least two colors, one for the trim and one for the body. However, don't go over board. ‘Excluding the roof, the exterior of a house should have no more than three colors,’ recommends Melanie Hartmann, owner of Creo Home Buyers.

What exterior colors make a house look bigger?

Bright, neutral colors like whites and pale colors will help to make a house look bigger. Just as when it is used for interiors, bright, light colors such as whites, light grays, and even pale yellows will reflect light and help to make your property appear larger.

Holly Reaney
Content Editor and Sub-editor

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.