Which exterior paint colors make your home look more expensive? 6 tips from designers and color experts

The paint color of your home's exterior is an important decision, you want it to look elegant and expensive, so here we asked designers and color experts for their top picks

Three images of house exterior colors in white, black and pink
(Image credit: Farrow & Ball/Avery Nicole)

When it comes to choosing your exterior paint colors you of course want it to be timeless and chic. It's a big, costly job that you need to commit to so you need your choice to withstand ever-changing trends, and work with the surroundings and other shades going on in the space. All of this really translates to cool that's going to make your home look expensive.

Luxurious color schemes aren't limited to your rooms, the outside of your home can have (and in fact should have) just as much attention and consideration. So we spoke with designers and color experts about the best exterior paint colors that will make your house look more expensive and elevated.

1. Choose colors that work with the home's style

Pink house with dark red accents and wrap around verander

(Image credit: Avery Nicole)

The key to ensuring your exterior paint looks expensive is to look at the bigger picture. This was the advice from so many of the experts actually, not every color works for every style of home. So consider the period, the details, and the surroundings when making your decision.

However, that doesn't mean you always need to play it safe. Designer Sarah Stacey, didn't go for just neutrals with this characterful home, but she choose colors that worked with the period in which the home was built.

She explains, 'We recently worked on a historical property and chose colors that were accurate to the period of the property. One of our favorite combinations from that project was Cabbage Rose and Rookwood Dark Red by Sherwin Williams. The dark red on the trim with the rosy pink on the siding really brought that rich saturation and tonal contrast that we love oh so much!'

2. Go for natural and earthy colors

Exterior of a white house with terracotta roof

(Image credit: Molly Rose)

This speaks to a wider color trend happening in 2024, we are moving away from pure neutrals to softer, earthy tones like creams, beiges, terracotta and tan notes, and pale greens. These muted shades are all ones that will make the exterior of your home look more expensive.

Founder of Dmar Interiors, Mollie Ranize explains, 'For a few years, there was a huge surge in pure white exteriors, which if done on the proper architecture, or in the proper location (I see you, Santorini!), can still work well, however in this time of warming things up a bit, we are loving whites with a slight tan undertone. It creates the perfect lived-in, classic look that feels significantly softer and more welcoming. This exterior looks effortlessly crisp thanks to Sherwin Williams, White Duck.'

Bailey Oates, Colour Expert at Earthborn Paints agrees, 'A great way to breathe new life into a property is by painting its exterior. Opting for neutral shades like cream and ecru can yield a soft and sophisticated finish. On the other hand, earthy tones such as greens, taupes, or greys create a more natural, timeless look that seamlessly blends with the surroundings, exuding tranquillity and elegance.'

3. Pick a soft yet dramatic off black

Black panelled house with pale blue door

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

In fashion, black is known as the chicest, most expensive-looking color and the same goes for interiors (when used in the right spaces). But similar to what's happening with on-trend white paints being softer and warmer than what we have seen in the past, the most popular black paints are easier to use, off blacks. These colors make for super sophisticated exterior paints and can really boost curb appeal.

'I’m seeing the same tendencies on the exterior as we are feeling on the interior. A softening of the palette from stark white to soft white, true black to brown-black, and an increased use of stone and wood. Organic materials and colorings are setting the palettes as nature takes hold in our homes. My favorites are Sherwin Williams Shoji White and Iron Ore,' says Shelagh Conway, Principal and Founder of Triple Heart Design.

Amy Elbaum of AE Design agrees,' I have two favorite exterior paint colors – the first being Benjamin Moore White Dove and the second being Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain. They are opposites but both work for different reasons. To me, a white house is timeless. White Dove has a warmth about it that can work with so many different trim or accent colors. It will never go out of style and will always provide great curb appeal.'

'Iron Mountain is a soft black paint that provides some amazing drama to your exterior and gives it a modern edge. Black homes are not as common and can really make your house stand out. It is a really versatile black that works with both cool and warm colors.'

4. Co-ordinate your paint with any existing colors

Brick house painted white with terracotta roof

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

To ensure your exterior colors look expensive, look at the rest of the tones going on. Just as you would with room colors, see it like a whole scheme and consider how certain colors will fit into that. Look at the colors of the roof, the trims, any balconies or verandas, your driveway, front door, and windows. It's not all in the color of the walls.

'Context is paramount for exterior paint colors (and all design decisions). While trends come and go, a home's style and beauty is meant to last through cycles of taste and trends, and should emanate from the dominant architectural features and its facade,' explains Mindy O'Connor, principal and Founder of Melinda Kelson O'Connor Architecture & Interiors.

'Make sure to coordinate your color palette with the existing tones in the stone or brick foundation of your home, the roof, and any trim or details. A paint scheme based on a white clapboard farmhouse look with black trim does not lend itself to every architectural style or exterior material. Stone and brick homes require a different sensibility, as do beach cottages or intricate Victorian woodwork, and the neighborhood, climate, and size of the house also help dictate which colors will feel most natural and sophisticated.'

5. Pick a timeless white paint that will always look expensive

Poolside outdooring living room

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Note so far that very few bolder shades have been mentioned. While of course there are brighter shades that look fabulous as exterior colors, when it comes to timeless, expensive-looking shades, neutrals reign. And there's nothing more timeless than the perfect shade of white.

Designer Marie Flanigan swears by a classic – Sherwin Williams' Greek Villa, which is also one of Sherwin William's best sellers. She says, 'Sherwin Williams Greek Villa is a fantastic choice for your exterior because it's a warm white with depth. Its subtle warmth adds charm, while the hints of depth prevent it from feeling stark or flat. This versatile color pairs beautifully with different architectural styles, ensuring your home stands out while maintaining a classic look.'

6. Choose colors that compliment the surroundings

Exterior of pink house over pool with blue striped umbrellas

(Image credit: Brittany Dawn Photography)

Let your color scheme be inspired by what's going on in the nature around it too. This will always lead to a cohesive and expensive-looking exterior.

'When deciding a color palette for countryside properties, it always feels more sympathetic to draw on the natural environment and choose tones which mimic the environs,' explains Helen Shaw, Director of Marketing at Benjamin Moore.

'We have such beautiful colors in our rural settings where deep greens, berry reds, and grey-browns will add a beautiful warmth to homes and complement the outside world rather than distract from it. Bricked frontage houses look particularly aesthetic with doors in deep rich colors which nod to the period that they were built and will complement the original brickwork.'

Choosing an exterior paint color to make your home look more expensive is something you shouldn't rush. Take all the advice above into consideration and take your time with it, order swatches, and ask for advice from those doing the job. Look at the style of your house, the colors of the houses surrounding it, the natural elements, and any other colors or materials on the exterior. It's a big commitment and one you want to last.

Head of Interiors

I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learned I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.