Refreshing your exterior paint can be a gratifying way to transform your house without a full renovation. Though getting your house painted won't be cheap, it can turn out to be one of the most cost-effective ways to upgrade your curb appeal. But, picking the right color can be more nerve-wracking than selecting an interior paint color, since your choice is on display for your entire neighborhood.
It can seem like there are endless things to consider when picking out an exterior paint color. For example, Liz MacPhail, founder and principal designer at Liz MacPhail Interiors, says, "We always consider the neighboring houses when deciding on an exterior paint color." On top of that, it is important to consider your house's material and its overall condition.
Meet the Expert
- Liz MacPhail is the founder and principal designer at Liz MacPhail Interiors.
- Louis Duncan-He is the principal designer and creative director at Louis Duncan-He Designs.
To help you pick a color, we asked the pros for their advice. Read on for inspiration to revamp your exterior.
Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray
If you like to keep things classic, but you want something that offers a little bit of intrigue, consider a shade such as Benjamin Moore's Stonington Gray. A favorite among all of our designers, Louis Duncan-He, principal designer and creative director at Louis Duncan-He Designs, calls this color "a great in-between."
"It is not too gray and not too light, and it has a nice mix of warmth and coolness so is highly adaptable," he says.
Benjamin Moore White Dove
Designer Liz MacPhail loves Benjamin Moore's White Dove because it's simple, neutral, and easy to work with. It is a lovely, cool-toned white paint color that works wonderfully with a pop of color on a front door or window trim.
Farrow & Ball Railings
If you want a shade that's a bit more modern and eye-catching, don't be afraid to go dark, Aly Morford, the co-founder of Pure Salt Interiors, says.
“We love Farrow & Ball Railings when we want a darker shade or an accent area," she says. "It has a nice charcoal color with just enough blue that it exudes warmth."
When opting for a dark paint color like Railings, keep your trim crisp and white for the best contrast.
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
Leigh Lincoln, the co-founder of Pure Salt Interiors, can't get enough of Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. “Hands down, it is is our favorite white, not only for exteriors but interiors as well," she explains. "It’s a very crisp white and really makes a statement."
This shade of white is perfect for a modern farmhouse or a more traditional home and pairs wonderfully with cool shades like blue or purple.
Benjamin Moore China White
If you like whites that feature a little more of a warm tint to them, consider Benjamin Moore China White. Maggie Griffin, the founder and lead designer at Maggie Griffin Design, loves this shade because it offers a warm, approachable feel and can be easily paired with bolder colors.
Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray
When not opting for a bright white, Griffin loves Sherwin Williams Repose Gray. "This shade is warm gray that looks fantastic with a crisp white trim," she says. Depending on the time of day, Repose Gray can appear almost white, making it a versatile shade that adds a bit of depth to your home.
There is something incredibly cheerful and welcoming about a blue house, but for most, a bright blue may be too much. Instead, Griffin says, consider Sherwin Williams Naval.
"This color gives a decidedly nautical and preppy feel. And when paired with bright white trim, it really sings," she says.
Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray
Stephanie Lindsey designer at Etch Design Group loves using Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray because of how versatile it is.
"It's a lovely neutral that provides warmth and can be applied to any number of different architectural styles," she explains. This color works as well on midcentury modern homes as it does on new builds or contemporaries.
Benjamin Moore Brick Red
When it comes to painting brick, the designer world is torn. Some traditionalists say you should never mess with brick, while others love refreshing it with a coat of paint. Joy Williams, principal at Joyful Designs Studio thinks a color like Benjamin Moore Brick Red is a great compromise.
"Our client wanted to maintain the color of red brick for the home, and this color worked well for the period because the home is historic," she says. "Red can be hot or subdued. It can add a burst of life to a space or an air of sophistication depending on the tone."
If you're feeling bold, Travis Nolan of Old Crow Painting recommends experimenting with a color such as Sherwin-Williams Begonia.
"Coral is gorgeous and adds an eye-catching pop of color that makes a great canvas for white and black trim," he says. "It's also a great color to paint a door when juxtaposed with popular gray and green bodies."
Sherwin-Williams Pure White
Amanda Smith, designer with BCN Homes, says Sherwin-Williams Pure White is by far one of the most popular colors they work with. "This shade has yet to fail us as an exterior white. It is crisp while not blinding and clients continue to gravitate towards it as it is refreshing," she says.
This color is a very bright, clean white that doesn't have a lot of undertone to it so it can pair wonderfully with nearly any accent color.
Sherwin-Williams Cornwall Slate
When designing this home, Smith was searching for a neutral green that felt natural and unassuming. Sherwin-Williams Cornwall Slate felt like the perfect compromise between a classic gray and a bolder color like green.
Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog
If you're hunting for a trending exterior color, Duncan-He says you should definitely consider green. "I love green because it's such a prominent natural color, but has the ability to be tempered and works way better as an off-neutral," he says.
Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog is a gray-based green that will give your home just enough pop of color while still feeling traditional and classic.
One fun way to revamp your home's exterior is by painting your front door. A color like Sherwin-Williams Charisma is a great eye-catching peachy coral that works well with warm or cool neutral colors.
Sherwin-Williams Web Gray
A rich gray such as Sherwin-Williams Web Gray offers a neutral base so it pairs with warm or cool undertones. Here, a coral door acts as a great contrast to the deep gray. Opting for a dark color like Web Gray can help a smaller house look and feel more sustainable, especially if it's set back from the curb.
Looking for a great color for your front porch? Nolan says, "You can't go wrong with a classic Haint blue—especially in the south."
A breezy hue like Sherwin-Williams Swimming is a conversation starter and a light and airy color that plays well with whites or grays.
Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron
Depending on the light, Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron can look black or gray. We love it for a front door when you want to create more depth to your exterior. It works well with lighter shades of gray or whites and can give your home a more traditional, stately feel.
Benjamin Moore Soot
Amber Miller, a designer and realtor from Threshold Homes Minneapolis, MN, says Benjamin Moore Soot is her all-time favorite exterior color.
"Soot has graced the exterior of more than half a dozen renovations I’ve designed," she shares. "There’s something so striking about it when paired with white trim. From stucco bungalows to 1 ½ story Cape Cods and single-level cottages, it never fails to draw compliments."