Be honest: when was the last time you really thought about the *outside* of your house? While we're naturally major proponents of decorating our interiors to the nines (and spend a lot of time mulling over them, as a result). But it's not right that our homes' exteriors should be so ignored—after all, first impressions matter, whether you're welcoming guests for the first time or hoping to stand out as a memorable property to potential homebuyers.
But repainting your home's exterior is a big decision (and a major undertaking, to say the least). So it's critically important to pick a color you'll actually like...as well as one that won't stick out like a sore thumb in your neighborhood. (Angry calls from the HOA are never fun.) And if your abode is from a specific time period or mimics a classic historical style, things can get even more complicated from there—will a bright red front door look out-of-place next to some neoclassic columns? Do you *have* to stick to traditional shades when repainting a Colonial? These questions could make any homeowner want to put off repainting until next spring.
But never fear. We caught up with a few of our favorite designers to get the scoop on their most tried-and-tested home exterior hues—so you can paint confidently, without changing your mind in a season or two (or causing a commotion with the neighbors).
Read on for our favorite designer-endorsed exterior paint colors, and then go forth and give your home a fresh coat—and a facelift.
Meet the Expert
- Ashley Clark is the founder of sKout, an interior design studio and homewares shop of the same name.
- Kishani Perera founded her namesake design studio after graduating from UCLA and was named one of LA's Top Designers of 2019 by the Hollywood Reporter.
- Cortney Bishop is the owner and principal designer of Charleston-based Cortney Bishop Design.
- Natalie Ebel is a designer and the co-founder of direct-to-consumer paint brand Backdrop.
Benjamin Moore Simply White
Ashley Clark of sKout loves "Simply White" for exteriors—and considering its popularity among designers both for indoors and out, she's not alone. "It's soft without being yellow," she explains. Another perk: it's great for upping your curb appeal and making your landscaping seem all the more enticing. "It proves to be a great palette with landscaping and exterior decor—it makes your plants really pop," she notes.
Dunn Edwards Jet
On the flip side, Clark favors the deep dark shade "Jet" for creating drama. "It's my go-to color," she says, especially when paired with her previous pick. "I like the contrast it creates with Simply White," she explains. "Depending on the lighting and location, it's not black, but the perfect dark, dark charcoal."
Benjamin Moore Deep Creek
Designer Kishani Perera keeps coming back to this shade, which was the perfect mix of classic and modern to add some character to the garage of this Hollywood Hills home. "I wanted to select a shade that referenced not only the history of this house, but also felt in harmony with the nature that surrounded it," she explains. "I’ve always associated olives and green tones with a classic Spanish home, but wanted an earthy shade—the undertones of green found in Deep Creek accomplished everything I was hoping to with its muted coloring, which was rich but subtle."
Benjamin Moore Crownsville Gray
Another hue with a sense of history, Perera was drawn to this shade for a 1920 Spanish home's trim because of its warmth. "We opted to keep the tones lighter and softer for a more modern, urban feel, but still wanted a richness and warmth. Crownsville gray was the perfect taupe-y olive, with a freshness and contemporary feel, to reference the past while hinting at the updated interiors within," she says.
Farrow & Ball School House White
Designer Cortney Bishop admits that she definitely plays favorites when it comes to exterior whites. "I’m using a lot of Farrow & Ball School House White in my recent projects," she says. "It’s an old-school white that seems familiar and cozy, but still bright enough to make a statement along a street full of homes. It’s definitely not a cool white, but a neutral off-white that’s surely timeless!"
Farrow & Ball Wevet
For a white that feels a little more current, Bishop opts for another Farrow & Ball favorite: "Wevet", so named after the Dorset word for spiderweb, owing to its slightly grey, almost gossamer appearance. "When I'm working on a more modern project, Wevet tends to be my go-to choice. It's sophisticated while also being familiar. It's not overly striking but does have a chicness to it that reads clean and crisp," she notes.
Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron
"Wrought Iron and I go way back!" says Bishop. "Many of my clients are drawn to a black and white house, and rather than revving up the contrast with a deep, dark hue, I often introduce Wrought Iron. It's a slightly muted version of true black, making it a great alternative when you want to make a statement rich in warmth and depth that adds just enough drama," she describes.
Backdrop After Hours
Another beloved designer shade that's dark yet full of character: After Hours from direct-to-consumer paint newcomer Backdrop. Natalie Ebel, a designer and the co-founder of the brand, describes the color as "a soft, charcoal black" that she loves using in a semi-gloss finish. "Outdoors you want to create a clean contrast against landscaping, tiling, even the sunset," she says, so high-contrast hues are a go-to. "Using After Hours on doors gives entry points some cool drama."