Exterior Color Scheme Round-up!
Our exteriors, specifically the exteriors’ color scheme, are the introduction to our home. The “hello” before you ever even cross the threshold, if you will. The exterior color scheme of a house is the first thing that draws attention. “Curb Appeal” is a real thing! It’s not just a show on TV. If you have ever purchased or sold a home, you know this already even if you aren’t fully aware of it.
Not only that, exterior color schemes should reflect the architecture and styling of the interior design tucked away behind the front door. This includes paint colors! In fact, it’s vital that the exterior paint colors and the undertones of materials be a seamless flow from exterior to interior. This creates a more cohesive design. Needless to say, it’s why I stay busy with my Exterior Color Consultations!
How to Create an Exterior Color Scheme
Just like anything with design, creating an exterior color scheme is not an exact science or formula. Otherwise, people wouldn’t need to hire me, right? First, think through what your goals are. Are you looking to lighten and brighten? Do you need some contrast? Do you prefer light trim or dark trim? This is a good starting place.
Then, take stock of the undertones of your existing elements (stone, brick, siding, roof, etc.) that are not changing. Whatcha workin’ with? 😉 For instance, if you have earthtones, stay in the same basic realm of earthtones. Or, pick a color that is opposite the earthtones on the color wheel. A quick example: if you have some orange undertones present in your stone, consider a blue-gray for an accent color as a complement.
As I mentioned, your exterior and interior should coordinate and be a good flow from outside to inside. It doesn’t have to be a perfect “match,” but stay in the same general color scheme. If you are starting with a gray exterior, don’t switch to beige for the interior and vice versa.
My goal with this post is to give some good examples of exterior “before and afters” so that you can implement these schemes for your home. So, in the spirit of the New Year, here is a round-up of some of my favorite Exterior Color Consultation transformations from my clients from the past year. All of these exteriors went from “so-so” to spectacular with a design vision and a fresh coat of paint. Keep scrolling to see my 3 of my top exterior color schemes!
Exterior Color Scheme #1- Classic White Main Body + Dark Gray Trim
White is classic. It just is. It won’t ever go out of style. However, it’s definitely having a “moment” right now because it’s trending all over the map for exteriors (and interiors!). My favorite thing about white exterior color schemes is the wow factor that it has. It’s bright and bold and it creates high contrast, especially paired with darker trim and building materials just like my client’s home.
My client contacted me wanting a fresh look for her exterior color scheme. She had stucco with a mix of stone. As you can see from the picture below, the paint color of the stucco was a bit stuck in the “Tuscan” era with a warmer and more golden-beige undertone. Since the stone was a fixed element that was not changing, I also had to consider the undertones in the stone. The front door was staying a darker stain, which I loved! Keeping all of this in mind, I went to work with a color scheme plan…
I landed on Greek Villa SW 7551 as the main body color with Porpoise SW 7047 as the trim (fascia/soffit) color. Greek Villa is a creamy white that casts more of a cream undertone on interior walls. However, on exteriors it looks more like a white with a touch of warmth. Exteriors get more direct light and therefore colors appear lighter and brighter. This is a good pro tip to keep in mind when narrowing down color options for the exterior color scheme. Of course, don’t forget to sample the colors as well!
Greek Villa as the main body color on the stucco on my client’s home created a perfect juxtaposition against the darker stone and trim while significantly brightening up the exterior of her home. Porpoise is a darker gray/greige that pulls out the same undertones in the stone. Not only does it coordinate with the stone, but it also coordinates and blends well with the gray roof shingles.
The “after” picture speaks for itself. My client was beyond happy with the results and had THREE different neighbors literally knock on her door because of how amazing her exterior color scheme looked! Keep this color combination in mind for a fresh and updated exterior feel for your home.
Exterior Color Scheme #2- White Main Body/Trim + Blue Accents
As I’ve mentioned, (did I mention it? Ha!) white is a top trend for homes and this exterior project was one of my top picks this year. Going all white on the main body AND the trim is definitely the way to go if using pops of color is a goal for the exterior. This next home has accent colors in dark blue-gray and a softer blue for the front door. You are going to want to see this reveal!
This client contacted me wanting a refresh for her exterior. Similar to my first highlighted client, she had an outdated exterior color scheme and wanted a brighter and more updated look. The home was a colonial style with a darker tan hardie plank siding, a dark gray roof and black shutters. She was already planning to update the shutters and lighting to a more modern style, so the paint color was the only missing puzzle piece!
Since my client was already leaning towards Snowbound for the main body and trim white, I confirmed with her that it would work well. My goal was to nail down the accent color for the shutters and the front door. Grays Harbor is a dark blue-gray that is one of my “tried and true” accent colors for both interior and exterior color schemes because it has such a gorgeous depth and undertone.
For the front door, going with Quietude added a softer look and tied in well with the darker Grays Harbor on the shutters. Since the main body and trim was white, I could have some fun with pops of color. Quietude has become a fan-favorite for front doors and I’ve had several clients fall in love with it, including this one!
Ta-da!! Updated and fresh. My client was thrilled and she knocked it out of the park with the added portico and modern farmhouse lighting! This exterior color scheme is beyond any doubt one to duplicate for your home if the conditions (design undertones/elements) are right.
Exterior Color Scheme #3- Two-Tone Greige + Cream Trim
Two-tone color schemes on exteriors are eye-catching and especially appealing on split-level/multi-story homes and apartment buildings. Greige is still going strong as a popular color choice and I personally love it for it’s versatility and because of how well it turned out on this next exterior. My final exterior color scheme highlight is a split-level home and had some challenges that we were able to work thorough with the use of color. Check it out!
My client on this project was a dream to work with. There were some challenges with the split-level home and she was so amazing through the whole process! The existing stone was an element to consider with the color choices while still seeking an updated look. The goal was to create contrast with the colors and to freshen up the feel of the exterior color scheme.
When I started out, I wanted to stay warmer since the existing stone was definitely on the warm side, along with the window trim. I ended up settling on Warm Stone for the upper main level and Anew Gray for the lower level. Both colors have greige undertones and coordinate nicely together for a cohesive exterior paint color scheme. They pulled out the more taupe/greige undertones in the stone instead of the beige.
Wool Skein is a beige that actually appears more creamy on exteriors. Remember, colors get lighter on exteriors because of the natural lighting! The trim is a perfect contrast against the Warm Gray and Anew Gray. Using a bright white would be too stark and the cream undertone in the Wool Skein trim works well.
Needless to say, my client was delighted with the finished product. Creating contrast with split-level homes is not only achievable, but it’s also fun. The key is making sure there is plenty of pop against the “levels” and the trim, just as you see in my client’s “after” picture.
Final Thoughts on Exterior Color Schemes
These are only 3 of my top “before and after” exterior color schemes from this past year or so. Keep checking my Portfolio and my Instagram page for more exterior inspiration. Seeing my client’s exteriors get a fresh look with a coat of paint is amazing and truly makes a world of difference. Another reason that I love my job!
If you are considering refreshing your exterior and have some colors in mind, the best way to test them out is with our exclusive Rugh Design Peel & Stick Paint Samples. The paint samples are hand painted with 2 coats of the REAL Sherwin-Williams color and are 12×12 in size, perfect for sampling color before you take the dive into gallons of paint.
If you are still having trouble deciding, contact me for a Color Consult to nail down the best color for your interior or exterior. I have a passion for color and love being able to help clients find the right color to make their home beautiful!