What Are the Most Used Exterior House Colors?

3D render of off white house.
3D render of off white house.
Image ©Ewa Wysocka-Galka/iStockphoto, ©2008 HowStuffWorks Photos

The house is looking a bit drab these days. So, ­you're thinking about sprucing it up. A new coat of paint, or hey, a whole new color might do the trick. But how can you make the best decision possible when choosing that new color?

In general, most people tend to play it safe with their choice of house color. They tend to pick colors that are light. Today, and in recent history, white is the most popular trend in home coloring.


White is almost always a sure thing as it's a clean color that shows up well and has the potential to be personalized with vivid borders. When taking shutters and trim into account, white and blue has proven to be a household favorite for years [source: Behr]. The combination makes sense as white is already popular on its own and blue is such a versatile companion.

There are hundreds of shades of blue, all of which match white well. Deciding among them depends on two main factors. One of these factors is your preference, along with the mood you're trying to create. The second depends on your climate. In the south, bright vivid blues work well in the more open and bright landscapes. Up north, deeper grey-blues fit into landscapes populated by evergreens and match the skies of the seasonal weather [source: Behr].

Other popular colors of house exteriors are cream, beige, yellow and light-hued versions of grey, blue and green. Among darker colors, brown is quite popular.

You may want to keep a few things in mind when you're choosing your exterior paint color. While it's OK to stand out and have a look of your own, you certainly don't want to clash with the surrounding homes. Not only will this hurt the value of p­roperties in your neighborhood, but it could also result in disgruntled neighbors. Light trims are good for reflecting the sun's heating and lighting effects. Also, if you have a large home on a small lot, as is the case in many tight suburban subdivisions, light-colored homes can make this size difference even more dramatic. Darker tones can help balance the home and land [source: Sherwin Williams].

­So whether you want to blend in with the style of the area, or stand out in a sea of homes, you now know what colors are mainstream and what factors you should take into account when making your decision. Now get out your roller and start painting.

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House Colors FAQ

What is the most popular color for a house exterior?
Blue-Gray is the most popular color for a house exterior. This trend became popular in the last decade. Today, designers merge their tones to create a welcoming color. The hue complements wood trim and stonework.
How do you pick exterior house colors?
Usually, it is a good practice to use three colors for exterior house colors. Most homeowners think that these hues must be different, but it is not always the case.
What exterior house colors are trending?
The trending colors are: light blue, bold red, black and white, white, black and earth tones.
What color looks best with wood?
Neutral colors work well with natural wood details, whether you have stain-grade trim or cabinets. Beiges, whites and greens are also good choices. The best colors are the warmer ones like red and orange in deeper tones.

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More Great Links

  • Behr. "Blue and White." (Accessed 12/14/2008).http://www.behr.com/Behr/home#vgnextoid=00b0108959d59110VgnVCM1000006b0910acRCRD;channel=INSPIRATION;view=6
  • Sherwin Williams. "Color Tips: Choosing Exterior House Colors." (Accessed 12/14/2008).http://www.sherwin.com/press/consumer/story/story3/#q6648
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation. "How do I paint my historic home?" (Accessed 1/08/09)http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/faq/historic-homes/paint-my-historic-home.html