Exterior home colors advice from the experts at Sherwin-Williams

If you’re struggling to match your windows, front door, trim, and house color, you’ve come to the right place. We got the experts at Sherwin-Williams to share their best tips for picking out exterior home colors.
A home with black windows, iron ore exterior paint color, tricorn black trim and nearly brown accents.

Picking out house colors can feel high stakes, but you can create a more structured decision-making process for yourself with these tips from Sherwin-Williams experts Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing, and Kiki Redhead, Global CMF & Trend Manager in the Performance Coatings Group.

Where to begin?

First things first, windows last a long time. “You may change the color of your home two or three times before you change the windows and doors,” Redhead said. So, if you’re trying to decide whether to pick windows that match your current exterior or windows that match your long-term vision — go with the ones that match your vision. It will save you money in the long term.

1. Seek out color inspiration

We’re surrounded by color. Here’s how to start picking up on it:

  • Walk around your neighborhood and note the colors of the surrounding homes. What colors are associated with your region? You’ll start to notice patterns as you look around. "Consider how much you want to be a part of the landscape versus how much you want to stand out,” Redhead said.
  • Consider the nature that colors your region. Looking at plant life and landscape features can reveal color cues. For example, Wadden noted that orangey browns make a nice contrast to the moody skies and deep forests of the Pacific Northwest, and earth tones blend in nicely with the desert Southwest.
  • Dig into the history of your home’s architectural style. Looking at historic examples in books, on Pinterest, or elsewhere could reveal colors you never would have discovered otherwise. Not only that, but the colors you find will be ones that have stood the test of time.
A white stucco home with aquamarine windows and doors has a bi-folding door that opens up the family room to a raised deck and backyard swimming pool.

The aquamarine color of these E-Series windows and doors was chosen because it’s characteristic of this San Diego home’s Spanish Eclectic style, which often pairs striking blues and greens as contrast against light-colored stucco.

2. Identify the mood you want to create with your home’s exterior

“Do you want something that’s light and airy? Do you want something that’s muted? Do you want something dramatic? This is a great place to start,” Wadden said. She pointed out that knowing what you’re trying to evoke can help you identify the value (lightness or darkness of a color) and range of colors you might be interested in.

For example, the owner of the home pictured below wanted to create a bright and airy mood in her remodeled ranch house. To pull it off, she painted her brick exterior a clean white and added a mid-century-inspired natural wood front door with windows that let light into her interior.

A natural wood front door with five horizontal windows in it and a potted plant next to it makes a beautiful entrance to a white-painted brick home.

White paint and a custom natural wood front door give this remodeled ranch home a bright and airy mood that’s uplifting to look at all year round and particularly during Michigan’s long, dark winters.

3. Use your home’s fixed elements to narrow down color choices

Like windows and doors, features like gutters, garage doors, and any stone or brick integrated into your façade are more permanent and serious investments. If the fixed features on your home aren’t going to change, you’ll want to consider them when deciding on a color palette.

As you look at these features, decide if they’re warm or cool in tone (generally, warm colors are stimulating, and cool colors are calming). Thinking about color temperature can help you narrow down choices and land on the right tone. Here’s an example from Wadden:

“Let’s say you’ve got foundational brick that’s a warm red. Maybe you want a forest green on your exterior,” Wadden said. And “because your siding and brick are warmer, a colored trim or a creamy white might look more cohesive than say, a white with gray undertones, which would look cold.”

Want the experts to pick colors for you? You’re in luck! Sherwin-Williams created six color palettes that work beautifully on a home’s exterior — find them in the next section.

6 exterior color palettes from the Sherwin-Williams experts

The palettes below include colors for windows, exterior, trim, and accents. If you like the colors below, you can order our windows and doors to match these Sherwin-Williams paint colors.

Six color palettes from Sherwin-Williams include recommendations for window, exterior, accent and trim colors.

Up next: Start experimenting with window color in our design tool, or find more expert color advice to help with your front door selection.

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