Trends

The secret to pulling off a dark exterior

The trend report is in: Black is the new black, particularly when it comes to exteriors. Here’s how to pull off the look.
A modern black home with oversized windows stands out against its wooded lot.

The secret to pulling off a dark exterior is selecting the right windows and doors. Whether you’re going for monochrome or contrast, you want to make selections that add up to a cohesive look. We’ll help you get started!

Who wears it well?

Black, the classic neutral, and its range of moody counterparts complement an array of architectural styles — from modern to farmhouse and styles in between. What all these shades have in common is that they’re essentially blank canvases, which is why windows and doors play such a fundamental role.

A black farmhouse and a modern black beach house both stand out
Dark exteriors have so much going for them. Not only are they stunning to look at, but they can also complement any architectural style. They can even trick the eye by camouflaging unsightly architectural features.

Selecting your shade

Take your time choosing an exterior color. If true black doesn’t feel like you, there are other ways to achieve this sophisticated aesthetic. For instance, dark navy is still bold but perhaps more comfortable and familiar.

You’ll also want to consider the nuances between these deep shades, particularly how they’ll fade over time.

  • Black will take on dust and dirt more easily and eventually age grey.
  • Deep navy commonly patinas to a truer blue.
  • And some green-grey tones may skew more khaki as years go by.

Going monochrome

To keep a monochromatic palette, opt for dark bronze or black window frames and exterior trim. The color continuity enhances the moodiness of the dark exterior. It can also eliminate distraction and let nature shine. And if you also pick black on the interior, your windows will outline your outdoor views and frame them like a piece of art.

A modern Cape Cod with a black exterior and matching windows and doors.
Strikingly sophisticated, a monochrome look makes every other color in its vicinity pop with a welcome contrast. Landscaping looks greener. Sidewalks appear cleaner.

Playing with contrast

A dark exterior gives you the opportunity to play with vibrant, contrasting colors. One of the most classic choices is pairing a dark exterior with white trim and white window frames. If you’re feeling more adventurous, windows are the perfect place to experiment with primary colors like red, green, and blue, which all pop off an inky exterior. The beauty of playing with colorful windows is that you can be selective about which ones to highlight, or you can go all in and give every single window a pop-art finish.

A charcoal farmhouse with a natural wood front door and blue-framed windows is set in a landscape of rolling prairie.
Sky blue was the perfect pick for the windows of this little house on the prairie. Applying the color to just a few windows is such a subtle touch that it makes you look twice. Did you know: E-Series windows are available in 50 different colors.

Deciding on a door

Just like windows, opting for a bronze or black front door that complements your dark exterior will give your home uniform appeal. But you can also go the other direction and highlight the prominence of your front door with an eye-catching color. Look to your surrounding landscape for color inspiration. And remember, color isn’t the only way to achieve contrast. A natural wood entry door can warm up a sleek, black exterior beautifully.

 A black home with black windows and a green front door stands out against a landscape of prairie and woods.
To make your mark, double down on distinctive details like this home does with its smoke green door. Then, tie it all together with landscaping you love. The more decisions you make based on elements you’re already drawn to, the more timeless your home will feel.

Will it fade?

If you’re wondering whether dark exteriors are just a fad, we’re here to tell you black houses are actually a historic trend. From Scandinavia to Japan to the original 13 colonies — black homes have been around for a long time. So don’t worry about this choice making your home look dated in a few years — it's classic all around the world! Besides, windows are much longer lasting than exterior paint, which is just one more reason to take your time selecting the perfect windows.

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