The Best Exterior House Paint Colors, Based on Your Home’s Architecture

From neutrals to tonal touches, this guide covers all of the bases.

The Best Exterior House Paint Colors, Based on Your Home’s Architecture

With a rainbow of shades to choose from, finding the best exterior house paint colors can be easier said than done. For some people, a home’s exterior is an excellent opportunity to put your personal style on display for the whole block to see. But for others? You might want to choose a color that jives with your home’s architecture.

We turned to architect and Clare Trade member, Tracy A. Stone for expert tips on the most historically accurate colors to pair perfectly with your home’s exterior. “Paint is a great way to highlight the architectural style of a house, and to bring life and attention to the details of the structure,”says Tracy. “Certain historical architectural styles are definitely associated with specific color palettes, and attention to that historical association will enhance a house and bring that style to life.”

If you’re looking for a place to start, Stone and her colleague Abbi Naylor break down some of the most iconic architecture styles—and the best shades to paint them in. Just remember that, at the end of the day, a great palette lies in the eye of the beholder. “It is possible to push the boundaries of any style—[especially] if you are not located in a historical area,” Stone adds. “Paint is something that can always be changed, so we think people should have fun with it.



With a square or rectangular layout, brick or wood facade, and a series of symmetrical windows, a colonial-style home stands as a testament to refined aesthetics. This architectural style is simple, but it pays homage to America’s rich history. So, why not pair this type of home with an equally classic exterior house paint color palette?

“Colonial homes usually exude a sophisticated presence,” Stone shares. “[They] can come in a range of muted tones, but it’s hard to beat the classic white for this style.” For a happy medium between classic and modern, try black and white. A warm white like Whipped will give your siding an inviting glow, while painting your front door in Clare’s Blackish will offer a dash of drama.



The craftsman style sprouted up in the early 20th century as the antithesis to the mass-produced Victorian homes. Instead of pristine, cookie-cutter homes, a craftsman property celebrates an artful edge with low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, and thick columns that typically frame a front porch. “Craftsman homes typically incorporate natural stone and wood, so historically, they have earthy tones and incorporate three to four exterior house paint colors for the body, trim, and window sashes,” Stone explains. “These homes tend to be colorful, but still ‘blend-in’ with nature.” Her advice? The earthy, cool-tones of Daily Greens and Current Mood will look excellent with Big Apple’s rust-like hue.



As for Victorian homes? Popular in the 19th to early 20th centuries, these ornate homes prove that the devil lies in the details. While a Victorian house requires a variety of colors to highlight all the different architectural details, Naylor recommends a pared-back approach. “It’s tempting to go bright and strong with the colors, as many of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco do, but a nice approach is to keep it in a muted or monochrome palette for a cohesive look to let other features shine,” he says. If you love the color blue, try a mix of cool-toned shades like Grayish, Make Waves, and Current Mood.



Clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a low, wide footprint—let’s face it: Mid-century is one of the most in-demand architecture styles around. The look is all about bringing form and function under one (flat) roof, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of personality. Mid-century homes are practically begging for a pop of color—and Stone is all about incorporating sunny shades like Golden Hour and Fire Sign.

“After WWII, the mid-century modern style ushered in bright colors mixed in with warm neutrals,” she explains. “This style definitely allows for playful colors, but should let the natural materials of the house speak for itself.”


Modern Farmhouse

The modern farmhouse might be a newer addition to the architectural arsenal, but it pays homage to the classic country spirit with gable roofs, board and batten siding, and carriage-style doors. Neutrals might be the go-to palette here, but Naylor recommends you think outside of the black-and-white box. He says: “Instead of stark white and black, a warm neutral paired with light brown or gray complements stone and wood and brings the modern farmhouse style back to its country roots.” Unexpected basics like Neutral Territory and Dirty Chai will get the vibe just right.



Commonly found in warm climates like California and Florida, Mediterranean homes mix Italian and Spanish styles with terracotta roof tiles, stucco exteriors, ironwork, and stone details. With so many materials to choose from, Stone recommends picking a neutral exterior house paint color for the siding such as Timeless, our creamy off-white. “The other architectural features typically bring in the color and texture for this style, and darker colors don’t last as well in sunny climates,” she explains. Of course, that doesn’t mean this is a no-fun zone. “If you’re wanting some color, it’s nice to paint the window trims a pop of color such as All the Sage,” Stone says.

Looking for more exterior paint inspo? Check out: The Best Colors to Paint Your Front Door.


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