The Best Colors to Paint Your House, According to Real Estate Agents

published Nov 1, 2020
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It’s no secret that stay-at-home orders have made people want to change things up at home. Earlier this year, the first things that may have come to mind were adding an accent wall to the bedroom or getting a new rug in the living room. But a home’s curb appeal on the outside can make a big difference, too. Driving up to an Insta-worthy house that’s been freshly painted? It’s practically priceless.

That being said, homes’ exteriors tend to change much less frequently than the interiors. Large-scale alterations like paint color changes can be expensive and time consuming, so for many, it’s important that any exterior changes made to a home are lasting ones that can withstand both time and the elements. (Short-term changes like signs thanking frontline workers and holiday decorations, meanwhile, are highly encouraged.) Ahead, real estate experts list out the best colors to paint the outside of a house.

Natural colors

Black, slate, forest green, earthy brown

“I tend to prefer colors that ostensibly could occur in nature, even if they aren’t natural, per se,” says Megan Robson, a Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty agent from Missoula, Mont. “I tend to lean towards more timeless colors like whites, blacks, slates, earth tones, and complex greens for exteriors.” 

If you don’t like a stark white, there are plenty of variations that you could select—like a more natural white with some undertones of brown and green. Darker colors like grays and greens will mask dirt and other outdoor grime a little more easily, but they’re also prone to fading from the sunlight, according to Robson. 

Credit: Fotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

Neutral colors

White, gray, taupe

“My favorite exterior colors currently are pure white, a very light gray, charcoal gray, or taupe,” says Chrissy Roberts, a Washington State-based real estate agent with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “People right now are really reacting to the white and black modern farmhouse house style for a transitional look.” 

But what about something a little more fun?

If the grays, whites, and forest greens aren’t inspiring you, then it might be quite tempting to consider a more fun color to communicate your personality in the curb appeal of your home.

But according to Robson, it’s important to keep in mind that the exterior of a home is a long-term commitment—and changes can get pricey. 

“I’ve always wanted to paint my house bright pink, but I realize that if we sell it, a buyer is certainly going to have to love that color, or they’re instantly going to factor a whole house paint job into the offer price,” she continued. “In the Missoula area, that could be as much as $20,000 to $30,000, depending on the home’s size and the complexity of design.”

If you want to get the most bang for your buck by choosing a safe color for the exterior, but you still want to have some fun, you could consider painting your front door or window trimmings to add that pop that you’re looking for. 

“Here’s where you can have some fun,” Robson says. “You can do a really fun, bright accent color for the door. Warm, bright colors are welcoming and will help your house stand out. Plus, it’ll make your house easier to find, usually. It’s fun to tell the pizza guy that your house is the pink door on the left.” 

If you’re going for a pop of color on a neutral home, Roberts suggests painting the door aqua blue, charcoal blue, red, dark yellow, or periwinkle.