The Exterior Paint Color That Makes Your Home Look Instantly Dated, According to Real Estate Agents

published Jun 20, 2024
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Your home’s curb appeal is important for several reasons: To entice potential buyers, create a welcoming atmosphere, and enhance the general attractiveness of the place you spend most of your time. Your home’s exterior paint color (from the exterior walls, to the porch, to the garage doors) is one of its most defining qualities — it reflects your architectural style, geographical location, and personal aesthetic — and by knowing which colors to avoid, you can achieve a more modern curb appeal, which could potentially get you more money (or more interest) when trying to sell.

According to Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Jared Blumberg, the process starts with personal preference and experimentation. “I always advise clients to select a color they love, but first and foremost always test out the different options around the house,” he explains. “Think about your neighborhood. Are you aiming for cohesion or are you trying to stand out?”

Once you have a rough idea of the kind of home you want to live in, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: The outdated paint colors that won’t do well on the exterior of your home. Here are the ones experts recommend avoiding, if you can.

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Avocado Green

What once was an extremely popular paint color trend in the 1970s is no longer in style, although preserved by many homeowners. 

“It feels dated and can clash with just about anything modern,” says Blumberg. A more modern alternative to avocado green — which, hey, if you love it, you love it — is sage green, which has been proven to do well in interior home design. Avocado is a darker shade of green that Blumberg says appears too retro on the exterior of a home. 

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Golden Harvest

Similar to green, yellow is another color that can instantly date your home. More specifically, golden harvest, an even blend between yellow and gold, can appear quite dated. 

According to Blumberg, what once was a go-to neutral now feels bland and “fails to offer the crisp, clean look many homeowners seek today.” Most yellow-toned homes were popular during the Victorian era and came back in style during the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, however, the color should generally be avoided today.

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Mauve

Although beautiful for interior projects, mauve doesn’t do too well on the exterior of homes, according to U.K.-based property expert Saddat Abid

“I recently remember one property having a mauve exterior and staying on the market long after similar homes with more contemporary color palettes had moved,” he explained. “Mauve can make a home look tired and does not convey the sharp, clean look buyers are looking for today.” 

Modern Exterior Paint Color Options

You might be wondering, “So what does look good on the exterior of a home?” Don’t worry — you’re covered.

Blumberg suggests light tones, especially soft grays, to help bring a neutral yet contemporary touch to your curb appeal. For example, Sherwin Williams’s “Repose Gray” suits a house well and complements light and dark trims. If you’d rather go darker, Benjamin Moore’s “Hale Navy” offers a sophisticated yet bold take on modern homes.

Abid shares a similar sentiment, emphasizing that “navy blue gives a home such a sense of stately presence, yet feels so fresh and contemporary,” he explains. “I’ve seen tons of properties get a new life with this color, which creates a stunning visual impact against white trim or accents in natural wood.” 

By avoiding outdated colors and opting for ultramodern shades, your home could get much more interest on the real estate market. And remember — it’s your home, so if you aren’t painting to sell, do what you want (as long as your HOA won’t get mad).