House exterior color scheme ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

The colour scheme you choose for the exterior of your house affects the curb appeal of your property. The exterior colour scheme should complement the architecture of your home and blend with the surrounding neighbourhood. Exterior colour schemes are made up of two to three colours. The body of the house is the largest field of colour, followed by the trim. Paint the window sashes and shutters--the movable components of the exterior--a third colour.


Sharply contrasting colour schemes work well on larger homes with symmetrically placed windows. Colour combinations, such as red and green, blue and yellow, and black and white create a visual flow that complements the size and symmetry of the architecture.

The two colours in a contrasting scheme should match in intensity. If you paint your home an antique white, for example, select a charcoal for the trim. Keeping the colour intensity on the same level creates harmony. If the shades are opposite, the contrasting colours appear disconnected.

In a contrasting colour scheme, white or yellow usually works well for the sashes and shutters. If you don't want a third colour, paint the sashes and shutters the same colour as the trim.


Using several shades of the same colour is called a monochromatic colour scheme and is a technique used by interior designers to create an atmosphere of serenity and calm. Colours that work well for this scheme include earthy browns, medium to dark blues and shades of green.

For the exterior of your home, to achieve a monochromatic scheme paint the body of the house a pale shade and the trim a darker shade of the same colour. Add a bit more colour by painting the window sashes a medium shade. This type of scheme works well on rectangular houses with numerous size windows. The monochromatic scheme creates a sense of unity among the various shapes.


A two-toned scheme uses two closely related colours in blended tones. An example of this is a green painted body with blue-green trim. This type of colour scheme works well on homes with multiple levels, such as split levels. The blended colours accent the multiple lines of the architecture without creating visual chaos.

Tonal ranges that work well in this scheme include red to orange-yellow, blue to bluish purple and brown to creamy white. Add a touch of contrast to this colour scheme by painting the door a contrasting colour, adding flower boxes to the windows and flower beds to the landscaping.

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About the Author

Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned an associate degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.