Most Popular Exterior House Colors 2021
Choosing the best exterior house paint colors in 2021 can be daunting. As a homeowner, painting your home’s exterior is a big investment. Accordingly, you want to find a timeless but modern house color that maintains curb appeal for years to come.
Our expert team sorted through all of the trending colors and classic house combinations to make things easy for you. We found the 10 best exterior paint colors from popular brands like Sherwin Williams, Behr, and Benjamin Moore.
Before we dive in, Improovy just opened its newest storefront in Phoenix, Arizona! Our new Phoenix location is excited to provide a more convenient house painting experience to Phoenix-area homeowners.
Now, from what’s on-trend to classic neutral undertones, here are the 10 exterior house colors that made our 2021 list.
2021 Exterior Paint Color Criteria
Our professional designers selected exterior paint colors popular with our home painting customers that have staying power. Our experience has taught us that today’s color trends are not necessarily ones you’ll be happy with in the future. That is why our criteria incorporate both modern and classic home styles with an emphasis on versatility.
From off-whites and dark grays to navy blues and onyx black exterior trim, we’ll give you a wide range of color ideas. In the end, our goal with this list is to help you avoid the regret of choosing the wrong paint color for your home.
To achieve this, we’ll provide exterior home color photos from actual houses we’ve painted. These real-life house pictures are the best way to determine what colors you like and dislike, new trends or otherwise.
At the end of this list, we’ll show you exactly how to choose a color scheme for your home. So without further ado, let’s begin with our top 2021 house paint color, “Alabaster” from Sherwin Williams.
One of the most popular exterior colors for 2021 is Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams. Alabaster (SW 7008) is both timeless and on-trend this year as warmer, off-whites are in for exteriors. No question, this is a rare combination for any modern exterior or interior paint color.
As mentioned, it’s a warmer off-white color with some beige undertones, without looking yellow in most cases. Likewise, it’s the perfect exterior neutral tone, best suited to brighten up homes that get lots of shade. The versatile shade can be comfortably used as a siding or body color as well as a contrasting house trim color.
In addition, Alabaster is an off-white option that works well to modernize exterior brick and traditional clapboard siding. This classic color contrasts beautifully with darker toned roof shingles, navy shutters, black trim colors, or charcoal front doors.
A final key characteristic is Alabaster’s versatility. Accordingly, this creamy color plays nicely with a variety of existing exterior stone, metal, or decorative brick features.
Benjamin Moore White Dove
Inching towards the cooler off-white exterior color spectrum, we have White Dove by Benjamin Moore. This very popular white shade has hints of gray that steers it towards the cooler side of things when compared to Sherwin’s Alabaster.
However, White Dove (OC-17) is still regarded as a warm soft off-white. As an exterior paint color, you can use White Dove on your home’s siding or trim. Similar to alabaster, this trending color is best used to brighten up shaded houses. The color really pops when surrounded by greenery and contrasted with black shutters or slate-toned windows.
Tricorn Black (SW 6258) by Sherwin Williams is another popular color, traditionally used for doors and shutters as an exterior accent. These days, black exteriors are trending and Tricorn Black is a modern choice for a house body or siding color. Indeed, painting your house black can be an option for more contemporary home styles.
For the rest of us, Tricorn Black can add a touch of sophistication as a coordinating exterior trim, window, front door, gutter, or shutter color. This color really pairs well with off-whites like Pure White or Rarified Air (SW 6258).
In terms of color tones, Tricorn is a true black that falls in the neutral family. Lauded as many designer’s favorite black paint color, its lack of undertones makes it a versatile shade. This means it can pair beautifully with warm or cool tones of white, gray, or even a taupe exterior. I’ve also seen it used as a black window color with beautiful results.
Do you have a brick house that needs painting? Check out our favorite painted brick home before and after photos of the year.
Pewter Cast Gray By Sherwin
Sherwin’s Pewter Cast (SW 7673) is a cool-muted tone of gray that works well for exterior stucco, lap siding, or cedar shingles. For homes with dark gray shingles or black roofs and exposed stone or brick, this gray exterior color’s adaptability is key. It also pairs nicely with white exterior trim colors like Zircon (SW 7667).
Where this gray paint shines is when you have decorative exposed brick or stone with cooler undertones on your home. Oftentimes, it’s rare to find a gray paint color that coordinates with these elements. Pewter Gray is the perfect deep cooler-toned exterior shade for the job. Combine this gray tone with wood accents and a dark blue or brown front door for a gorgeous modern exterior color palette.
Polar Bear by Behr
As a top-selling Behr exterior paint color, Polar Bear 75 is a classic cool white tone with a hint of warm-ish pink undertones. Accordingly, it works well as a trim color to bring out natural wood tones and pops against brown trim.
You can pair Behr’s Polar Bear with a dusty blue shutter or siding color for a classic yet contemporary farmhouse color palette. Similarly, it looks great on board and batten siding styles as well. And if there isn’t a Sherwin or Ben Moore paint store nearby, this off-white neutral home color can be found at Home Depot.
Peppercorn Sherwin Williams
A wildly popular exterior dark gray house color is Sherwin Williams Peppercorn (SW 7674). While it can look dark in a fan deck or as a paint swatch, this gray lightens up on exteriors that get lots of natural sunlight. This rich, modern color is a trend-worthy option for cedar shake siding that has staying power.
Peppercorn is a crisp gray paint shade with slight red and blue undertones. Because of this, it works amazingly as a primary shade for homes with red front doors or brick chimneys. Again if you choose Peppercorn as an exterior paint color, make sure your house receives plenty of light.
Poolhouse SW 7603
Finding the best light blue house color for your exterior is tough. Poolhouse (SW 7603) by Sherwin Williams simplifies this process. It’s a fantastic medium-ish light blue paint that’s both timeless and contemporary. If you’re afraid of trending darker blue exterior shades like Hale Navy, you aren’t alone. On exteriors, Poolhouse becomes a breezy and cool medium blue shade when paired with white or off-white trim colors.
Exterior Colors Used In The Photo Above:
- Main Siding Color: Poolhouse
- Trim, Soffits, and Windows: Extra White (SW 7006)
Keep in mind, lighting plays a large role with this calming blue house color that has hints of green undertones. It looks spectacular as a siding color for traditional craftsmen or historic exteriors with plenty of lighting. Consequently, Poolhouse can bring a modern twist to any traditional Victorian home color scheme makeover.
Naval by Sherwin Williams
Another top exterior blue paint color is Naval (SW 6244). A popular medium or dark blue house color, it sits on the warmer side of the exterior color wheel. When compared to Benjamin Moore’s “Hale Navy”, Naval is more of a classic Navy with fewer grey undertones.
Naval was Sherwin-Williams color of the year in 2020 and for good reason. It can be used as a deep blue front door shade or as a lovely siding color for exteriors with plenty of light. As a versatile neutral color choice, Naval can even be paired with a rosy pink front door for a pop of color. As you can see in the image above, Naval works nicely with a dark gray front porch floor accent color like “Grey Shingle” from Sherwin.
Check out Sherwin’s 2021 color of the year, Urbane Bronze.
Worldly Gray (Sherwin-Williams)
Looking for a light gray or greige house paint color with some warmth to it? Then Worldly Gray (SW 7043) may be a great option. This exterior gray shade has very passive undertones of green and has an LRV of 57 which is on the low side. A lower LRV or light reflectance value means that it looks better on exteriors with plenty of light.
Worldly Gray shows as a more saturated, slightly darker version of the popular Agreeable Gray. As an exterior color, it creates a soft and earthy feel. Because of Worldly Gray’s earthy tones, it pairs well with a Pearly White house trim color accented by black shutters.
SW Iron Ore
Another popular darker exterior house shade that is picking up steam is Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams. This trending color is characterized as a rich, dark gray that reads more like deep charcoal than black.
As a comparison, Iron Ore (SW 7069) is darker than Peppercorn and one shade lighter than Tricorn Black.
When it comes to color temperature, SW Iron Ore registers on the cool side with slight blue or slate gray undertones. Pair it with a neutral white siding color like Pure White or Alabaster for a beautiful, crisp contrast. If you prefer Benjamin Moore, a comparable shade is Wrought Iron (2124-10).
Iron Ore is also a super popular choice for front doors, garage doors, and exterior trim. No question, adding this deep charcoal paint as an accent can modernize a tired-looking house exterior. You can also pair it with lush landscaping and greenery to bring out earth tones in the shade.
How to choose a color scheme for the exterior of my house?
Now that you’ve read through this list, we recommend looking in your neighborhood to find color combinations you like. Likewise, home styles also have a major impact on the color palette you choose. Is your neighborhood full of stucco homes or do you live in a historic residential district? Look for examples in the neighborhood that match your property’s style and home design preferences.
Next, call your local paint store or a local painting contractor and ask about their favorite exterior color schemes. Their painters have likely completed a few house painting projects nearby and can provide valuable feedback.
And if Improovy happens to be in your neighborhood, we offer complimentary exterior design consultations. Indeed, this awesome free virtual perk comes with all of our exterior and interior paint jobs. Whether you DIY or hire a painting contractor, we’re always happy to share our expertise.
Exterior Home Color FAQs
How often should you paint your exterior house?
You should paint your house exterior every 5 to 10 years. Painted wood surfaces last 4 to 8 years while brick and stucco can last 6 to 11 years. Of course, this depends on how much care your painters put into exterior prep work. A poorly painted exterior won’t last 1 or 2 seasons before the paint starts peeling. That’s why hiring an exterior painting company with a good written warranty like Improovy is important.
What is the most popular color for a house exterior?
The most popular color for a house exterior is Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams. The creamy off-white exterior color looks great on every type of siding including wood, vinyl, brick, fiber cement, and stucco. Alabaster also works as a siding or trim color so it's quite a versatile exterior paint color as well.