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  • kathleenbminton

How to Pick an Accent Color for Your Home's exterior

So you’re painting the exterior of your house, and you’ve got the main color picked. That’s a good start, but the next choice is often more important. How will you choose the accent color — the color of your door, trim, or shutters? Accent colors are used for emphasis in a color scheme. They can be bold, minimal, or serve as a contrast to the main color. Without them, your new exterior paint job could fall flat. It’s all a matter of taste, but we have some time-tested guidelines to help you along the way.


Chances are, your main color won’t be loud or highly saturated — unless you’re trying to paint your home Vikings Purple — but your accent color can be bolder. If your siding is toned-down, your accent should be pumped-up, and vice versa. For a white house, you can pick any color you want as an accent — except an off-white, which would just look like you forgot which paint to buy.


A bright red door is a classic choice for a white house. You could go a bit more contemporary or trendy with a coral or orange.

If you have a brightly colored house, though, pick an accent color that isn’t so saturated — either a neutral or a color with a bit more white, black, or gray in the mix.


Pairing Primary and Secondary Colors

Here’s a quick color wheel primer (yep, the pun was intended):

Red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors.

Orange, green, and purple are secondary colors.

So, if you have a green house, you could choose a yellow:


If you have a blue house, you might choose a bright green as an accent color



Dealing with Tricky Neutrals

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what colors would look good with a gray, brown, or greige. Here’s a tip if you’ve got a complex neutral: find it on a paint strip. At the bottom of the strip, you’ll find a more saturated version of the color to help you determine if it’s more of an orange, red, green, or blue. Then choose a saturated color from the opposite side of the color wheel for your accent. Here are the complementary pairs:

Here are the complementary pairs:

  • Red with green

  • Yellow with purple

  • Blue with orange

Whether you go big and bold or soft and subtle, the accent color will definitely define the character of your home. Don’t leave the choice to chance!



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