Choosing the perfect exterior paint color to enhance your home’s wood siding can feel overwhelming with so many options to consider. But this comprehensive guide makes the process easier by providing curated popular color suggestions, specific examples of shades that work with different architectural styles, useful tips for coordinating with your home’s surroundings, warnings against clashing color combinations and even named hues from tried-and-true paint brands to give you a go-to palette.
Whether you’re looking to accentuate your modern farmhouse with a bright navy to contrast crisp white trim or complement your craftsman’s chestnut wood details with an earthy gray-green, you’ll find tailored recommendations to help you confidently select a shade tailored to your home’s unique style and environment.
With insightful tips from start to finish, from prep work to average cost to how long your new exterior will last, this is a one-stop guide with insider details you won’t want to miss.
Popular Color Choices for Wood Siding
Whites and Creams
A white or cream exterior is a timeless, classic choice that will give your home a fresh, clean look. Soft white and cream shades don’t attract too much heat from the sun and will highlight other exterior features like stonework or black window trim.
Look for white paint colors with subtle undertones that coordinate with other colors on your home. For example, Sherwin Williams’ Extra White has a crisp, bright undertone, while Benjamin Moore’s White Dove is a warmer, softer white that pairs well with tan brick.
Pro Tip: To keep your white exterior looking its best, opt for a paint with a gloss or semi-gloss sheen that resists dirt and is easy to clean.
For an elegant and versatile exterior color, different shades of gray give you plenty of options. Light, soft gray evokes a weathered wood or stone appearance and serves as a quiet neutral backdrop that lets other architectural details take center stage.
On the other end of the spectrum, charcoal gray siding makes a dramatic modern statement, especially when accented with white trim. For a more traditional home, look for grays with brown, green or blue undertones that tie into surrounding landscape features.
From pale sky blue to dramatic navy, shades of blue complement many home styles while naturally blending in with the outdoor environment. For a cool, soothing vibe, lighter blues work well on cottages, farmhouses, or beach homes. Deep greens can give a more stately, elegant facade and a striking pop of color.
Consider the undertones of surrounding brick or stonework when selecting a blue. Grays and greens pair well with cool blue-grays while reds and tans look best with blues with subtle purple undertones.
A yellow exterior provides a cheery, welcoming burst of sunlight to any home. Soft creamy yellows give off a warm, vintage charm. Clear lemon and daffodil yellows feel happy and upbeat. Mustard and goldenrod yellows add rich, rustic appeal.
Yellow paint colors look best on homes with simple detailing that won’t compete with the vibrant hue. Trim in white, black, or dark charcoal gray helps yellow stand out even more.
Neutrals and Nudes
For an exterior with natural, earthy appeal, nude and neutral paint colors are a perfect choice for wood siding. Light beiges, buffs, and sand colors have a stucco or adobe look that blends with any style home.
Deeper tan and brownish-beige neutral shades complement prairie, farmhouse, and craftsman architectures. Look for neutral paints with pink, peach, or yellow undertones if you want a warmer vibe or subtle gray undertones for a cooler effect.
Shades of green connect a home to the natural environment and foliage surrounding it. Deeper forest, emerald, and sage greens work well for Arts & Crafts, Victorian, and cottage styles. Seafoam and muted celery greens give a soft, peaceful ambiance.
For a truly unique exterior, go bold with an energetic grass green, olive, or lime green. Contrast bright greens with white and black accents for an eye-catching exterior combo.
Reds and Burgundies
Red is a bold color choice that makes a dramatic statement. On traditional barns and farmhouses, a classic bright cherry red or tomato red exterior looks right at home. For an updated take, try deeper brick reds or rich burgundy shades.
Pair vivid reds and burgundies with neutral beiges and whites so the bold hue really pops. Red also brings out the warmth and vibrancy of natural wood detailing. Just avoid matching red siding with a red door or roof – too much red can overwhelm the exterior.
Black is having a major moment for home exteriors. A black facade makes a strikingly modern statement, looks ultra-sleek on contemporary homes, and plays up the drama on Victorians. Black also makes architectural features like gables, trim, and bay windows really stand out.
For best results, choose a true deep black exterior versus dark charcoal or brownish-blacks. Contrast black siding with light neutrals or vivid colors for trim and accents. Or pair a black wood facade with black window frames and trim for a super cohesive look.
Natural Wood Stain
You can also choose not to paint your wood siding at all and instead apply a transparent wood stain. This will allow the natural grain and texture of the wood to show through while providing protection from the elements.
Light natural stains in beige, gray, and brown-toned hues will accentuate, but not overwhelm, the wood’s natural pattern and color variations. Darker stains in espresso, walnut, and ebony bring out deeper color tones for more contrast and drama.
Choosing the Best Colors for Your Home’s Style and Surroundings
Along with considering the colors you’re drawn to, take into account how exterior paint colors will look against your home’s architectural style and surroundings:
- For traditional Craftsman, Tudor, Victorian, and Colonial homes with intricate detailing, select a subdued color for siding so decorative trim, stone, and woodwork can take center stage. Light grays, beiges, and sage greens suit these styles well.
- Contemporary, modern, and ranch-style homes with simple clean lines call for bolder siding colors to add interest, like vivid blues, blacks, deep reds, and bright whites.
- Farmhouses and cottages decorated with flowers, climbing vines, and other lush landscaping pop against cheerful sunny yellows, sky blues, and sage greens.
- In arid climates surrounded by earth tones, pair Southwestern style adobes with warm terra cotta, and tan and cream paint colors.
- Near the coast, light and sky blues naturally complement seaside cottages to reflect the water while white evokes a breezy, beachy mood.
- For homes situated amongst trees and greenery, emerald greens, deep grays, and warm browns tie into the natural hues of the landscape.
Tips for Choosing an Exterior Paint Color
- Consider colors already present on your home’s exterior that are unlikely to change, like roofing, stonework, permanent landscaping, and other adjacent buildings. Complementary siding colors will make these existing features stand out and feel cohesive. Clashing shades can look disjointed.
- Buy several paint color samples and paint larger 2-foot by 2-foot sections on your actual siding to get an accurate idea of how the color will look in different lighting at various times of day before committing.
- Opt for lighter, brighter paint colors if your home gets limited direct sunlight to help it stand out more. Deep, saturated shades are best suited to sun-drenched exteriors.
- Steer clear of bold color combinations like bright yellow siding with a bright red door or trim. Stick to one vivid color as an accent against more subdued neutral backdrops for a balanced, harmonious exterior.
- In general, use brighter, bolder colors sparingly on focal points like front doors or shutters. Neutrals typically make the best overall siding colors.
- If your home’s exterior has multiple building materials, like stucco and wood siding, consider painting them the same neutral base color to unify the facade, then use a complementary accent shade on doors, window trim, shutters or other decorative touches.
- Follow your gut and choose colors that appeal to your personal taste. While resale value is important, you also want a home exterior that makes you happy!
Prepping and Painting Wood Siding
- Make sure wood siding surfaces are cleaned thoroughly and repaired where needed before painting. Use a pressure washer to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and other buildup. Fill any cracks, holes or gaps with primer and caulk. Lightly sand rough areas.
- Prime all wood siding before painting, even if the paint has the manufacturer’s primer included. Primer seals the wood grain to prevent bleed-through and ensures topcoat adhesion. Use exterior-grade primer formulated for wood.
- Opt for high-quality acrylic latex exterior paints on wood siding for best durability and weather and UV resistance. Avoid cheaper vinyl acrylic paints which don’t last.
- Satin, eggshell or semi-gloss sheens are ideal finishes for exterior wood siding paint. Satin is durable, eggshell has a classic look and semi-gloss resists moisture best.
- Follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations for dry time between primer and paint coats and between painting sessions for proper curing. Cooler temperatures may require longer drying times.
- Apply two topcoats of exterior paint for maximum protection and longevity. Use a brush for trim and edges and a roller for large siding areas. Maintain a wet edge and work in small sections.
- Properly dispose of paint brushes, trays, and rollers when finished, and be sure to keep paint cans sealed when not in use.
- Expect to repaint wood siding every 5-7 years on average, depending on your climate conditions, quality of prep work, and paint used. Touch up faded areas as soon as you notice them to maintain the wood and your home’s exterior appearance.
With so many exterior paint color options available, deciding what color to paint your home’s wood siding can definitely seem like a daunting decision. Following the suggestions above will help you narrow down your choices and select a shade and finish that will not just look beautiful when first applied, but will maintain its good looks for years to come.
A repainted exterior in a well-chosen color can make your house feel like new again and give you a renewed sense of fondness for your home every time you admire its stylishly painted facade.