These Are the Best Colors to Paint Your House Based on Its Architectural Style

These Are the Best Colors to Paint Your House Based on Its Architectural Style

During the early days of the pandemic, in the absence of bar hopping and returning things at the mall, I became especially interested in houses. On walks with my dog and drives to the grocery store, I began habitually taking stock of the distinctive mix of window treatments, timbering, brickwork, and roofing details separating one architectural style from the next.

House watching is something of an inexhaustible hobby. There are dozens of residential styles of architecture, according to the National Association of Realtors, and each one represents a specific point in history. While there’s certainly personal preference and popular trends to consider, it doesn’t hurt to take architectural style into account when embarking on any kind of renovation, including a routine paint job. 

Modern architecture prioritizes function over form. It encompasses a few familiar architectural styles, such as Craftsman, Ranch, and contemporary homes. Morse says you can go one of two ways with a modern-style home. “Keeping it light is best for resale, but a dark modern home is a gorgeous and striking look,” she says. Think dark grey or black, such as Benjamin Moore’s Graphite, Gravel Grey, Iron Mountain, and Iron Ore.

Morse adds that for a modern home, it’s sometimes best to keep landscaping to a minimum, as it can distract from the clean lines and sleek aesthetic typical of the style. “You want your home to stand out and be bold,” she says.

Traditional homes draw influence from historic styles, such as Colonials, Cape Cods, Georgians, Victorians, and saltbox houses. Generally speaking, Morse recommends a classic color palette for this style family. “I think classic white with black shutters is a win for curb appeal as well as resale. It doesn’t matter if it’s painted brick or siding, it always looks beautiful and never appears dated,” she says.

The most common house style NeJame deals with are Colonials. “Traditionally, the trims of Colonial homes were painted white or cream,” she says. “To increase curb appeal, think about painting the trim and body the same color. Painting window sashes and grids dark colors, such as black, bottle green, and burgundy is another subtle touch that can amp up curb appeal.”

Meanwhile, for homes with shingles, clapboard, or other wooden siding, NeJame suggests “Nantucket Grey,” which is a weathered grey that can be achieved using a bleaching stain. “Traditionally the cedar shingles on Capes were left to naturally weather and grey, but leaving shingles to weather on their own, without protection, shortens their life,” she says. “Today, we can achieve that same weathered look on your shingles using products that also help protect them and prolong their life.” 

Transitional-style homes incorporate aspects of both traditional and modern styles. The transitional style lends itself well to a variety of color palettes.

“I think keeping it light with a neutral color, such as Benjamin Moore’s White Dove or Sherwin-Williams’ Agreeable Grey, contrasted by black windows and doors is a gorgeous look for curb appeal and resale,” says Morse. She adds that if you choose to go light, consider light shutters, trims, and sashes as well. “You can also go one shade lighter or darker than the main color so everything blends well,” she says.

Conversely, you could opt for a bolder look with a dark exterior paint, such as Benjamin Moore’s Essex Green. “In this case, keep the windows and doors dark too,” she says. “Dark green exterior looks great with black windows and doors. If you go in this direction I think it’s best if you have plenty of trees and landscaping in the front yard so it blends more with the surroundings. The curb appeal will be fabulous.”

5 Glaring Red Flags to Look for in a Home’s Front Yard

5 Glaring Red Flags to Look for in a Home’s Front Yard

You’ve probably been told to consider a home’s “curb appeal,” before heading into the open house. This, of course, is an assessment of the home’s attractiveness from the street (the curb!). It’s the way the house’s facade and front yard presents to passers-by. 

Nice-looking curb appeal is always a plus, but there are a few red flags homebuyers will want to take note of in a front yard. Here are five things real estate professionals across the country say to be on the lookout for.

Depending on the state you live in, rain gutters may not be a requirement for your home. In states like South Carolina, gutters are not mandated by building codes, according to Irina Bordyn, a real estate agent for Healthy Realty in Charleston. “We very often get gushing rain falls, so if homes have no gutters, that can cause issues by the foundation,” she says. 

A home without gutters is cause for concern. And if a house does have gutters, it’s important to watch where the water drains off to. “A lot of times they’ll drop at the sidewalk, which will cause the underneath of the sidewalk to wash out, so you’ll see cracks in the sidewalk,” says Dawn Griffin with the Dawn Griffin Group in St. Louis, Missouri. The biggest red flag of all? Water rushing back toward the house.

Although sewer lines are underground, when there are issues with them, they can be seen in the front yard. Sewer laterals leading from your home to the city’s main sewer line often run through the front yard, according to Griffin. She warns that when there is a break in the line, wastewater may not make it to the main lateral, but instead pool below the grass.

“As it pools 10 feet below, the top of the ground softens, and in the ground you’ll see a divot, almost like a little ditch,” she says. “You’ll see the ground itself isn’t flat anymore.”

In addition to changing the grade of your yard, pooled waste water can shift or soften concrete surfaces, such as sidewalks and steps.

While trees are the highlight of most outdoor spaces, in some instances, they may be more maintenance than they’re worth. Debris from particularly tall trees can end up on your roof. Soggy foliage can then damage roofs made with materials such as asphalt. “It gets soggy as well, then moisture enters the house,” Bordyn says.

The Charleston real estate agent also advises against trees that lean too close towards the house. “When you have a storm and a fat heavy branch lands on the roof, that can cause damage,” she says.

When inspecting a yard, don’t forget to peek at the corners of the house. Water can collect near the corners of a home, according to Moises Worthalter, a broker for Worth Real Estate Consultants Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “That’s usually where termites come from,” he says. “Termites seek water and the water creates crevices for them to come through.”

He also advises to look for signs that a home’s owners have been dealing with a pest problem, such as remnants of termite spikes, which are inserted into the ground to detect and prevent termite activity. In short, keep an eye out for “anything that will give you insight of something that may be happening on the property,” Worthalter says.

Mili Mansaray


Mili Mansaray is a writer whose work covers everything from porch paint colors to voting rights. She received a degree in journalism and Africana studies from New York University, where she served as a staff writer for Washington Square News. Since graduating in May 2020, she has also been published in The Beacon and Cooper Squared.

The Color You Should Never Paint Your Front Door, According to Real Estate Agents

The Color You Should Never Paint Your Front Door, According to Real Estate Agents

Your front door—and, more specifically, the color it’s painted—can have a major effect on your home’s curb appeal. For instance, a red door might symbolize luck for some buyers. A jet black or charcoal black door could net you an extra $6,271 should you sell, according to a study from Zillow

But what color should you never, ever paint your front door? We posed this question to a couple dozen real estate agents, and, well, let’s just say when it comes to front door colors, they’re not exactly tickled pink.

“I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer, so let’s go with hot pink,” says broker Brad Pauly, owner of Pauly Presley Realty in Austin, Texas. “For the sake of resale, it’s a good idea to stick with neutral or more popular colors.” Any colors in the neon family are tough to pull off on a front door, he says.

Los Angeles real estate agent Chantay Bridges agrees, saying a hot pink door will inevitably stick out like a sore thumb, “lessening curb appeal and not complimenting your nearby neighbors’ hues.” 

If you plan to paint your front door something other than black or white, “avoid a polarizing color like pink,” cautions Susan Isaak, a realtor with Houlihan Lawrence in Riverside, Conn.

Swooping in to defend hot pink is New York City broker Gerard Splendore of Warburg Realty, who has childhood memories of driving past a house in the woods on the East Coast near Arlington, Va., and being charmed.

“Just off a winding, hilly road was an older brick house set in a wooded area with a hot pink front door,” he says. “The contrast of the leafy trees with the pink door always made me want to live in that house. I imagine the homeowner was very happy when they got to enter their home through their pink door.”

Splendore likes the idea of painting a door a “commanding color” because it sends the clear message: “Enter here.”

“While some houses in either city or suburbs may have more than one front entry, the main entry, ideally, can be indicated by lighting and color,” he says.

The colors that you can get away with on your front door of course depend on where you live. Got an HOA? You might be stuck with approved neutrals.

Jennifer Keenan, a realtor with 4Squares Residential Group in Cambridge, Mass., says she doesn’t rule out any colors, explaining the buyers shopping just outside of Boston love a good statement door.

“We have homes of all shapes and colors, and many with cool and funky front doors—especially those with old hardware and stained glass,” says Keenan, who also works in nearby Somerville and Medford. “I’ve seen doors in every color of the rainbow and, when coordinated with the exterior color of the home, can really pop and make a statement.”

Different (paint) strokes for different folks, right?

Here are a few more firm curb appeal mistakes to keep in mind if you’re indeed looking to sell, according to real estate agents: 

The Easy Curb Appeal Project with — Wait for It — a 484 Percent ROI

The Easy Curb Appeal Project with — Wait for It — a 484 Percent ROI

In a hot seller’s market, it’s tempting to forgo any and all improvements when listing your home. After all, with property inventory as low as it is, buyers are more willing to purchase homes that are in need of a little — or a lot — of TLC. But as the saying goes, “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” And there’s one small project that can make your investment back big time.

According to homeowner data firm Realm, revamping your front door can score a return on investment (ROI) of up to 484.55 percent. That’s not a typo. That’s nearly five times the dough you put into your door. Whether you redo the hardware, refresh the paint, or replace the whole door, you boost your curb appeal immensely. 

“The front door is a big part of the first impression of your home, your curb appeal,” says Laura McGurk, a licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Breeden Realtors in Columbus, Indiana. “If it’s clean, new, and fresh, buyers will assume the rest of the house is, too. Conversely, if your front door is a drab paint color scratched up from years of use and sticks when you try to open it, it’s easy for a buyer to assume the rest of the house is tired as well.”

According to Porch, a site that connects homeowners with contractors, the materials needed to paint a single door cost an average of $6.67. For DIY projects, you can’t beat that budget. Even if you’d rather hire a pro to do it, the range in price for the work is $77.60 and $176.20. Like with many home improvement projects, the estimated price depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your door and the quality of paint you choose.

Traci, an Oregon homeowner, unwittingly set off a trend on her block when she repainted her front door as she was preparing to put it on the market. “I know it enhanced the curb appeal because the new buyer said so and then kept it [that way],” she says. 

Looking for inspiration on what color to paint your door? Traci advises selecting a “snappy color.” Her choice was a shade of navy by the name of Thunder Blue, and it certainly had an impact. “The rest of the neighbors joined the fun soon after,” she says. 

HomeAdvisor suggests going with these colors for a modern front door buyers will want to knock on: black, bright orange, eggplant, lime, taxi yellow, or turquoise. For a more traditional-styled home, HomeAdvisor says you can stick with natural wood tones.

If the paint is still looking pretty fresh on your door, here are some other ways to spruce up your front entrance for instant curb appeal without breaking the bank:

If you’re looking for a simple yet effective way of sprucing up your home before you list it, there’s an DIY opportunity literally knocking at your front door. In this market, you might even find a buyer before the paint dries.

Barbara Bellesi Zito


Barbara Bellesi Zito is a freelance lifestyle writer from Staten Island, NY, covering all things real estate and home improvement. When she’s not watching house flipping shows or dreaming out about buying a vacation home, she writes fiction. Barbara’s debut novel is due out in early 2022.

5 Simple Ways to Master Curb Appeal Beyond Your Front Door, According to Designers

5 Simple Ways to Master Curb Appeal Beyond Your Front Door, According to Designers

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When it comes to your home, first impressions are critical. These days though, the definition of curb appeal isn’t as literal. According to interior designer Beth Diana Smith, “the essence of curb appeal is how attractive your home is to someone driving, walking past on the street, or upon entry into the home.” Designer Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors adds that curb appeal is all about, “creating an intangible sense of delight for anyone who visits your home.”

No matter how you interpret curb appeal, one thing is true: if you want to be a courteous neighbor, you should probably care about it, no matter the season. The good news is whether you live in a townhome, apartment, condominium, or other shared building, it doesn’t take much to achieve curb appeal without an actual curb. “It’s just a matter of incorporating a few thoughtful yet intentional details that help add layers of warmth and a welcoming vibe — whether that’s a series of potted plants, a stunning door knocker, or a killer mailbox,” says designer Jacquelyn Clark of Lark & Linen. Read on for five more fresh design ideas to master curb appeal no matter where you call home.  

“Color can make or break curb appeal,” Smith says. Check your rental agreement if you don’t own and consider giving your front door (both its exterior and interior, so you can enjoy it, too!) a fresh coat of paint for a temporary touch that makes an immediate impact. If you’re not a big color person, you can still go bold with a neutral like black or navy.

After all, it is the official introduction to your home! “It’s the recipe and not any one specific ingredient that makes a great entry,” Smith says. “The wall finish, lighting, flooring, art, and decor are all very important elements. Peel-and-stick wallpaper should be any renter’s best friend. In an entryway, stylish wallpaper can even serve as a form of wall art.” To that end, add funky or fun wallpaper inside your doorway, and every time you swing open your door, and passing neighbors will surely smile when they catch a glimpse.

Make seasonal embellishments

“Choose items that can be embellished seasonally without making new large purchases,” Flanigan says. “A simple wreath of greenery or small faux plants can be dressed up with ribbon and adornment based on the time of year.”

Smith says she likes to swap out her doormats annually and coordinate them with ceramic planters for optimal cohesion. She suggests stores like HomeGoods for a variety of budget-friendly options in both categories. 

Work with what you don’t have

“If your front door is in the interior of a building, consider swapping a traditional welcome mat for a small vintage rug!” Flanigan says. “Since it’s indoors, you won’t have to worry about it standing up to the elements.” Let’s be honest — vintage rugs are usually a good idea.  

Buy: Emilija Vintage Turkish Rug, $136.00 from Revival Rugs

Capitalize on patio space

If you’re lucky enough to have a patio (or some kind of outdoor space), use it! “No matter the size, having a dedicated patio space is a luxury, and you should decorate it accordingly,” Flanigan says. “Add to your curb appeal by creating a miniature outdoor oasis. Potted plants, a small tree, and lanterns can all make a lasting impact.”

Clark agrees that greenery adds instant life to any outdoor patio space. To get the most bang for your buck, Smith suggests selecting versatile decor items like a colorful bar cart or interesting tableware. “Many of these pieces can be repurposed indoors during the fall and winter months,” she says.