Home Improvement

Picking exterior finishes – How color and materials impact home style?

Types of Exterior Wall Finishes: Choose your own decorative material • 333+  Images • [ArtFacade]The exterior finishes you select for your new custom home make a bold first impression while also conveying a unique personality and style. Materials like siding, brick, stone, and stucco create visual texture and define aesthetic style when thoughtfully combined with exterior paint and accent colors. 

Match the architectural style

Research which materials and palettes complement the home’s architectural style. Historic styles have traditional material pairings that preserve their character:

  • Classical and Colonial Revival homes feature symmetrically balanced facades clad in clapboard or patterned shingle siding, painted in neutral hues like white, beige, and slate blue. Accent with white-painted columns and corner quoins.
  • Craftsmen and bungalows incorporate natural stone bases contrasting warm wood siding in earthy colors like sage, rust, and mossy green. Emphasize stone chimneys and tapered square columns.
  • Tudor-style homes combine steep gabled roofs, faux half-timbering, and varied brickwork patterns in grays and deep reds. Stone and stucco accents add texture.
  • Mediterranean homes showcase hand-troweled stucco in cream and peach tones against terra cotta tile roofs and ornate wrought iron. Carry colors into arched entryways flanked by columns.

The most cohesive results choose finishes that faithfully convey the home’s original architectural style.

Combine contrasting textures

Layering complementary textures creates a dynamic, dimensional facade. For example, pair:

  • Brick below with stained cedar shakes or scalloped shingles above
  • Smooth stucco walls with rough-cut stone base and ledge stone chimney 
  • Victorian-style wood siding with tiered slate shingled turrets
  • Fiber cement lap siding with reclaimed wood accents as shutters or gable details

Avoid flat, monotonous facades with excessive use of only one finish. Thoughtfully transitioning between multiple materials adds needed contrast and visual energy.

Select a color palette 

The color palette profoundly impacts curb appeal, blending with surroundings and mood. 

  • Primary Siding Color – Choose a subdued neutral beige, gray, or blue that complements the architecture without overpowering. Bolder colors accent instead of dominate.
  • Trim and Accents – Bright white trim pops crisply against most siding colors. Black or dark gray creates a sophisticated contrast.
  • Front Door – Make the entryway focal point prominent with jewel-toned reds, cobalt blues, emerald greens, or rich eggplants according to personal style. 
  • Roofing – Complement your color scheme with shingles ranging from warm black or gray to earthy browns and reds. you can try these out at home.


Paint chips arranged on the actual house help visualize how colors interact. View choices at different times of day to observe lighting effects. While the initial cost is a factor, also consider durability, lifespan, and maintenance needs when selecting exterior finishes. Fiber cement siding rivals the longevity of wood without maintenance hassles. Composite, engineered wood siding offers wood-like looks at a lower cost, though lacks the depth of real woodgrain. Cast concrete siding replicates the heft and sculptural profile of quarried stone at a fraction of the weight and cost. Quartzite slate roofing resists weathering for decades but higher upfront cost. Analyze lifecycle cost using the total cost of ownership, factoring installation, maintenance, and durability over decades not just purchase price. Your exterior should function beautifully in the long run.

Elijah Beau Parker: Elijah, a certified green builder, discusses sustainable building practices, energy-efficient homes, and eco-friendly construction materials.

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