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The best white exterior paint colours are not what you think! If you simply Google the best white paint colours, you’ll get a list of popular choices. However, these white paint colours will NOT look good on exteriors. Here’s why.

In 2022 I posted an update to my Exterior Colour Selection Masterclass about how the black and white trend was taking over the planet, and this was the series of images I used inside one of the new modules.

**By the way, if you already purchased my masterclass, you’ll have ongoing access to all the updates inside each trend. đź’›

The Black and White Trend in Hollywood Hills

We were in the Hollywood Hills for a team meeting and we drove by this mediterranean house with this brand new modern structure plunked right beside it.

What do you notice most about the black house that sticks out?

mediterranean house with black modern house

Can you see it?

It’s the orange/pink beige stone chimney that in no way relates to anything else on this house. Did you get it right?

This phenomenon is strange but real. I noticed another big influencer in the home decor space painted their house black, then added warm stone to the front of the house and the result was similar.

It was definitely a prettier house, but the stone combined with “black everything else” looks completely random.

Stone is not simply neutral

Since in my eDesign business we aim to make every exterior cohesive, which means all the elements relate–including the stone–with the end goal of creating a timeless facade, the first place I look for the right colour is the stone.

Stone is never perfectly neutral. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you know that neutrals are not neutral.

They all have specific undertones. And when you act like they are perfectly neutral they will most definitely look off. 

The other factor that no one seems to consider when they introduce a modern garage door with glass…  is the colour of the glass (above). Because yes, it has a colour.

This is why I’m constantly saying that every decision you make for your exterior is also colour decision. 

The glass is actually a blue green. It does give this all-black house some visual relief, but it’s not beautiful yet, is it?

Mini Exterior Colour Lesson

Let’s see what would look the best shall we?

Since this house has an orange/pink beige stacked stone chimney, the fascia and garage door would be much better in a warm cognac wood stain.

The white with the wood accents to repeat the stone is better than the black, but is it perfect yet in this bright, stark white paint?

Whtie and wood exterior

No. It isn’t.

Popular White Paint Colours

The perfect exterior white paint colour is not what you (or Google) think…

If you were to search which whites were the best for exteriors, all you get is every single stark white and off white made popular by influencers far and wide.

BM Chantilly Lace

SW Pure White

BM Simply White

SW Alabaster

BM White Dove

SW Snowbound

BM Cloud White

I’m here to tell you that NONE of these are perfect whites for most home exteriors. And especially not if the home also has earthy stone. 

Before you choose a paint colour, get the undertone right FIRST

Here it is with a pale pink beige which is what you need to end up with a cream with the correct undertone (below).

BTW, your interior whites work the same way. You can get my curated list of the tried and true best neutrals and whites here.

perfect cream exterior

Let’s compare them both on the same house:

stark white or cream?

We could also introduce a stronger orange beige which would work in LA and the surrounding homes.

black house updated with warm neutral

Here it is below in a mid-tone violet grey. Better than the black and nothing warms up grey faster than orange, pink, red, blue, green, in other words, warmer colours.

warm grey modern exterior

Hint: You can see the violet better when you visually compare to the green grey concrete sidewalk/driveway. 

Curious about what these paint colours are? I’m sharing it all and so much more inside my Exterior Colour Selection Masterclass. It’s approximately 5 hours of in-depth video lessons, organized by exterior element, that you can watch repeatedly for more focused learning.

If you are painting your home this year, my advice would be to step out of the “black and white box” and into the right neutral. Or get inspired by a colour instead, that is if you don’t already have any earthy, fixed elements currently on your home.

You’ll find step-be-step instructions for making ALL your exterior colour decisions inside the Exterior Colour Selection Masterclass.

PS. There are still 3 seats left in my Chicago True Colour Expert Training, register here. (Watch this reel to learn how a TCE chooses an exterior paint colour).

Related posts:

Why we Love the Black and White Trend

The Colour Psychology behind the Black and White Trend

My Nearly Finished French Country Exterior (& Expert Colour Advice for Stone)

 

 

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15 Comments

  • Arlene says:

    Maria do you gave a blog on white inside the house pkease?

  • Laura says:

    Hi Maria, I read all of your blog posts on exteriors before having my house painted last week. Following your advice, using your Colour Wheel and lots of paint samples gave beautiful results! Like so many homes you feature on your blog, I had natural stone accents that I needed to take into consideration, as well as the style of my home. Using the Colour Wheel also helped to narrow my choices, so I purchased small cans of my top 3 or 4, painted boards, and tested the colors at various times of day. I am so pleased with how things turned out. Thank you for your blog and all the advice you so generously share. For anyone considering the Colour Wheel and also Maria’s e-books, I highly recommend all of them, especially for us homeowners with no design background.

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    • Calliope says:

      I did the exact thing in October when I had the exterior painted! My stone has yellow, orange and cream tones so I decided for a yellow beige facade, a yellow golden fence that makes my day every time I return home because it makes everything so happy and dark brown balcony railings to repeat the dark brown roof tiles. I had also painted the pergolas white to repeat the aluminium white front door and windows. Repeating colors that you cannot change some how makes it intentional and it works! Maria’s advices are always spot on!

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    • Maria Killam says:

      Thanks Laura for this comment! Maria

  • Bette says:

    I really think painting the exterior of a house in a crowded setting such as this example is a crap shoot. Zooming out, the house is essentially part of the house next door. It will need to coordinate with the second house’s colors, as well as probable neighbors on the other side. Add in the sidewalks and driveways and fences and the natural greens and browns of the yards, and it gets even more difficult. In fact, you make the point about the concrete driveway toward the end, but that driveway and sidewalk and roads may be out of our control in the future. Our houses don’t exist in vacuums, and even if we coordinated with all the above, a neighbor could paint their own house and ours would no longer work.

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    • Maria Killam says:

      In Europe it’s so much better because their homes do coordinate because there is a standard list of colours everyone has to choose from, that’s why when we are there we take countless photos. Great comment thanks, Maria

  • Hilo says:

    I love the warmer whites shown. I’ve seen them in action on some nearby modern farmhouses, barely-there beige and black is very pretty and more elegant than stark white and black to me.

    The one I don’t care for is the violet gray. It’s missing the mark for me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I have a similar gray in my bedroom that isn’t quite right because the pink beige carpet was replaced with natural red oak flooring, which is giving a similar orange beige vibe next to the slight violet.

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    • Diane says:

      While I dislike the “white with black trim” trend, I agree with you that a warm off-white or very pale beige with black trim looks so much better than stark white with black trim!

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  • Jen says:

    Thanks for the helpful blog post! So just to confirm, grey with violet undertones will work with pink/orange undertone neutrals? What about grey with green undertones (the sidewalk) or taupe?

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    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes they will work as well but each home is a custom situation based on what is existing on the house. Maria

  • ronda says:

    The pale pink beige example also fits in better with the house next door. Especially since the styles are so different.

  • TD says:

    The link in this paragraph, (BTW, your interior whites work the same way. You can get my curated list of the tried and true best neutrals and whites here.) only takes me to your store, not to a curated list of tried and true best neutrals and whites, like it says it will.

    • Maria Killam says:

      That is correct, it is not free. My curated list of neutrals and whites is available with purchase of either of my ebooks. Maria

  • Kathy says:

    Am I the only one to notice that both houses in the example are behind a fence with gates? Is this common in Hollywood Hills? They look like compounds in a foreign country!
    Maria, great job showing how the stonework helps decide what exterior colors work best with it. Just because black and white exteriors are very popular right now doesn’t mean it works for your exterior. Look at the stone and brick and then see what works best.

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