Exterior Inspiration: Favorite Home Design & Color Ideas!

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve got a serious love for weekend house stalking! Not some weird peeking-in-the-windows kind of house stalking – I’m talking about driving around in pretty areas of town and ogling gorgeous home exteriors. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be lucky enough to build my own home but if someday I am, I’ve got tons of exterior home design and color ideas running around in my head from those weekend drives. As you all know, my style is somewhat traditional but I also like to bring in some unexpected, updated twists. Today I’m partnering with James Hardie to share my favorite exterior home design and color ideas along with an online tool that can take some of those ideas in your head and show you how they’d look on your home.

I’d bet that most of you have heard about James Hardie® fiber cement products before, but if not, they’re the #1 brand of siding in North America with a wide variety of styles (planks, shingled siding, trim, & more) all engineered to withstand damage from moisture and rot as well as pests (the woodpeckers currently reeking havoc on my wood siding wouldn’t stand a chance with this stuff).  And since I care just as much about how the exterior of a home looks as I do about product durability, I love that it comes in a ton of gorgeous, long-lasting color options enhanced with their ColorPlus® Technology that bakes the paint onto the siding, keeping your house looking great year after year without excessive maintenance. It’s been around for quite a while (my parents used it on a home they built over 20 years ago) and is a product I would absolutely consider using on a future new home build or if my house ever needed residing.

So with that, I’m going to jump into sharing six exterior home design and color ideas to get your wheels turning for your next (if you’re so lucky!) new build or exterior home remodel:

Use a Single Color of Siding But Mix it Up With Different Profiles 

This gray home gives me all the good feels – I love both the design and the classic color combo of gray (James Hardie’s Light Mist) and white. But what I really love is the added twist of using two different profiles – HardiePlank® lap siding on the first story and HardieShingle® siding on the second story.

Love the idea of using one exterior color but two different types of siding for my home's exterior like this Light Mist HardiePlank and HardieShingle Siding!

The combination of two different siding styles and textures adds so much more visual interest than if a single profile was used throughout. The triangular trim at the exterior peaks is a beautiful detail too!

 

Use Two Different Shades of Siding in the Same Color Family

There are plenty of houses out there that have two or three different colors of siding but to be honest, when they’re from totally different color families, that look just isn’t for me. But using two different shades (I’d stick with two and not go to three or more!) of siding that are in the same color family can be really beautiful as you can see with this stunning mountain home: 

Gorgeous! Two shades of siding (HardiePlank & HardieShingle in Monterey Taupe and HardiePanel & HardieTrim in Chestnut Brown) is a great home exterior color combination!

HardiePlank lap siding and HardieShingle siding in Monterey Taupe were used on most of the home’s exterior but a darker color in the same family of browns (Chestnut Brown) was used for the HardiePanel® vertical siding and HardieTrim® batten boards in the triangular peaks. It’s hard to tell what the door color is from the pic, but using that same Chestnut Brown color on the door would be a great way to tie it all together!

 

Add Brick or Stone Accents 

One of my local dream homes (it’s for sale and thank goodness it’s out of my price range because I’d be tempted to uproot my family for a move across town for this beauty!) has a combination of siding and stone that is beyond gorgeous! You can add stone to some of your home’s exterior walls or just use it as a smaller accent like in this super cute row house:

Loving this gorgeous blue (Boothbay Blue Hardieplank) for an home exterior color - perfect paired with white trim and stone columns!

They used HardiePlank siding in Boothbay Blue and then added stone on the front columns and the chimney – it does so much for warming up a home’s exterior doesn’t it?! You can use brick in exactly the same way like the red brick foundation, porch, and stairs on this charming home that pairs beautifully with Sail Cloth HardiePlank lap siding:

Love the idea of combining HardiePlank siding with brick - gorgeous!

 

Extend The Color of Your Trim Into a Larger Area 

I’m a sucker for anything painted dark gray (which is why I chose that color for our kitchen island!) so I’m crazy about the dark gray and white exterior of this home:

Gorgeous exterior home color combination of iron gray HardiePlank and Arctic White HardieTrim Batten Boards and Vertical Siding

Something subtle that they did to make their exterior more interesting is to extend the color of the trim into a larger portion of the home’s exterior. While HardiePlank lap siding in Iron Gray was used on most of the exterior, in addition to using Artic White HardieTrim® around the ends and windows like you typically would, they also used HardiePanel vertical siding and HardieTrim Batten Boards in the same Artic White color in a large area of the home’s second story peak and over the portico leading to their front door.  

Add a Surprise Pop of Color in a Non-obvious Place 

Even though I’m not a fan of using two totally unrelated colors on the front of a home, I’m totally into the idea of adding a pop of color in a less obvious place like they did on the ceiling of this long porch:

Love the idea of adding a pop of color in an unexpected place - so many options with HardiePlank in Woodland Cream!

Don’t you love it?! The Woodland Cream HardiePlank lap siding that was used on the exterior is great for this type of color play since it coordinates so well with other color families such as greens, blues, and reds. 

Use Two Contrasting Trim Colors 

It’s been only recently that I started noticing homes that have two contrasting trim colors (most often black and white) but I’ve been seeing more and more of it so think it’s a design trend that homeowners are loving. It’s absolutely something that I’d love to incorporate into a future home! This beautiful home has Arctic White HardieTrim paired with black windows and gutters – I think the contrast of the two is so striking!

Totally saving this exterior home color idea - use both black and white trim! Looks gorgeous with the Khaki Brown HardiePlank!

If you’re going to use a black and white combination like this, I think they key to making it work is to use a single, neutral color on the rest of your home such as a tan or brown like the HardiePlank in Khaki Brown on this home or a gray or white. 

How Do I Know What Colors Will Look Good Together & What Won’t

One of the best ways to take the guessing out of how a particular exterior color combination will look is through a visualizer – James Hardie has an excellent one that you can find {here}. The first step is to select the main color – it’s probably no surprise that I’d pick one of these grays or blues:

These siding colors are gorgeous!!! They'd all look fabulous paired with the Arctic White trim!

James Hardie siding and trim products are also available primed so that you could paint them any custom color you choose but honestly with all of the beautiful color options that their products come in, I would absolutely choose to go with one of them. Because their ColorPlus® Technology gives you a finish that lasts longer than a typical paint job, you could be saving yourself from the headaches of repainting down the road.  

After you’ve selected your main exterior color in the visualizer, you then select an image of the style of home that will help you best envision your color palette (I chose Farmhouse because that’s the style I dream of!) and move on to select the colors of your trim and accents along with additional options like the color of your roof, windows, door, and shutters: 

This color visualizer is SO helpful for coming up with a winning exterior color combination for your home!

It’s fun to play around with it and see what different color combinations look like! When you’re done, it tells you your color personality based on your selections – it pretty much nailed my style saying, “You surround yourself with cool, calm-inducing hues. You’re laid back but are drawn to classic style.” Yep! It allows you to save your finished palette and share it with family and friends too!

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite exterior color combinations and am curious about which one of these featured homes you’d pick if given the choice. For me it’s a toss up between the Khaki Brown house with the black and Arctic White trim and the Light Mist house – so dreamy! For even more exterior home inspiration, download the James Hardie Inspiration Guide {here}!

And before I say goodbye, guess what? My kitchen remodel is FINALLY 100% done! As in, I put away all of the touch up paint, ladders, and folded up all the drop cloths DONE! I took a crazy number of photos over the weekend and will sharing a big “before” and “after” reveal post this weekend or early next week so stay tuned – I can’t wait to show it to you!

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