Best White Exterior Paint Schemes

White exterior paint schemes are incredibly popular right now, and they are also classic and timeless!  For exterior whole-house white paint colors, we usually pick brighter whites than we would select for white trim colors.  Learn more about How to Pick the Best Exterior White Trim color here.

For white color schemes, you can design with the following color combinations:

  • All white with no trim or accent colors.
  • White with dark accents

NOTE: This post includes paint colors that were taken by us or our Color Concierge clients.  They are NOT color corrected so that you can see how the colors react honestly in the sunshine and shade.These are all real-life photos of people’s homes.

Tips for the best exterior white for your house:

  • If your neighborhood has houses with earthy or muted finishes, pick a warmer white so that it doesn’t look harsh next to the neighbor houses. A great option for neighbors with earthier palettes is Oyster White.
  • Use brighter whites if your house is usually in the shade.
  • Select a warmer white if your house is in the bright sunshine or have earthy stone or brick
  • Always test your white paint colors. Remember that colors look completely different in the sunshine than they look in the shade or inside.

Below is a great schematic that shows soffits, fascia and gutters which we discuss later in this post.

House with labels that show Fascia, Soffit and Gutters
Photo by M. Marceny – Fascia, Soffit and Gutters

Which color for gutters and downspouts in a white paint color scheme?

If you want a farmhouse look, paint your gutters and downspouts black.

For a less trendy yet classic look, paint the gutters the same color as your fascia and the downspouts the same color as the adjacent color.

Which color for the garage?

You can paint the garage either the white or the black color.  I like to paint it black if the house is fairly simple.  Otherwise it can be too much.

How do you pick window frame and trim colors in a white paint color scheme?

We love black windows with a white house, but not everyone has that option.  Most houses we see have white vinyl windows that can’t be painted.

When windows are white vinyl, we usually paint the window trim the same color as the siding.  The white siding color can be warmer or darker than the white vinyl windows.  In the sunshine, no one will notice, and it looks great.

If you have black windows and your window trim is wide, don’t paint the trim black.  The wide black trim with black windows would look too heavy.  Instead, paint the window trim the same white as the siding.

Consider black trim with white windows with lighter white body colors and houses with simpler architecture.  See the photo below.  It was a drive-by, but I took the photo because I loved it.

In most cases, we don’t recommend dark window frames with white vinyl windows.  Of course, there are exceptions, such as complex Victorian schemes, or when the body of the house is white, and the trim isn’t too thick.  The white windows will relate to the white body color.  See the house below.  It was a drive-by photo (not one of our projects), but I loved it!

White house with dark trim and white vinyl windows
Photo by M. Marceny

The Best White Paint Color Schemes

There are many paint schemes that are absolutely spectacular.  These are some of our favorites, so if your favorite is not on the list it doesn’t mean its bad, just that we didn’t include it.  These white LRVs are in a range between 72 and 85.

Pure White SW 7005

This white color is the brightest of our favorites, and the lightest we would ever pick for an exterior.  This gorgeous house has a modern farmhouse exterior white paint color scheme. Don’t confuse this with Benjamin Moore Pure White which is a cool greige color and completely different!

Use Sherwin-Williams Pure White (LRV= 82) when you have bright white elements like the white vinyl fence in the photo, up North, or on a lot with lots of shade.

Avoid this exterior color on a sunny lot in the South or in the mountains.  You might need sunglasses just to look at it.  Also avoid in neighborhoods with lots of muted earthy colors and finishes.  It will look out of place.

Another word to the wise: this bright white is like a mirror.  Avoid when your next-door neighbor has a red or yellow house. Otherwise, your house will look pink or yellow in the side next to the neighbor.

Since the windows are white vinyl and the architectural details complex, we kept the window trim white and used the black accent color sparingly.  The gutters and downspouts were both painted black for a distinct farmhouse look.  We kept the garage doors white to keep the black accents light. Finally, the front porch ceilings were painted with a light blue for a classic Southern farmhouse look!

For more details about this project link here.  Order a sample through Samplize here.

house with farmhouse white paint color, white picket fence
Photo by M. Marceny

The color scheme is below.  In this photo you can’t see the “haint” blue front porch ceiling, but it’s there.  The garage doors are white, but they have black numbers, hardware and lighting.  The balance between white and black is perfect.

Bright white house with black accents and haint blue ceiling.

Color Placement

  1.  Iron Ore SW 7069: Fascia, soffits, gutters, handrails, downspouts, front door, Sample here
  2. Tradewind SW 6218: Front porch ceiling, Sample here
  3. Pure White SW 7005: Body, trim, garage door, Sample here

Alabaster SW 7008

Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (LRV=82) is celebrated all over the internet as the perfect white exterior paint color.  I don’t necessarily agree; it’s a specific tool just as any other color.  Order a sample through Samplize here.

Alabaster looks fabulous in the shade, and in Northern climates.  It has a lot of yellow in it, so it can flash yellow in the strong sunshine. I saw that happen the day before I wrote this article at a color consultation.

Just like Pure White, this bright white is like a mirror.  Don’t use when your next-door neighbor has a red or yellow house, or your white house will look pink or yellow on the neighbor’s side.

Below is our web developer’s house, located in a very shady lot in Atlanta.  They plan to change their roof to a mid-toned gray, but it still looks fabulous!  The black accent color is Black Magic (SW 6991). Just in case you are in the market for a new website, check out their services at Simplified Website Design.  I’ve been thrilled with their work!

White house with black trim painted with SW Alabaster and SW Black Magic
Photo by M. Johnson

This house had colors and placements as shown below:

Alabaster White house with black trim

Color Placement:

  1.  Black Magic: (SW 6991) Gutters, downspouts, window frames, front door, railings. Sample here.
  2. Alabaster (SW 7008): Painted brick, siding, gable windows, fascia, soffits.  Sample here.

Greek Villa SW 7551

Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa is a GREAT whole-house exterior color with an LRV of 84. It is still crisp but has much more pigment than Pure White or Alabaster.  You can worry less about your neighbor’s reflections.  It looks good with earthy brick and great in the shade.  Test carefully when the house is in full sunshine.

For more information about this house and our Greek Villa review, link here.  Order a Samplize sample here.

Red brick cottage painted with white paint, green shutters and a black front door.
After Photo by E. Lockwood

Greek Villa with Red Brick Paint Color Combo

Color Placement:

  1. Courtyard: Shutters, backyard accents, Sample here.
  2. Greek Villa (SW 7551): Fascia, soffits, gutters, downspouts, posts, front porch ceiling, window trim, storm door, Sample here.
  3. Iron Ore (SW 7069): Garage door, front door, Sample here.

Oyster White SW 7637

This color is the warmest white on this list, with an LRV of 72.  It will look crisp in areas that are closest to the sun such as Southern US states and high-altitude cities such as Denver or Salt Lake City.  Oyster White looks creamy and fabulous in the shade or up north.

It’s also perfect when paired with warm stone or brick.  Oyster White has invisible green undertones, so it looks great in just about any light!

Learn more about Oyster White in this Color Review post.

The following two houses are in North Carolina.  You can see how much brighter they are outside in the photos than on the mockup.  This is because the sun lightens and brightens paint colors 5-10 times!

White house with red brick painted with SW Oyster White
Photo by Color Concierge Customer

Oyster white with light blue shutters and Cyberspace dark blue door

Color Placement:

  1. Cyberspace (SW7076): Front Door, Sample here.
  2. Oyster White (SW 7551): Fascia, soffits, gutters, downspouts, posts, front porch ceiling, window trim, garage door, Sample here.
  3. Uncertain Gray (SW 6234): Shutters, Sample here.

This house was also in North Carolina, on the water.  This white paint scheme is harmonious and blends beautifully with the natural surroundings!

White house with light brick painted with SW Oyster White
Photo by Color Concierge Customer

Once again, Oyster White will be much brighter in the sunshine that inside or on the page.

Color Placement:

  1. Fawn Brindle (SW : Front Door, Sample here.
  2. Oyster White (SW 7551): Fascia, soffits, gutters, downspouts, posts, front porch ceiling, window trim, garage door, Sample here.

The Summary

White exterior paint colors are not just trendy but classic and timeless.  Carefully choose the color placement and the color.  There is no such thing as a white paint color that works everywhere.

Test, Test, test your paint colors carefully! For more information about how to test your paint colors link here.  For fabulous ready-made large painted samples, order from Samplize.

The biggest mistake homeowners make when they pick exterior paint colors is to use colors that are too light. This is the best reason to use a professional exterior paint color consultant to help you pick the paint colors for your home.  An experienced color designer understands how colors react in different types of light and can save you thousands of dollars in paint and labor if you get it wrong.

Online Color Consulting

Still, looking for the perfect paint color?  Discover our Online Color Consulting Package.

Online Color Consultation Exterior Paint Colors

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Related Posts

Best Farmhouse White Paint Colors

Greek Villa Paint Color Review

Oyster White Paint Color Review

We love your comments! Please note that the blog is meant as general advice, and it is not possible to give out specific answers to your paint questions.  If you want more specific advice, please consider purchasing a color consultation. Thank you for your understanding.

2 Responses

  1. I am having a double story house. My neighbours are having brown face brick and I like to paint my house with an Alabaster paint and trim the windows with a good color but I don’t know which one will be the best. Thank you

    1. Hi Bridget,
      Its hard to specify a specific color without seeing your neighbors house and your house too. Please consider an exterior color consultation.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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