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8 Easy Ways to Pick Paint Colors

An Insider's Guide to the Perfect Palette for your Home

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house with farmhouse white paint color, white picket fence

Photo by M. Marceny

We get frequent requests in our color consulting practice for white farmhouse paint colors and they are gorgeous!  When you consider this type palette, make sure that its right for the neighborhood and the architecture of your home.  This look is perfect for traditional cottages and homes with wraparound porches and larger entries but could look out of place with an ultra-modern house. Here we describe our favorite paint colors for this look and how to use them.

This look is made up of a base white paint color with black accents.  There are several variations, but the two most prevalent are (1) white siding with black fascia and gutters or (2) all-white with black accents.

White Siding and Black Fascia and Gutters

This home was a recent project and turned out amazing.  We incorporated black fascia and gutters (SW Iron Ore) with white siding (SW Pure White).  We chose Pure White, a crisp off-white, because it matched perfectly with the white vinyl picket fence in front.  This unified the home with the fence so that it looked intentional.

house with farmhouse white paint color, white picket fence and American flag

Photo by M. Marceny – Body color SW Pure White, Trim SW Iron Ore

 

green house with white picket fence

Photo by L.Adams – Before

If you want more information about which parts are fascia, soffit and gutter, here you go!

House with labels that show Fascia, Soffit and Gutters

Photo by M. Marceny – Fascia, Soffit and Gutters

Another variation is white fascia with black gutters, but we really prefer black gutters with black fascia to hide the gutters as an architectural feature.  If your house has this pattern, it can be very lovely, but it’s just not our preference.

White Siding with White Fascia and White Gutters

An all-white palette is also a classic and timeless look.  This beautiful coastal cottage palette kept the whole house white except for the wooden front door, dark blue shutters and blue-green (SW Sea Salt) front porch ceiling.  We specified James Hardie Arctic White pre-painted siding which is equivalent to SW Extra White.  Discover more about this project in Coastal Cottage Exterior Makeover.

house with farmhouse white paint color

Photo by M. Camilli – Body color James Hardie Arctic White, Trim SW Extra White

 

coastal cottage before

Photo by Google – before

Should Windows be Black or White?

The answer is, it depends!  This home has white vinyl windows, which are increasingly common in the United States where we live.  We discovered that white vinyl windows look best when matched with a white or light-colored paint.  Too much contrast with a dark trim can make the white vinyl look mis-matched and too stark white.

house with farmhouse white paint color, white picket fence and American flag

Photo by M. Marceny – Body color SW Pure White, Trim SW Iron Ore with white vinyl windows

If you have paintable window frames, or black window frames, they look really sharp with white window trim.  If you paint the window trim black with black window frames the look can get heavy, especially if the trim is very wide.

Best Black Paint Colors for Farmhouse Exterior Accents

Our favorite black paint colors for farmhouse exterior accents are SW Iron Ore and SW Urbane Bronze.  Iron Ore is a soft clean black and Urbane Bronze reads black with some warmth.  Choose either one or the other for your home.  Iron Ore is best if you don’t have any stone or brick.  We like Urbane Bronze as a softer alternative if you have warm stone or brick finishes in your home.

Check out this fabulous breakfast bar on a back porch with a view.

White back porch wood breakfast bar

Photo by L. Adams – Back porch breakfast bar

Best Front Door Paint Colors

The most classic and timeless look integrates a black or rich wood front door, but you can paint virtually any color as long as you tie it in with other elements.  Consider pairing your door color with outdoor furniture, your landscaping, flowerpots or pretty annual flowers.  A door is a low-risk way to change your look.  If you don’t like it, you can repaint it.

white house with farmhouse white paint color, black front door, white picket fence and American flag

Photo by M. Marceny – Black front door

 

house with farmhouse white paint color and wood front door

Photo by M. Camilli – Wood front door

Consider a white back entry door for a seamless look.

white back door with haint blue ceiling

Photo by M. Camilli – White back door

Front Porch or Entry

A common element of the white farmhouse look is a welcoming wrap-around front porch or entry.  You can paint the front porch ceiling the siding white color.  For extra drama, consider a haint blue front porch ceiling.  This is a classic look from the American deep south.  The tradition stems from folklore that ghosts mistake the blue-green color for water and stay out of the house.  Another urban myth is that the blue-green ceiling will keep wasps away.  Two of our favorite front porch ceiling paint colors are SW Tradewind and SW Sea Salt.

house with farmhouse white paint color and haint blue ceiling

Photo by L. Adams – Front porch ceiling color SW Tradewind

 

house with farmhouse white paint color and haint blue ceiling

Photo by M. Camilli – Front porch ceiling color SW Sea Salt

Best Paint Color for Shutters

If you have shutters, the most classic and timeless shutter color for this type of palette is black.  If your fascia and gutters are white, then you can pick a dark blue. The shutters below were painted with Anchors Aweigh SW 9179. For a more eclectic look, if your door is a different color you can match your shutters to the front door.

White farmhouse window with blue shutters

Photo by M. Camilli – Blue Shutters (SW Anchors Aweigh)

Where Else Should I Use Black as an Accent Color?

Consider using black paint as an accent color on back porch beams, fence handrails, posts and even decorative windows.  Keep spindles on fence or rails white. This beautiful back porch with SW Iron Ore accents has it all.

White back porch wood breakfast bar

Photo by L. Adams – Body color SW Pure White, Trim SW Iron Ore

White back porch with black beam

Photo by L. Adams – Body color SW Pure White, Trim SW Iron Ore

Best Farmhouse Exterior Paint Colors

These are our favorite farmhouse exterior paint colors – a much more colorful look than it seems. Keep in mind that colors are 5-10 times lighter and more colorful outside than they are inside.  A light interior gray color can look crisp white outside.  All colors are Sherwin-Williams.

best white farmhouse exterior paint colors

 

1. Extra White SW 7006

A crisp blue white, great with blues – avoid with homes that have stone or brick finishes.

2. Pure White SW 7005

A crisp off-white – avoid with homes that have stone or brick finishes.

3. Alabaster SW 7008

A soft neutral off-white that will go well with stone or hard finishes.

4. Westhighland White SW 7566

A darker off-white, good for very bright exposure and stone or brick finishes.

5. Egret White SW 7570

A very light taupe that will read white in the sunshine, great for bright exposures, lots of reflected greenery and earthy stone or brick hard finishes.

6. Iron Ore SW 7069

A soft black that looks great with just about any white.

7. Urbane Bronze SW 7048

A darker black with warm undertones that is best with earthy hard finishes such as warm stone and tile.

8. Sea Salt SW 6204

A soft and neutral front or back porch ceiling blue-green color.

9. Tradewind SW 6218

A colorful front or back porch ceiling blue-green color.

The Verdict

We love a White Farmhouse Exterior palette, but it should be appropriate for your home.  This look is perfect for traditional cottages and homes with wraparound porches and larger entries but could look out of place with an ultra-modern home.  The basic palette is white siding with black accents and shutters.  Add a blue-green front porch ceiling for a pop of color.

No matter what, don’t forget to test your paint colors.  It’s a standard best practice.  Whenever I test my paint colors, they are perfect, and when I don’t test they turn out wrong. Learn how to test your paint colors here.

NEVER, EVER use paint matches from a different brand than the one you will use.  Results are poor and there are no standards for the sheens.  Even though your painter may truly believe it can be done, don’t do it. See results from paint matching here.

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Best White Farmhouse Exterior Paint Colors and how to use them

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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.

Pick Colors Like a Pro with our FREE Guide!

8 Easy Ways to Pick Paint Colors

An Insider's Guide to the Perfect Palette for your Home

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