Top 3 Exterior Paint Colors to Increase Home Value in 2021

A fresh coat of paint can work wonders – especially when you’re selling your home. We hear the word curb appeal casually thrown around quite a bit, but the term is rooted in reality. Prospective buyers are more likely to tour a home that looks more inviting from the outside. And the buck doesn’t stop there. Last year a joint study from the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington found that homes with curb appeal sell at an average of 7% higher than comparable (but less visually appealing) homes. If it’s been more than five years since your last paint job, we recommend you get a fresh coat before listing.

But to speak of paint begs the question. What color? And how do I choose? Just as with interior color palettes, going with a neutral is always a good start. You don’t want to alienate potential buyers with too many wacky colors. Neutrals allow the buyer to envision themselves in the space, rather than seeing the home full of someone else’s personality.

When people hear the term “neutrals,” though, they often jump immediately to thinking beige and boring. Not so! Plenty of paint companies create beautifully elegant neutral tones every year. Today we’ll round up our top three picks for exterior paint color in 2021. If you want to boost your home value, a fresh coat in one of these colors is a good first step.

#1 – Smoky White by Behr

Smoky White BWC-13 swatch

One trend we see across the board is a move from pure whites to warmer off-whites. A creamier white comes across as inviting and less harsh than a pure white. And on top of that they’re quite versatile. You can use them as a main color with a darker trim, or as the trim itself. We like Behr’s “Smoky White” for its subtlety and hint of warmth.

What It Is: A creamy off-white, tending towards the warmer end of the spectrum.

When to Use It: Appropriate for a wide variety of homes. Will make smaller homes appear broader. Larger homes with bold facades benefit from its clean and open character. If you have brick that you’d like to paint, this color makes an elegant choice. Also pairs well with natural stone features.

How to Make it Sing: The great thing about a color like Smoky White is you can accent it in a wide variety of ways. Take this custom home, which sold in February 2021 for $18,000 over the asking price.

Home with similar color to Smoky White

As you can see, the off-white compliments the openness of the windows peppering the home’s facade. The owners here have chosen to keep the trim neutral as well, but created a focal point by painting the door a bright teal.

#2 – Mysterious by Benjamin Moore

If you’re searching for something a little darker and moodier, it’s hard to go wrong with a good grey. “Mysterious” by Benjamin Moore hits the mark. This grey is similar to a dark pewter but with the slightest hint of a deep blue tone. Part of their Affinity Color collection, it’s also an easy color to find accents for. Benjamin Moore designed the Affinity Color collection intending for all the hues to be compatible, which makes it easy to select colors for your trim, door, etc.

What It Is: A deep grey, darker than pewter and with a slight touch of blue.

When to Use It: Perfect for newer construction and modern homes with clean lines. Particularly attractive for homes with mature landscaping.

How to Make it Sing: This color goes great with similar hues in a lighter shade. It can be very striking when used as the trim as well. Consider this this modern home, which sold in October at list price:

modern home in a deep grey

The owners contrast the deep, moody dark grey with warm and inviting greenery. A lighter shade of gray on the siding keeps the home from appearing overwhelmingly dark.

#3 – Barnwood Gray by Behr

If Mysterious feels too austere for you, think instead about choosing a warmer and lighter color like Behr’s “Barnwood Gray.” Behr named this particular shade one of its 2021 color trends, and we can see why. It’s neutral but not boring, elegant but not staid. Reminiscent of one of the Pantone’s Ultimate Gray, one of its two colors of the year, Barnwood Gray adds a good dose of warmth and easy comfort.

What It Is: A classic and timeless grey with a warm tint.

When to Use It: An excellent choice for ranch-style homes and bungalows. This isn’t a standout color; rather, it’s an all-around agreeable choice for traditional-looking homes.

How to Make it Sing: A plain off-white trim keeps this color looking the most classic. But you can always add a little pizzazz. Take this ranch-style home, for example, which sold for $6,000 over list price:

ranch home in a warm grey

Crisp and clean, yes. But a deep red door adds a focal point and little visual interest. If red’s not your cup of tea, not to worry. A color like Barnwood Gray is bound to be versatile, and will pair well with a variety of accent colors.

Runner-Up: Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore

For any color fiends out there, we haven’t forgotten you. If you feel absolutely averse to choosing a full on neutral, go with a midtone color, meaning something not too light or too dark. We recommend Benjamin Moore’s lovely “Aegean Teal,” which manages to have a lot of personality without being too in-your-face. Colorful but not crass or loud, the blue-green hue also suits the Pacific Northwest aesthetic.

What It Is: A muted teal.

When to Use It: Perfect for a Craftsman, Foursquare, or Bungalow.

How to Make it Sing: Show off some of your Craftsman’s details, as this owner has:

The deeper teal and burnt orange touches on this home are few and far between enough to not overwhelm the eye.

Curious? Check Out How Your House Will Look!

Is investigating paint colors giving you the itch? Before you head off to the store, why not preview what your home will look like newly painted? In this day and age, we’ve got tools for that.

Behr’s Paint Your Place® tool allows you to upload a photo of your home and test out any of its paint colors. They also suggest color palettes, which can help you find appropriate complimentary colors. To get even more involved, take a dive into Sherman Williams’ ColorSnap® Visualizer, which lets you custom select areas to “paint.”

And when you’re ready to get that brushed up house on the market, contact our 1% sellers agents. They’re ready and waiting to show off your home in the best light possible, inside and out!

May 14, 2021

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

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