How to Change the Exterior of Your House with Colors & Materials

How to Change the Exterior of Your House with Colors & Materials


You’ve finally found the perfect layout, but there’s only one problem – the exterior house design does not fit your style. Before you get discouraged and move toward finding another plan, try altering your entire perspective by choosing a unique paint color or alternative materials to change the exterior of your house plan. With just a few simple cosmetic changes, you can create a completely different style and a house plan all your own.  

Let’s take the Modern Farmhouse style, for example. This popular house plan style pairs nicely with a white exterior which is the signature color used with most Modern Farmhouse plans. Just look at how many shades of this neutral color are offered on the Sherwin William’s site: 48+ different tones of white. The repetitiveness of this popular style can cause people to dismiss the all-white exterior because it can look like all other Modern Farmhouse plans. However, these house plans offer a blank slate that opens itself up to a variety of styles by simply changing the color to something other than white. 


Modern Farmhouse Plan 009-00314


Have you ever imagined that same all-white plan in another color, like deep blue or even black? What if the home exterior were made from brick? Or had cedar accents and stonework? Have you considered moving the front door or adding larger windows? How much would that change the overall look of this house plan? By asking yourself these questions, you can explore how color and materials can change the entire look of the exterior of a home. 


How to Find Your House Style:

Finding the exterior house design that speaks to you can seem intimidating with the variety of options and possibilities. From a rustic cabin to a coastal design, our house plans range in sizes, shapes, and styles. So how do you know which style fits you? In a past blog post, “How To Choose a House Style”, we discussed this very topic and provided you with multiple online quiz options to find your perfect home style. 


Can You Change the Exterior Design of a House Plan?

As you explore our 20,000+ house plans, you will find that some of our more popular home designs are all-white Modern Farmhouse plans or black Modern/Contemporary designs. Previous customers have showcased their beautiful homes on our social media platforms using alternative color choices. Some of those Modern Farmhouse plans are now barn red, cobalt blue, or even deep black. Some Contemporary house plans now fit perfectly on the coast due to a different exterior paint color to match their location.


When you imagine a house plan, don’t just imagine the flow of the floor plan. Put yourself in your car and imagine driving up the street to your new home. What color would you prefer? Which materials speak to you? What style would you like the exterior of your new home to portray? You can take just about any house plan on our website, and by switching colors and materials, you can create your dream home. What was once a more Modern style house plan can quickly change to a mountain or coastal home all by altering the exterior colors and materials. 


How Do You Change The Look Of The Outside Of A House Plan?

Let’s consider Plan 940-00389, a 1,559 sq. ft. Modern house plan with a slanted roof, black wood plank exterior with lots of windows, a balcony, a 2-car garage, and a covered front porch. This plan screams the contemporary style, and the use of black paint on the exterior complements the modern details. Build this house plan in a city, and it will fit right in. 


Modern Plan  940-00389

Modern Plan 940-00389


Now, look at how a simple color change can alter your perspective on this similar exterior layout. Plan 940-00529 was created with a slanted roof, a balcony, lots of windows, a 2-car garage, and a covered porch. However, this house plan uses a calming blue paint color on the exterior, creating a more coastal-style curb appeal. This house plan would fit perfectly at the beach, on a lake, or even in the suburbs.


Modern Plan  940-00529

Modern Plan 940-00529


Here is one more example of this house style in a different exterior color: Plan 940-00514 has a deeper blue exterior with red accents. This option would be a great addition to a coastal town or a northern city in the United States. Using a bold blue color means your house will stand out and offer amazing curb appeal. 


Modern Plan  940-00514

Modern Plan 940-00514


For another new perspective, consider how Plan 940-00358 alters your opinion based on a change in materials. This plan features a similar exterior house design as the previous examples, but this option is covered in raw wood planks, creating yet another option for the exterior of this house plan. Using materials such as wood, stone, or metal can also change the exterior of a house plan to fit the style you desire. This version would fit perfectly in the woods or in a neighborhood.


Modern Plan 940-00358

Modern Plan 940-00358


What Is The Most Popular House Color?

According to Better Homes and Gardens, the most popular paint colors range from creamy white to dark charcoal. Depending on the region, climate, and neighborhood where you plan to build your home, the popularity of an exterior house color changes for a number of reasons. For example, white exteriors may make a home look bigger in some instances, while other popular paint colors are perfect for adding character to a plain house exterior. Take, for instance, an all-black exterior. Though the concept of all-black exteriors may sound spooky and Halloween-ish, it has, in fact, become increasingly popular in the home-building industry and on our website as well. For example, Plan 963-00615 is a fan favorite on our website and on social media. This plan’s all-black exterior has completely changed the scope of what you’d expect from the Modern Farmhouse style. 


Modern Farmhouse Plan  963-00615

Modern Farmhouse Plan 963-00615


Arguably, some may think that darker colors make a house look smaller, but with this plan, you can see that a dark exterior color does not make a house look small at all. In fact, the drastic difference in color adds a level of sophistication. You could also get this bold black style by combining it with a crisp white to create a black-and-white exterior that will definitely stand out. Plan 009-00313 is a great example of that sophisticated black-and-white style.


Modern Farmhouse Plan  009-00313

Modern Farmhouse Plan 009-00313


Another option that combines white and black elements on the exterior is Plan 041-00274:


Modern Farmhouse Plan  041-00274

Modern Farmhouse Plan 041-00274


Other popular exterior home color ideas in 2021:

Barn Plan  5032-00119

Barn Plan 5032-00119


Modern Farmhouse Plan  4534-00072

Modern Farmhouse Plan 4534-00072


Modern Plan  940-00527

Modern Plan 940-00527


Coastal Plan  963-00150

Coastal Plan 963-00150

Cape Cod Plan  009-00207

Cape Cod Plan 009-00207


While there are no rules when it comes to designing the exterior of your house plan, be conscious of overdoing it with too many colors. Your home can be as colorful as you want, but on average, a house exterior should have 3 or fewer paint colors. This will allow for a more tailored, cohesive design that can be used throughout the inside of the home as well.


Some of you might wonder, “But how do I add color to the outside of my house while still keeping it classy?” The answer: add a splash of color on your front door! As you see in the image above for Plan 009-00207, the bright red door perfectly contrasts against the blue paint and the white trim. If you add shutters to your windows, choose a paint color that compliments the house color but stands out just a bit to add a little contrast. 


How Do You Add Character To The Outside Of A House Plan?

Wood Accents

We’ve talked a lot about exterior home color schemes and ideas, but what about the materials you use to build that exterior? Simply adding some wood accents can drastically change the exterior of your house plan. Let’s look at another black house plan with a twist: Plan 4534-00070 offers the sophistication of a black exterior with the added character of unique wood elements. Adding these designer touches using wood accents like cedar or mahogany can create a completely different look. This house plan has wood shutters and a front porch surrounded by comforting wood elements, creating a more rustic yet modern look. 


Modern Farmhouse Plan  4534-00070

Modern Farmhouse Plan 4534-00070


Similarly, by adding some wood features to lighter colors, like white house plans or super modern designs, you create an exterior that fits perfectly in a wooded or country setting.


Plan 963-00563 is another example of a unique Modern Farmhouse plan that utilizes wood accents on the exterior to alter this all-white style house plan. Perfect for the lake or the mountains, this house plan is anything but boring:

Modern Farmhouse Plan  963-00563

Modern Farmhouse Plan 963-00563


Check out some other examples of house plans featuring exteriors with wood elements:

Brick and Stonework  

Besides a color change, have you considered using stone or brick to create a textured, natural feel to your home? Consider using bricks for an all-white brick exterior that gives more of a Modern Farmhouse feel, while the classic red, distressed brick is more traditional and would fit perfectly in a wooded area. Explore Plan 041-00201, a Modern Farmhouse plan with a warm white brick exterior and subtle wood accents: 


Modern Farmhouse Plan  041-00201

Modern Farmhouse Plan 041-00201


Plan 041-00244 is a one-story house plan featuring stonework details and wood accents that break up the white exterior of this house plan to create a more rustic, natural style: 


Modern Farmhouse Plan  041-00244

Modern Farmhouse Plan 041-00244


Here are some more brick and stone home exterior ideas for you to consider when looking at our 19,000+ house plans: 


Altering The Exterior With Windows, Dormers, and More Details: 

Now that you are thinking about colors and materials, let’s consider the structural details of the front exterior and how you can change those to alter the exterior house design. The options are numerous, but some of the more popular choices from our customers involve:

  • Adding larger windows or more of them to add more natural light
  • Moving the location of certain windows
  • Removing a dormer to create a simplified look
  • Adding a dormer to create more symmetry 
  • Extending the porch 
  • Changing the pitch of the roof
  • Moving the location of the front door
  • Adding wood posts, tapered columns, stone or steel elements to the porch 
  • Adding window shutters


How Much Does It Cost To Change The Outside Of A House Plan?

Changing the color of a house plan does not require a modification to the working drawings, but if you choose to alter the structural aspects of the exterior, that would involve redesigning the working plans. It is possible to change the facade of a house plan by using our affordable modifications services and our dedicated customer service team is here to help. The costs of modifications vary depending on the changes you make. The more elaborate changes might include relocating the garage to a side entry or adding dormers and extending the front porch. In these instances, you would use our modification services to redesign the exterior of your favorite house plan. 


Variables To Keep In Mind As You Choose Your Exterior Paint Color and Materials:

  • Consider the houses near yours: Do you want to stand out or blend in? If you live in a neighborhood where the houses look very similar, you might not want to choose a stark contrasting exterior color like an all-black house in a neighborhood of white houses. 
  • Think about accent colors: Shutters, doors, and window frames can contribute to the overall look of a home exterior by adding much-needed accent colors. Paint your front door a bright, bold color to add some contrast. Adding black window frames and shutters to an all-white house can create the classic, contrasting Modern Farmhouse style. 
  • Consider trends but don’t be trendy: Just because a vibrant green was a popular exterior paint color in previous years doesn’t mean it always will. Repainting a home can be very expensive and time-consuming, so be cautious when choosing a trendy exterior color. 
  • Compare the daytime to the nighttime: The exterior of a home can look dramatically different at night compared to the daytime. Carefully consider the placement of your exterior lights so you can highlight the best features of the exterior and showcase the color and materials used to create this home. 
  • How does landscaping change the exterior? Creative landscaping ideas can create a welcoming environment and showcase the best parts of your new home’s exterior through the use of trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  • Consider the weather and location: The exterior of a home either absorbs or reflects heat, affecting the internal temperature and the heating and cooling cost. While thinking about the color of your home, take into consideration the weather pattern in your city. Dark colors may not be suitable for warmer climate states like Arizona or Florida, but they may make a big impact on cooler climate states like Colorado.

Now with all the information provided, have you changed your perspective on that floor plan you love with the unsuitable exterior design? If so, how would you change the exterior of your house plan to fit your favorite style? What colors speak to you? What materials are must-haves? Is there a major change you envision? Hopefully, you are able to use all the information given in this blog post to help you envision your favorite house plan in a completely different way. If this post has sparked an exterior redesign, remember to take advantage of our modification services and use of our customer service team.


Brandon Hall
Brandon Hall

Our "go to guy" and company expert, Brandon is the visionary and dreamer of all we do here at America's Best House Plans. He manages quality assurance, audits existing processes for maximum effectiveness, and develops strategies to increase productivity and efficiency. With over 15 years experience in the home design industry, Brandon has a hand in every aspect of the day-to-day operations of our company, in addition to ensuring an unparalleled level of service to our customers.

Related Articles

July 19, 2024


Brandon C Hall

Modern Mudroom Design Ideas & Floor Plans

What is a Mudroom? Mudrooms are smaller areas of the home, usually placed by a side or back door,…


July 11, 2024


Brandon C Hall

Exploring the Different Types of Fireplaces: A Comprehensive Guide

There’s nothing cozier than lighting up the fireplace on a cold night and snuggling up with the…


June 26, 2024


Brandon C Hall

Driveways as Design Elements

There was a time when driveways were just a place to pull your car onto when returning home from a…


June 19, 2024


Brandon C Hall

Ceiling Styles: What Are Your Choices?

The ceiling may be the last place you think deserves attention when building your new home, but…


June 12, 2024


Brandon C Hall

Tips for Designing Your New Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home. Families gather for dinner, entertaining, conversing, and…


May 24, 2024


Brandon C Hall

10 Simple Screened-In Porch Ideas for Your Next Home

Screened-in porches are an easy and unique way to extend your indoor space to the outdoors. Enjoy…


May 7, 2024


Brandon Hall

Cape Cod House Plans

Explore the timeless coastal blend with the Cape Cod style. The Cape Cod design originated from the…


April 10, 2024


Brandon Hall

Courtyard Entry House Plans

We all know that first impressions when meeting new people are important. What about the first…


April 4, 2024


Brandon Hall

How to Choose a House Plan

The options are nearly endless. Stock house plans are filled with possibilities,…

Shop Account Account