How To Use Gray With Your Home’s Exterior

If you are considering painting the outside of your home, or designing a new abode, the most important thing to get right will be the color. Of course, you will want to select a weatherproof paint that will protect your building’s façade. However, for most people the choice boils down to one thing only – color.For many, gray is simply not considered as an exterior tone. Associated with bare concrete and unpopular civic modernism, gray is not often used in the context of a domestic setting.

Nevertheless, gray tones make up the external walls of many older buildings that are constructed in stone. And painted gray facades can really look stunning in many different light conditions, over the changing seasons. If you are ready to select a new color for your home, give gray some consideration.

Weatherboarding And Tiling.

A classic look for a gray home is when the gray of a roof tile is echoed in the paint chosen for the exterior. This is especially effective when slate or silver gray roof tiles are set off by a mid-tone gray painted on to weatherboarding. Newly coated in gray, weatherboarding looks fresh and interesting. It ages very well with time and is much more forgiving with dirt than white, which remains the most popular choice for wooden weatherboards. The look also works well when part of the building has brickwork facades and only partial weatherboarding. If you cannot get an exact match between the tiles and the walls, go a tone or two lighter with your choice of gray for the weatherboards.

White Detailing.

One of the things that puts some people off the idea of a gray exterior is that it can create a monotone, drab look. This is not the case, particularly when you pick out elements in white to break the image up. Eaves, columns and window frames look good in white, set against dove-colored walls. Pick out fencing and balustrades in white to get the same visual effect.

Two Tones Of Gray.

Using two tones of color is another highly effective way of overcoming any problems that a consistent gray, applied all over the façade, causes. To get the two tone look right, paint the majority of the wall in a lighter tone, towards the silver and ashen tones end of the gray scale. Then paint your window frames and guttering in dark slate gray or charcoal. The darker tone should be use sparingly to anchor the look of the home’ exterior. If applied well, you can use a couple of touches of white here and there, too, without compromising the two tone look.


Stucco, has been used for years to make a decorative covering for less appealing materials. If your home is covered in the material, it can be an ideal external covering for gray. Stucco is particularly pleasant when used with a warm gray that has a hint of pink coming through as an undertone. As with weatherboarding, break up the monotone look with white detailing or planting that grows up in front of the walls.

Gray With Brickwork.

You don’t need to paint your entire home to get the cool gray look. Picking out one wall in a mid-gray, whilst retaining traditional red bricks for others, works surprisingly well. Set off a gray wall that is next to bricks, by making the detailing appear in a slightly darker tone of gray. Paint columns, balustrades and window frames a tone or two deeper. If your brickwork is not a standard reddish brown you have the flexibility to go for a lighter gray in the first place.

Creating Contrast.

Don’t fall into the trap of making your home look dull, because you have chosen gray for the exterior. A good way of brightening the look is to go for a primary color for the front door, which will create a good deal of contrast. Naturally stained timberwork will also provide some respite from monotone gray, if your home has modern materials for its walls. And use some colorful planting to create further contrasts, that will change over time.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Published by in Outdoor, on February 17th, 2013


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