Painting your house white for a modern exterior

April 2, 2024
White Home | a white exterior house paint that gives the home a modern feel.

A clean and modern look is something many homeowners are after. The timeless, minimalist aesthetic makes the house look big and tidy — it’s a safe investment. But white exterior house paint can come with some additional considerations to ensure the longevity of your paint job.

What colors make a house look modern?

White paint is a timeless way to make a house look clean, bright and modern. Many designers consider white to be read as minimalist and fresh and it’s a safe bet for other design elements in the house like vibrant art and funky-colored furniture which also helps the house look bigger. Paint trends come and go like bright pops of color on accent walls, metallics or deep dark shades, but white remains timeless and modern. It’s also a safe option for home resale.

What is the least popular exterior house color?

Overall, people tend to avoid big, bold colors, but some are more foreboding than others. Deep dark black tones can be spooky, while bright colors like yellow, green, purple or pink can have too many negative connotations with your neighbors and potential buyers.

What exterior colors make a house look expensive?

Soft Neutral white exterior house paint that gives the home a modern feel.

Soft neutral colors have an air of luxury and sophistication. White is especially crisp, giving your home exterior sharp lines and appearing bigger.

Why white is a good home exterior color?

A white exterior brightens the home, has a timeless look and gives a clean, fresh appearance. It's versatile, hides imperfections and looks good in the different lighting throughout the day. White communicates cleanliness and is a timeless real estate investment due to its mass appeal.

What exterior house color is best for resale?

You may hear people say you should avoid colors on your home exterior. The reasons go beyond just aesthetics. Dark colors tend to fade from sun exposure, they also absorb heat making your house even hotter in the warm months. Depending on your neighbors, these colors could also clash with their house exterior, surrounding natural areas (like gardens) or other features beyond your control. Whites and off-whites are very safe exterior paint colors for their timeless resale value, their chic appearance and their ability to look stunning at any time of day.

Why is a color not recommended for exterior paint?

We love color—if you do too and it suits your house, go for it. However, a little hue can go a long way when it comes to big jobs like painting your whole home. If you’re stuck between a modern white and a more vibrant hue, see if you can find an off-white with an undertone of that color.

Look at the area surrounding your home's exterior: the garden, the shingles, your car, the neighbor’s house—is there anything clashing with the color you had in mind? Is there a nice amount of contrast? Usually, a clean white paint job goes with just about anything!

Pros and cons of painting your house exterior white

Does white house paint get dirty?

Though we love the modern look of white paint, many are concerned with whether white houses are hard to keep clean. White houses do require some cleaning and touch-ups compared to colors.

What are the cons of painting your house white?

Dirt and stains show more over time – Things like dust, pollen, bird droppings and mold are more noticeable on a light background.

More regular cleaning – White exteriors may need to be power washed, rinsed or at least spot cleaned regularly (every few months) to prevent build up of dirt.

Hard to remove stains – Stubborn stains from things like leaves, mulch, food/drinks can be hard to fully remove from light colors without special cleaning products.

Touch-ups can show – Nicks, scratches or areas needing paint touch-ups stand out rather than blending in like they do on darker houses.

What is the longest-lasting exterior white paint?

The longevity of a white exterior paint job comes down to color selection and materials. Choosing an off-white can be more forgiving for stains, fading and cleaning than a purer white. You also want to make sure you choose an exterior-grade paint for their UV and mildew protection. These days, the best quality exterior paints are acrylic (or waterborne) paints.

Different materials have different considerations. For example, if you are painting bricks, you should seek out masonry paint which helps the porous bricks breathe and provides water protection.

Does white exterior paint attract bugs?

Bugs tend to be attracted to lighter, brighter colors which has led to a belief that painting your house a light color might attract things like bugs. And though white does reflect the vivid UV light that bugs want so much, they are much more attracted to things like dirty gutters and standing water in your yard. So we wouldn’t let the bugs win if you love the idea of a white exterior paint job.

How long does white exterior paint last?

Depending on the direct sun, climate and surrounding terrain of the house, you can usually get five to ten years out of an exterior paint job. Some premium paints even promise as much as 15+ years! Really high traffic areas might need touch-ups as soon as three to five years (think trim, decks, fence doors or front doors).

Does white exterior paint yellow over time?

White exterior paint can turn yellow due to sunlight, moisture, age, paint quality and buildup. Sunlight exposes the paint to UV rays and moisture causes mildew growth which degrade the protective properties of paint over time. If you are painting over wood siding, the grain and tannins of woods like cedar may leech into white paint over time turning it yellow.

What shade of white is best for a house exterior paint?

The conversation about white tends to be around undertones and hues. We usually want to avoid looking stark or harsh, instead opting for something slightly cooling or slightly warming.

For a more modern look, choose an off-white with a cool undertone like gray, blue or green. If you want a cozier look and feel, try to find a slightly creamier undertone like the slightest touch of beige.

Try these trending Sherwin Williams whites that are perfect for a modern home exterior.

White Swatches |  a white exterior house paint that gives the home a modern feel.

How to make a white house pop?

Soft Neutral white exterior house paint with accent color gives the home a modern feel.

With many houses, the accents are as important as the main color. If you’re worried about a white or off-white tone feeling muted, these are great ways to add some vibrancy. There’s all sorts of elements that can be mixed and matched with colors to make the white exterior paint color pop. As a rule of thumb, higher contrast is better.

Take a look at trim, shutters, doors, roofing, railings, landscaping, furniture, light fixtures, rugs and porticos as opportunities to play with a splash of color. You can also try smart LED lights at night to add another hint of color that’s easy to change.

What colors look good on a white house?

So you want an accent color to make your white house stand out — look no further! Here are some colors we’re loving right now that are high contrast and complementary for white houses from Sherwin Williams. Who doesn’t love a pop of color on their door, shutters or furniture?

Accent Swatches | a white exterior house paint that gives the home a modern feel.

What color should you paint your deck if your house is white?

As with other accents, choosing a deep, high-contrast color is a great way to ensure visual interest and make your home stand out.

One consideration for decks, especially big ones, is choosing a color that blends in well with its surroundings. Choosing a dark green shade to blend into a grassy lawn or a wood tone that blends in with the garden are great ways to go!

Ready to modernize your home exterior? Click here to schedule your free estimate:


  • Exterior Painting