Bricks and stones won’t break my bones

Many are the clients whose biggest challenge is selecting paint colors for their wooden houses when they are “stuck” with partial brick or stone façades. In my experience, this can actually be a plus.

You see, replacing stone or brick is expensive. However, using these fixed features as your color inspiration, or seeing them as part of your overall color scheme, can help narrow down your color choices.

Historic stone house with trim

For example, if the majority of your house is shingle and/or clapboard and the entry area is brick, start by identifying the color cast of the brick element. If the brick is essentially red, but has a golden yellow or beige cast to it, find a close color match to that golden yellow or beige for the house body. Voila! You’ve got your house color. The brick or stone element that you felt stood out like a sore thumb now fades into the overall house color.

Dublin house with painted door

Next, think about using a complementary color for trim. If your brick is essentially red and the grout is gray think about looking directly across the color wheel to red’s complement green then draw on the gray tone from the grout and choose a gray/green for the trim around the windows and doors. Using this dual approach (using a color similar to the grout, while complementing the brick) makes the brick appear less dominant and overpowering.

Offset your house body and trim colors with an interesting and “weighty” color for the entry doors, shutters and garage doors. Once again, this serves a dual purpose. It “grounds” the house while drawing attention to these elements as accents. To really make your house stand out from your neighbors, use a high-shine finish on these accent elements. This will highlight the details.

I hope that with inspiration from these design ideas, you too will create an eye-catching look for your homes exterior.

29 Responses to “Bricks and stones won’t break my bones”

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  1. Criztina says:

    Thanks for finally addressing the bricks…The front of my home has partial red brick and the rest is stucco. I am in florida on a small lake. The house was painted beige with the mauve trim, plenty of trim includes the garage. The house next to me had the mauve color shot and painted their house in it. The color is ok but not fantastic. It is midtone. What color can I use. Should I color shot the mauve ( from the 70s) and tweek it a little? I like colorful; One house on the lake is a violet periwinkle and is pretty. Also 2 yellow houses on the lake. The house on my other side is white with lt. blue trim. Can you please show your color chip selections I just love that!

  2. Kate Smith says:

    HI Criztina,

    I have posted a response to your question and have included color samples :-)

    You can take a look at it here: Colors for a Florida lakefront home ~Kate

  3. Kelly Tousi says:

    I am really struggling with this – trapped by brick around the lower half of my house (yellow-beige with almost no variation in the brick) and dark brown vinyl window frames. Currently the siding, doors and trim around the windows is painted dark brown as well. We would like to go lighter on the siding but are really stuck about what might fit with the two “set” colors. Most of the neighborhood is 1960′s muted – whites, taupes, grays. Both of our neighbors have mostly white houses. Any ideas?

  4. Linda says:

    I have a question regarding brick. I have a two story house. Red school house brick on the bottom half, shakers on the top. Dark grey roof. I am thinking of a grey with green undertones. The motar in my brick is grey. How deep a color can I make the grey without being top heavy. I am thinking of doing shutters and door in a chimney color ( dark, grey). Will this make my house too dull. The trim will be a fench white, outling window and bay window. could I please get some feed back.

  5. Lori says:

    Hi. I have a split level. About half of the exterior is bluestone, so it’s a very dark grey. The cedar is painted pale yellow, and I don’t like it. I’d like the house to have a more natural feel, with something that compliments the bluestone. I’m thinking a cocoa or darker tan color, as there are some (but not much) rusty tan tones in the bluestone. What do you think?

  6. Donna says:

    Your advice is wonderful, and I’m hoping my home can be helped as well. Here’s why: Built in the 80′s, my country style home has 4 brick colors: a few tan, mostly orange, very few charcoal brown, and some a light orange. Currently, trim (over garage and all around, is slate blue. Shutters are blue with white trim. also have a country railing (white) around front porch. (all windows are those 80′s brown) My husband won’t repaint until I choose a different color, and we must paint extremely soon. I hate orange and brown…
    Can you help?

  7. Kate Smith says:

    Thanks Donna for your kind words. I’ll get working on your question and post and answer shortly. Best, Kate

  8. Deb Coss says:

    I also have a split entry house with the bottom half being yellow beige brick like Kelly Tousi. I have been searching websites for some idea for my house and haven’t found anything that shows color choices.
    Kelly, did you get any ideas?

  9. Murali says:

    We just bought a split foyer home in Charlotte NC which has a lot of trees. The house currently has a red brick on the lower level and cedar shingles on the main level painted by the old owner a dark Grey 2 years back and makes the home looks very cave like and vanished in the evening :(
    We tried to remove the paint with paint strip from Sherwin but decided to paint over a different color after giving up on the paint removal effort. We are currently applying primer and would love to hear your ideas for the pain color for the shingles. The roof is grey color. We would like to be able to send you a picture to show our color problem better.

  10. Barbara says:

    We currently have our home painted white and the trim is in two brown tones.
    We are interested in making a change and have picked out DE5176 – Beautiful Peach for the house and DE5173 Deep Coral for most of the trim and for around the windowns we have chosen DE6299 Limerick for around the windows and for our iron fence. We are on a corner lot so we don’t know if this combination will work or not? The rod iron fence sits on a four foot brick wall and there are three gates.

  11. anggi says:

    my parents ask me to change the exterior color of their home.. well as fun as it sounds.. i said yes just to realize that their got a large portion of stone covering their exterior.. just around 75% .. and they want their home to look different… fiuh.. what should i do? the color of the stone are brown-reddish and some of them are light brown… the old color was brown-ligh brown..
    i’m thinking green-gren combination.. but i’m not so sure about it… i dont to ruin my parents house… please help!!

  12. Diane says:

    My I ahve an all brick house and my front door is a medium to dark stain. I am repainting my shutters, garage door and side doors. The brick is mauve, gray and light tan/beige. Two questions— Any suggestions for the shutter color? I was thinking the BLUE family. Also, any suggestions on whether I should paint my garage and side doors to match the shutters or choose another color? My trim around the doors/windows is light tan. I currently have a dark mauve type of color on my garage/shutters. My neighbors right beside me already have gray and green shutters so I wanted to go different. Thanks so much for your help, Diane

  13. Kate Smith says:

    I think you are on the right track. A hue of blue could work for the shutters and doors but I would paint the garage door to match the trim rather than the shutters. Also if you are repainting the trim look at the color of the mortar between the bricks as a guide to the undertone or type of color. I would bet it might be more gray than tan so going with more of a taupe (tan with gray) might be a good choice rather than a yellow tan. For the blue you will probably also want to go a bit gray too rather than a blue that is very clear but looking at a sample is the best way to tell which blue will work best. ~Kate

  14. Deb says:

    Great site. I’ve recently purchased a small, all-brick vacation house near the bay and ocean. It was built in 1953. I am totally stumped with what color the shutters should be. The old shutters were originally white, but that was so boring. My eyes see the brick as orange with some plum(?). The roof is white with green speckles and the large vents on the roof are made of copper and have a green patina. The awning windows in the front of the house will be replaced with something similar, but with white trim. I need help; should the shutters be light or dark? Thank you in advance. I hope I’ve attached the pics of the house correctly.
    /Users/Deborah/Desktop/OG house front.jpg
    /Users/Deborah/Desktop/OG house rear.jpg

  15. Pamela says:

    Wow, this is wonderful. I am driving myself crazy trying to decide on exterior colors on our new home that we’re building. The roof and trim have been picked. The roof color is called Hickory, which is a brown w/black/red/orangish coloring in it. The trim is a cream color. We’re going for a very rustic, craftsman-style look. I have decided on shades of brown for the exterior, but can’t decide whether to go for a craftsman brown (lighter shade of brown) on the main, and a darker brown (quartersawn oak) shingle siding for the gables, or reverse. Or maybe the second floor should be darker brown and the first floor and gables should be lighter. We have 2 turrets, 1 in front and 1 in back, and our garage faces the side of the house. We also are putting on a small amount of stone to accent, which features chocolate brown, tans and blue/gray tones. The colors I am looking at are Behrs’ Mesa Taupe, Riviera Clay and Clay Pot (which all have a slight reddish tone), Behr’s Burnt Terra (chocolate tone), Dutch Boy’s Papoose (brown leather tone), and Sherwin Williams’ Craftsman Brown and Quartersawn Oak. I’m also thinking of choosing bluish-gray chairs for our large wrap-around porch. Our front door and garage doors are mahogany. I’d be happy to provide a picture of what’s built to date. ANY help you can provide would be terrific. Thank you.

  16. kirk C, says:

    I have a desert beige brick ranchhouse,
    what color do I use around the window’s, and eve’s, and reveal’s?
    i think my relative’s did it in a off white color that loook’s grossse now,
    what color do i do it in that will look good and harmonize with the brick?
    I put on some lite sage color on the garage and eve’s,
    but Im not sure if it’s gonna work?
    Please help me on this ok,
    Kirk C,

  17. Janelle says:

    Thanks Kate for covering a topic not typically discussed. The only part not covered that I hope you can shed some light on is taking the roof color into consideration. I am purchasing a home that is part red brick (grey grout) and part smooth hardy plank. The current color is a hideous dark mauvy-pinkish-brown, as if they painted it to *try* to match the brick. Picking a color based on your article above would be easy if my roof wasn’t a warm medium brown tone. We want to add shutters, but are clueless on what combines with the red brick and the brown roof. I feel like my options are so limited. Any tips to consider when keeping roof color in mind? Thanks in advance!

  18. June Lauer says:

    Recently purchased lovely Cape Cod 50 yrs old. Long because garage on one end and bedroom suite on other end.

    Center, main part of house is med light blue (and under porch) with white shutters; roof is med gray and dormers are very light blue with no shutters. Garage and bedroom wing and rest of house are terracotta base colored bricks with a white wash, and light blue shutters on those windows.

    Way too much baby blue. Needs new colors. Can you advise me?

  19. Lisa says:

    Hi, love the conversation. I’m trying to select exterior paint colors for my house and I need your advice. My home is 3 1/2 sides brick – light red/pink brick – gray grout and a black roof, 2 stories in the front, 3 on the sides and back (lots of pinkish/red brick!). Currently the trim is a light creamy tone, siding on back and deck is gray/blue. Its okay not great.

    I hired a color consultant but really not sure about her selection and the color she recommended for the deck can’t be done (I have to choose a transparent stain from their book). She chose Sherwin Williams 7052 Grey Matters for the siding and 7050 for the trim. Gray/green like you suggested above – with I think a little yellow -,not sure about the trim color, looks pale pistachio green in the shade, 2nd color on the the fan deck card. Should I go darker on the trim? I’m getting used to the “green” idea on the siding but I can’t find the right gray/green balance for the siding and trim…either pale limey green or too gray – that just looks like my trim is dirty. Plan to do the shutters and door in a soft black…have no idea what to do with the deck if I put green on the siding. HELP!!!! I’ve spent a small fortune already and haven’t even started painting!

    Any help greatly appreciated!

  20. Camille says:

    I have a split level home with beige siding, brick front on lower level and a brown/black/grey roof (I hate the roof). We are painting the shutters and door. The door is framed with molding. I would love a red door thatvcompliments the brick without fading away. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

  21. Camille says:

    Can you also suggest what color we should paint the shutters.
    Thank you very much.

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  23. Shelly says:

    We are painting our30 year old 2 storey house which has a sandstone lower front half. I am considering using a taupe/ beige similar to the mortar in the sandstone for the main house colour. What colour should the shutters be? I am thinking black doors. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

  24. carol says:

    We are currently refurbishing our condominium complex which includes repainting. Problem is, each section has a different brick color. One is red with gray tones, one is Chicago fire brick (orange/gray tones) and one is cream colored. The doors are painted a dark blue-green. The current siding/trim color is a light off white. Any suggestions? Oh, and we have black iron work railings on patios, balconies and stairways.

  25. HELP! I am sending out an S.O.S. plea…. We are in the process of stripping all the old, horrible paint off our 1930s brick home. I need to pick out new paint colors for the addition and trim ASAP. I am completely at a loss as to what color scheme will work with our multi-colored brick. I would probably go with an “almost black” brown or green for the windows (to keep a traditional look and offset our white window treatments) but that leaves me with the challenge of selecting a complimentary paint color for our ugly addition. I seriously don’t know which way to turn here. I would be ever so grateful for some guidance. Thank you!

    Here is a link to pictures of the house:

  26. I’d love to see the pictures but they didn’t load for me. Can you please check your images. Thanks.´s last blog post ..Insuladd® insulating paint additive

  27. Lisa says:

    I have similar problem as Lisa above – brick on 2 story home – light tan, rust mixed looks mostly pink. Single window on each side top and bottom with no trim around windows. Gutters and little trim by roof is tan. Basically looks like big pink box. We’re getting a new roof and I would greatly appreciate ideas on deterring from Pink – short of staining or painting the brick.

  28. Hey, I like the idea of using a complementary color for the trim. I would have never thought of combining that with the color of the grout. I’ll definitely recommend this to my friend who’s been trying to work on his home. He’s got a beige-ish red brick motif so your advice should work well.
    Michael Firstman@ Best Mig Welder´s last blog post ..Ingersoll Rand 80 – 120 Gallon Rotary Screw Air Compressor

  29. Judy says:

    We have a single brick home, the brick is tan, brown and black. We want to paint it and make it pop. We need help to figure out what color to paint the top trim, the shutters, and the front door which has a storm door on it also. Can you help? It is currently painted the dark brown to match the brown brick, It also has wrought iron railing across the front. they are black. help?? Thank you

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