How To Modernize Your Home's Exterior With Black Accents

An expert guide for using black as a sleek outdoor accent colour.

Whether your home has a contemporary, traditional or rustic aesthetic, a touch of black makes a bold visual statement. Here are some tips for using black as a sleek outdoor accent colour.

As you can see in the house below, blacks, whites and grays are the secret to a sleek, modern look. Before being painted, the house had a tan wood trim and a gray-green door. Not very modern!

After a layer of black paint for the door and a warm gray for the wood trim, the home looks completely transformed into a chic living space!

Balancing Black

You don’t need to go all dark to incorporate black into your design. The key is finding a balance between dark hues and light ones within the composition of your space. For instance, a natural wood tone, like the one on the underside of this home, can work wonders to add warmth and balance to a heavy black or gray.

Too much of anything all in one area, light or dark, can throw off the harmony in a façade, just as it can with interior design.

Can You Go Too Far?

Of course, colour and design is highly subjective, but there are definitely scenarios in which painting a house entire black is a bit much. In the right context, though, this can actually be a great move! In cottage country it’s become a trend to paint or stain chalets and cabins black so that they just disappear into nature.  Here’s a great example of this in a very contemporary architectural style: the combination of black cladding, natural wood and the glass makes it just perfect in the setting. 

In another home the house is all black but the white underside of the porch ceiling and the white windows provides a strong contrast, so the look is sleek and contemporary. 

Where Should Black Accents Go?

A dark hue definitely highlights a home’s architectural details! Archways, framing, trim and pillars are ideal places to consider black paint. These elements add a lot of character and make every home unique, so don’t be afraid to enhance them. As well as adding a modern feel, black is also classic and sophisticated, which is why it is often used on shutters, doors, and smaller details like black iron hardware, lighting fixtures and urns. It also works on all kinds of facades, from urban townhouses to country estates and even with a farmhouse style! Even playing with different opacities will give it a different feel.

What Should You Keep In Mind While Painting?

There are of course tons of different black shades, so you may want to test a few out before painting and think about the look you want. A more crisp and graphic look requires a different technique than a softer, more rustic feel. This is a good cross-section of black paint options.

The difference may seem subtle, but some of them are definitely warmer with a brown undertone, where others are cooler almost blue or purple.  Be sure to test out a few samples before completely painting your house!

Swatches courtesy of Benjamin Moore.