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If it hasn’t already, a black exterior might soon be making a debut in a neighborhood near you.

It’s captivating, authoritative, and confident.

A dark exterior seems to sharpen every architectural line, replacing vanilla colors with hues that grab your attention and don’t let go. Nothing against beige, but does it strike you quite like what you see here?

When dark exteriors burst onto the scene a few years ago, homeowners were stereotyped as artistic and daring. Often located in lush landscapes, the dark hues complemented the natural environment and let the greenery and colorful foliage jump off the background. The saturated, dark colors drew people in and differentiated their homes from the neighbors.

Quality Edge Vesta Steel Siding® in Gilded Grain and Ironstone

Dark is the next trend in color.

Kiki Redhead, Global Color and Trend Manager at Sherwin-Williams®, thinks so. “We see these dark colors associated with topics that people are interested in, including oceanography, deep Space exploration, and the future of technology,” she says. “It’s also prevalent in imagery of sustainability and climate change—think about natural disasters ash and charred wood. Even Netflix title screens are reflecting this migration to darker palette. These colors take over our screens and social feeds. It’s subliminal, and after a while, there’s a tipping point. Before you know it, a new color trend just takes root.”

Nursery by Jean Stoffer Design Photography: Stoffer Photography Interiors

It’s subliminal, and after a while, there’s a tipping point. Before you know it, a new color trend just takes root.

Kiki Redhead, Global Color and Trend Manager at Sherwin-Williams®

Obviously, dark color choices never fell into obscurity. According to CarMax, which dominates used car retail in the U.S., black was last year’s best-selling car color, accounting for about 23% of sales. And for cocktail parties, little black dresses literally never go out of style. But there’s something far more audacious about painting your entire home exterior that dark—something you can’t just trade in or take off at the end of the day.

Today, dark homes are popping up in markets across America. And as more designers and influencers post these images, the more other people see them—and are drawn to them. Black, navy, and charcoal are becoming a theme across digital mood boards, a trend that probably won’t lighten up anytime soon.

For Quality Edge, sales of black trim on homes have more than doubled since 2016—and continues to grow.

Quality Edge Vesta Steel Siding® In Coal and Autumn Thistle

Not ready for an all-black facade?

Consider These Complementary Features and Styles:

White trim adds high contrast.

Warm woods (walnut, dark ash, or Brazilian nut mahogany) add lower contrast.

Natural metal tones (gold, bronze, brass, copper, silver) add textural contrast.

Quality Edge Vesta Steel Siding® in Gilded Grain and Silver Lining

A comfortable, masculine elegance is achieved when warm wood tones are paired with dark, saturated colors.

Jean Stoffer, Jean Stoffer Design

The Upside of the Darkside.

While some homeowners have been hesitant to commit to a fully dark exterior, some see it and love it right away. Of course, for all homeowners, there are some functional factors to consider.

First, the positives. Dark homes can hide odd architectural features, pulling attention to other architectural details. Dark colors also add a bit of an edge to more traditional homes, giving them an updated look in a market where home values continue to climb. For homeowners not willing to go completely dark, these colors combined with warm wood details provide a design balance between captivating and comfortable.

For homeowners unwilling to go completely dark, the main alternative is using dark as an accent—such as trim or black windows.

While they love the colors, homeowners drawn to the dark do worry about the negatives that come with many solutions, like paint, vinyl, or fiber cement options. Dark colors tend to fade quicker in sunlight, and when the sun isn’t even during the day, it can create different tones over time. The maintenance typically associated with paint requires touch-ups and regular repainting to keep the color looking like it should. Dark colors are also notorious for absorbing sunlight, resulting in a hot box during the warm summer months.

For this reason, homeowners are opting for steel siding as an alternative to paint. Quality Edge Vesta Steel Siding® is the only product on the market available in Coal (black) and Ironstone (dark gray) that offers a lifetime warranty against chalk and fade. The process is complex. The steel layer is coated with zinc before receiving the dark paint color and then a Kynar finish is applied to the top. The process is innovative. The Kynar coating does two things: It holds the color and reflects the UV rays of the sun to keep the dark color saturation and it also reduces interior home temperatures. Available in complementary wood tones, homeowners and designers are scrambling to get samples and see installations of these dark color designs that don’t come with many of the concerns of traditional siding solutions.

Quality Edge TruCedar® Siding in Ironstone with White Trim

Color Trends

The Sherwin-Williams® 2021 Color of the Year is Urbane Bronze.

“Bold and understated, our Color of the Year is the new neutral that can be used wherever and however,” the company’s website says. “Pair it with other warm neutrals and bone whites to create an updated take on minimalism.”

For a similar look to Urbane Bronze, consider TruCedar® or Vesta Steel Siding® in Ironstone.

Quality Edge Vesta Steel Siding® in Gilded Grain and Ironstone

By definition, trends come and go. So, what can you expect when committing to a dark exterior? Kiki Redhead adds some perspective. “Dark colors have been rising for the last three to four years,” she says. “It’s hard to say how long until this trend plateaus. The gradual adoption takes a while. Typically, influential designers go first, then builders and contractors jump on board, then it trickles down to the homeowner. It’s probably five to six years before we see this trend hit its apex.”

If you’re tempted by the idea of a dark home, but have some reservations, you aren’t alone. There’s maintenance and upkeep that other colors don’t have. You might worry if it will look good in 25 or 30 years. But the movement toward dark colors is only in its infancy. And when it’s the next big thing on Dwell and HGTV, you might wish that you were one of the early adopters.

Searching for On-Trend Colors?

Sherwin-Williams® has countless colors to complement your exterior,

including their 2021 Color of the Year, Urbane Bronze.

Find inspiration at SWCOLORFORECAST.COM.

Kitchen by Jean Stoffer Design Photography: Stoffer Photography Interiors
Quality Edge TruCedar® Siding in English Saddle


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