If you’ve been following us at brick&batten for any length of time, you know we are big fans of stark contrast, modern lines, and bold colors. So, don’t be confused by this post professing our love for an earth tone color palette. With their warm and cozy vibes, earth-tone home exteriors have earned a spot in our hearts alongside white-and-black and color-blocked designs.
Not sure how to introduce earth tones into your exterior design? We can help you determine the right shades to match your home’s style and surroundings. Partner with our expert team of designers to make your earthy dreams come true.
What is an earth tone?
Generally speaking, an earth tone is a color with brown in it. Perhaps an oversimplification, but it’s the best definition for our purposes. To be more specific, however, most earth tone colors are seen in nature: greens, browns, blues, and even some reds. While you can certainly see shocking pink and bright purple outdoors, they’re not very common and as such are not considered earth tones.
Why an earth tone color palette?
Earth tone colors are inspired by nature and often give off warm and cozy vibes. They are a safe bet in most applications because nature never goes out of style. For some people, the modern and crisp color palette can come across as too stark. As such, using or adding in some earth tones can make your home seem more balanced, down-to-earth, and approachable.
For homeowners who want their house to feel like part of the landscape, an earth tone color palette can achieve an aesthetic that doesn’t draw the attention away from the scenery but complements it instead. Regardless, here are some of our favorite earth tone color palettes to inspire your next home remodel.
#1 // Aegean Olive & Manchester Tan
Aegean Olive and Manchester Tan, both by Benjamin Moore, are featured in the home rendering above. These colors have brown hues and are therefore considered earth tones. Aegean Olive has an LRV of 9.59, meaning it is not very reflective of light. If you want your home to stand out, this dark green shade will work best in open, sunny spots. (If you’re not sure what we mean when we bring up LRV, learn more about Light Reflective Value here.) Manchester Tan, on the other hand, has an LRV of 64.4. It’s reflective, but because it’s in the tan/beige/off-white family, it’s not stark by any means. It’s a classic, elegant option that provides some contrast to Aegean Olive, but not too much.
#2 // James Hardie Baked-On Color Palettes
We love working with James Hardie products because they’re unique and very durable. While homeowners can absolutely paint James Hardie siding any color of their choosing, their baked-on color palette is a great option for longevity. We provided the client with two earth tone color palettes in the above example. The first is White Bungalow and Gravel Gray. The second, a much more earthy feel, is Canvas Beige and Stormy Gray. Stormy Gray has a clear brown undertone to it, which pairs so well with Canvas Beige. The black garage doors blend with the earthy colors in the second example (instead of standing out in the first).
#3 // Summer Sage & Revere Pewter
Using earth tones with contemporary design might seem counterintuitive, but it can work really well depending on the surroundings. This home’s James Hardie paneling in Summer Sage softens the hard angles and allows the home to blend into the trees. Revere Pewter on the brick base level anchors the home and provides some natural contrast.
#4 // Sage Mountain & Black
This brick transitional ranch home is rendered in Sage Mountain by Benjamin Moore. The black roof and shutters with wood accents give the home a cozy, warm feeling. Sometimes black can provide too much contrast and appear cold, but this shade — Black by Benjamin Moore — has some warmth and a very slight brown undertone to it.
#5 // Gray Huskie & Anonymous
If you’re looking for an earth tone color palette with a little bit of contrast but a lot of versatility, look no further. We love Gray Huskie by Benjamin Moore for its warmth and slight blue undertone with no hint of purple. It’s a great neutral gray for indoors and outdoors, trim, and whole-house applications. But perhaps the star of the show in the exterior design above is Anonymous by Sherwin Williams. It’s a complex neutral with green, gray, and brown tones. Testing this paint color on your house is a must because it presents itself very differently depending on surroundings and natural light.
#6 // Cottage Red & Chelsea Gray
You won’t see red too often in the brick&batten earth tone color palette. This isn’t because red is uncommon on home exteriors — hello, brick! — but because it often provides too much contrast for many of the environments we work with. That said, Cottage Red by Benjamin Moore is a gorgeous deep brick color that allows this tiny, unassuming cottage to stand out among the looming forest that surrounds it. Chelsea Gray, also by Benjamin Moore, is a warm green-gray that balances the moody red and grounds the home.
#7 // Aegean Olive & Elemental
We couldn’t help but mention Aegean Olive again, but this time paired with Elemental, also by Benjamin Moore. Elemental is an interesting color because it’s considered a medium yellow but often presents as a green-beige in exteriors because it pulls from the surrounding landscaping. Using Aegean Olive on a different house style and material from #1 above shows its versatility as an earth tone color option.
We always recommend sampling and testing paint colors before committing. Factors such as natural lighting, undertones, and your property’s fixed elements will have a significant impact on how a color will appear on your exterior. Our friends at Samplize offer extra-large 9 x 14.75 inch peel-and-stick paint samples of the colors we love for exteriors. Order your ‘Real Paint, No Mess’ samples from Samplize here.
#8 // Deep Creek & Revere Pewter
Deep Creek by Benjamin Moore is one of our favorite earth tones because we love a dark, moody color. With a green-brown base, but an LRV of just over 13, Deep Creek works well on many home styles. You can’t go wrong when pairing it with the warm gray Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.
#9 // Deep River & Pale Oak
We’ve been using Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore frequently in our recent exterior designs because of its versatility as a warm gray/taupe neutral. That’s why it’s a great choice for our earth tone color palette, paired in this example with Deep River, also by Benjamin Moore. Deep River is a deep gray with green undertones and works well on traditional as well as modern homes. In the shade, the color will look a lot more moody, so be sure to test it first.
#10 // Iron Mountain & Black
Last but not least, we love this example of a monochromatic earthy mountain home rendered in Iron Mountain by Benjamin Moore. If you’re looking for moody, stormy earth tones that have a modern edge, this home is a great example. Iron Mountain’s blue undertones show a slightly blue-gray tone in direct sunlight. However, it will look like a muted black in the shade, so you’ll want to consider your home’s location before committing to this paint color. (And, as always, test first!)
Earth Tone Exteriors Are Here to Stay
There are nearly as many earth tone colors in exterior design as there are in nature. Whether you’re looking to complement your natural surroundings or stand out in your natural oasis, there’s an earth tone color palette that’s right for you. In the 10 examples above, you can see how each color pairing works together to create interest, contrast, and a warm, inviting feel.
Our designers at brick&batten are ready and waiting to help bring your earthy exterior dreams to life! Get started today on creating the perfect house for your natural surroundings.
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