Our Favorite Home Exterior Trends 2021: Looking Back

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As we look toward the end of the year, we’re reflecting on the top home exterior trends 2021 brought to the forefront. This is something we’re asked about frequently, and, earlier this fall, our co-founder Allison even spoke on a Salt Lake City TV segment about current exterior design trends. So we decided to round up 12 of our favorite curb appeal updates from this past year for you, below.

Plus, we find it valuable to look back at the year’s most popular design styles before forecasting for the year ahead. (Stay tuned for our 2022 forecasts in the weeks to come!)

We stay on top of home exterior trends (and commercial exterior trends!) so you don’t have to. When you partner with us on a virtual exterior design, our expert designers make recommendations on exterior paint colors, building materials to use, and design accents we know you’ll love based on our wide and deep swath of knowledge.

Before and after of a two-tone split level home

#1 // Two-tone exteriors

There’s nothing like using a two-tone color palette on a home’s exterior to create depth and dimension.

Sometimes our clients come to us with two-tone homes in need of a facelift, as in the brick and siding example above. They already had dimension, but the color palette was dated, so we stuck with the home’s built-in color-by-number outline but recommended new colors.

Before and after of a two-tone transitional home

In other instances, as with the stucco home above, the siding needs to be entirely reimagined. This home already had depth, but it was lost in a sea of tan. The new color palette recommended by our expert designers (Black Panther by Benjamin Moore on the vertical siding and Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore on the shake and trim) took care of that.

#2 // James Hardie siding all the way

We can’t get enough of James Hardie siding. It’s a building material that’s a rare fusion of beauty and durability, the perfect blend of form and function. Yes, we’re waxing poetic about fiber cement siding. But this stuff is such a beautiful design solution that we can’t help ourselves.

Here’s why:

Engineered for sustainability, James Hardie siding is durable and doesn’t crack or expand in extreme weather. It resists harsh climates and withstands UV rays, snow storms, freezing temperatures, and strong winds. Plus, James Hardie offers Color Plus Technology, which is done at their location and lasts longer than a typical paint job. A machine paints the siding before you receive it, using 50% more paint than an average painter. It resists fading, chipping, and cracking and looks better, longer.

Hardie Board siding comes in a rich tapestry of shades, with options for every home’s style and homeowner’s taste. Alternatively, you can paint James Hardie siding using Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, or any other paint colors of your choosing.

white traditional home with gray shutters
Virtual exterior design of a brick home painted in Seapearl with black accents
Virtual exterior design of a stucco home with an orange tile roof painted in Seapearl

#3 // Off-white paint

We love off-white paint colors on home exteriors: They’re versatile, timeless, and universal. In fact, we picked an off-white paint color — Seapearl by Benjamin Moore — as our exterior paint color of the year for 2021.

All three of the homes above are rendered in Seapearl. Vastly different settings and home styles, yet this paint color makes them all shine.

A home rendered in Caviar to illustrate one of the home exterior trends of 2021
Exterior home design trend 2021: Rendering of a home painted black
Coastal modern home painted in Hale Navy

#4 // Dark exterior paint colors

On the other side of the paint color spectrum, dark home exteriors have been on-trend for a few years now, and the look is here to stay. Black, charcoal gray, and navy are rich, moody, and expressive. We love when our clients want to go bold and provocative.

Virtual rendering of a home with a beautiful back yard entertaining area
Before and after of a modern farm house with more outdoor living space added

#5 // Indoor-outdoor living

Last year’s pandemic-induced shelter-in-place efforts led many families to value their outdoor spaces that much more. The concepts of “sheltering in the backyard” and socially distanced patio gatherings helped us stay sane. We’ve seen this emphasis on indoor-outdoor living last through 2021 and expect it will continue well beyond.

Many of our clients ask us to help them reimagine their front porches or create additional living space in their backyards. Outdoor fireplaces, functional furniture, and screened porches are some of this year’s most popular exterior updates.

An example of the home exterior trend of 2021: modern wood siding

#6 // Modern wood accents

At brick&batten, we are huge fans of the many different ways to incorporate modern wood siding into your home’s exterior design. Our designers use wood siding or cladding on homes in combination with stucco, vinyl siding, brick, and other textures. Cedar shake, wood siding, panels, and wood cladding transcend the boundaries of modern, rustic, and farmhouse-style homes. Wood adds texture and interest. Major win.

Virtual exterior design of a transitional home painted in Deep Creek
Home exterior design trend 2021: statement entryway, as illustrated with this sprawling ranch and it's new open gabled porch awning

#7 // Statement entryways

The front door should always be the focal point of your home’s exterior design. Make it a can’t-miss showstopper with a statement entryway. We love highlighting an entry in creative ways: think two-story columns for your porch awning, or a gabled awning with beautiful lighting beneath and a double front door to welcome you and your guests inside.

Virtual exterior design of a Spanish-style ranch with a carriage garage door

#8 // Intentional garage door design

It’s easy to forget about your garage when considering how to update your home’s exterior design. So many of us think of our garages as merely a place to keep our car and/or store stuff. It’s common for homeowners to have a blind spot when it comes to how their garages come across when viewed from the street.

Note: Front-load garages in particular have a major impact on curb appeal. Sometimes, they can cover a good half of the front of your home. There are two ways of dealing with front-load garages: either make it blend in with the rest of your home by painting it the same color, or make it beautiful with gorgeous materials, design elements, and windows. Usually, as with the example above, we focus on the latter.

Virtual exterior design of a ranch with house numbers on a Corten steel planter
An example featuring many of the home exterior design trends 2021 had to offer
Mid-century modern home with beautiful landscaping

#9 // Getting creative with house numbers

At brick&batten, we believe that house numbers are more than just a formula or location. Displaying them is an opportunity to make your home’s aesthetic more interesting and appealing. You can be bold with large-scale numbers or try out unique positioning. Consider placing your house numbers on a Corten steel planter, a retaining wall, or spotlighting them with interesting lighting. Have fun!

Virtual rendering of a home with a Galapagos Turquoise front door
Virtual rendering of a home with a front door painted in Wasabi

#10 // Bright front door

One detail that can make your home stand out amongst others in your neighborhood is painting your front door in a bright color.

Two paint colors we’re loving for front doors right now are Galápagos Turquoise and Wasabi, both by Benjamin Moore. Galápagos can work on homes of any style, while we tend to recommend Wasabi on modern or contemporary homes with darker exteriors.

Virtual rendering of a home with Bahama shutters, one of our top home exterior trends 2021

#11 // Bahama shutters

Bahama shutters differ from your standard side-hinged shutter in that they have top hinges, enabling homeowners to push them out and away from the house. Think of them as a sun visor for your window — and, as you might expect, these types of shutters are most often found in warmer climates. They bring a beachy, relaxed vibe to homes. Plus, they lend architectural interest to flat facades and/or on surfaces where side-hinged shutters wouldn’t fit comfortably.

Note: Keep in mind that your shutters should be the appropriate size to cover your windows, regardless of whether they’re merely decorative or you always keep them open. Too-thin shutters are an exterior design pet peeve of ours!

black ranch home with white chimney accent and bright door

#12 // Create privacy and interest with a screen wall

Clients often reach out to us looking to add front porches to their homes. We’re all about outdoor living and front porch sitting, but the front porch awning you use has to work with the architectural style of your home. And not every home can handle columns to support that awning. Enter: The screen wall. It supports an awning, creates a bit of privacy, and adds texture and interest.

Virtual rendering of a home with a decorative screen wall

And sometimes we recommend screen walls simply because they look cool as hell.

We love this design solution for modern and contemporary homes (and help you figure out the difference between those two styles here).

Virtual exterior design of a small ranch home with many of the home exterior design trends popular in 2021

Home Exterior Trends 2021… So What’s Next?

We imagine many of the trends we saw this past year will carry on into 2022. Home exterior design trends don’t change as often as, say, social media trends — and that’s a good thing! However, our expert design team is always paying attention to the exterior design space. We’re excited to dig into what’s on the horizon. Check back for more!

Whether you want a cutting-edge, on-trend exterior design or suggestions for a simple, timeless update, we have you covered. Learn more about how our virtual design service works, or dive right in on making your curb appeal dreams a reality today.