A reader asked me for help because she thought she ruined her house. She had read one of my blog posts about curb appeal and asked me what she should do. She has a house with light to mid-brown bricks and dark brown shutters & garage doors. She had just installed a jet black roof and was concerned about the look of her house. Unfortunately the jet black roof color was too dark for the color of her bricks AND the color of the other elements of her house.
Choosing the wrong roof color is a VERY costly mistake and can devalue your home. A roof typically takes up approximately 40% of the landscape of your house, so it NEEDS to coordinate with what’s going on with the rest of the house.
What To Consider?
1. The Color(s) of Your House
The colors of your house needs to be your FIRST consideration when choosing a roof color. What color(s) are the bricks, stone and/or siding. Your colors absolutely need to be taken into consideration unless you’re painting the color of your house. (That’s a whole other story!)
Also what are the other colors are on your house like your front door, trim, shutters & garage door? These need to be considered but to a lesser extent because you can paint these to switch them if your roof color is the best choice for your exterior but doesn’t complement your door, a garage door, shutters etc.
2. The Style of Your Home
A black roof on a Spanish styled house would look silly. Likewise an orange-red terra cotta color on a traditional styled home would look inappropriate as well. The style of the home definitely needs to play a factor on choosing the right color. If you’re not sure what style your home is and what would be a suitable color, take a drive around your neighborhood and others with similar styles and get a feel for the colors that they are using. Don’t just go to one or two houses, because they could have chosen the wrong color!
3. How Big Is Your Roof?
Some houses have a higher pitched roof where you see alot of the roof whereas others have a lower pitched one. For high pitched roofs, darker colored roofs can dominate and make the house look top heavy.
The roof should NOT be the first thing you notice on a house!
This home would have benefited from a lighter shade in the brown tones due to the pitch of the roof and the warm earth tones of the stone & paint color of the house. Having a larger roof means you need to be careful that the roof does not become the focal point of the home!
4. Your Neighborhood
You also need to take into consideration what your neighbors’ roof colors are as well. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and be the only red, blue or green roof in the neighborhood. Similarly, you don’t have to be exactly the same as everyone else, but the color you choose should complement the neighborhood. This is the best approach for your curb appeal AND for the value of your home.
Need help picking out your front door color? Click here for my Front Door Paint Color package.
Most Common Roof Colors
Warm tones: Weather Woods & Driftwood Colors
Houses in the warm color family, like creams, beige, taupe & tan do well with roof colors that are mid-to-darker tones of brown commonly referred to as weather woods & driftwood among roof manufactures. Be careful not to choose a color too close to the color of brick, stone or siding. There must be some variety or the house will look totally bland. Pick a color from the brick or stone as your queue. If the house is a light cream, you will want to pick a darker shade for contrast. If the elements of your house are a darker brown for example, pick up a mid-tone shade in this family.
The homeowner above, picked a lovely roof color that complements the shutters and brick color of the home. The black door, however, is a harsh contrast and a blue like BM Van Deusen Blue would look lovely with it, or you could choose a color that matches the brick like Benjamin Moore Cognac if you want a color more subtle.
When choosing your roof color, you want the roof color to complement the stones, brick or siding, BUT you don’t want it to be the same color. If all the colors are the same, it will all blend in together and make the house look like a big blob. You want contrast in your exterior. The colors needs to work together.
Mid to light Grays
Pictured above it a traditional red/orange brick with black shutters and a charcoal gray roof. Black or charcoal gray would typically be the go to choice for this type of architecture but because of the steep roof, a mid-tone gray was a good choice for this house. A jet black roof could have over powered this house.
Black or Charcoal gray is a very popular roof color. Its a classic color and very versatile since it works with so well with many different colors of brick, siding, and stone. It works well on lighter cream or white houses. It also shows well with orange or red brick. Charcoal gray is also a good option as shown in the picture above because of the steep roof.
Even though black may be one of the most popular roof colors, it may not be, however, the best choice for your house. Especially if you have dark brick or stones, and/or if you have a large or high steeped roof. Black could be too heavy in those situations. In our picture above, a black roof would have made this house too top heavy.
Be careful when picking black or dark roofs in warmer climates. They attract heat and can make a house warmer.
Blue roofs are appropriate if you live in a beach or coastal town. Green roofs tend to be more popular in farm country. Both colors seem out of place in a city environment.
Like the blue & green colored roofs, red is a popular color but is more common in the south west part of the USA. Again, you need to look at what are popular colors in your neighbor. If no one has a red roof in your neighborhood, there’s a reason! Don’t pick it!
Don’t Choose Multi-Color Roof Tiles
Multi-color roof tiles are currently trendy. However, they can make a house look too busy if the brick or stone is a busy pattern. Also over time they can look blotchy on a house.
Multi colored tiles is a trend that the roofing companies promote, but that doesn’t mean that you have to go choose it. It’s a trend that may date over time and thus make your house look dated, especially for resale. Since changing a roof is expensive, its best to stay with a solid colored roof.
This house above is just way to busy with the multi-colored roof plus the stones. I get what they were trying to achieve here but your eye bounces back and forth between the roof and the stone. It doesn’t know where to look. The homeowner would have been better off if they had picked the dark gray shade of the colors shown above. Also switching the front door to a color that popped would really add to the curb appeal of this house.
What roof color would you have picked for the above house?
- Weathered brown?
The blue roof would look great in a coastal home but would look out of place in the city. The roof takes up approximately 50% of the real estate and you see alot of roof in this picture. A weather brown or a taupe roof would look nice on this house.
Here’s the same house with a blue roof with the gray siding & garage doors and a cute bright yellow front door. The blue roof doesn’t stick out so much because there is more color with the buttercup front door and the gray siding gives it more interest.
Get A Roof Visualization
Most roofing companies are able to give you a roof visualization before you purchase your roof. They take a picture of your house, upload it to their software and are able to help you visualize the final product before you hand over your hard earned money!
Related Curb Appeal Posts:
Did my reader ruin her house like she thought? A weathered brown look would have been a better choice for her. But lightening up some of her existing house features and with appropriate landscaping will help solve her too dark roof dilemma.
Do you need help with picking a roof color? Choosing the wrong roof color is a painful AND expensive mistake that can be avoidable.
Hi! I’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Color Consultant & Real Estate Investor.
I grew up learning how to read blue prints, going on construction sites and helping my dad, an Engineer|General Contractor|Co-Owner of a Design|Build|Engineering firm pick out paint colors for his buildings. Since 2006, I have been styling & staging hundreds of homes to make them look like they belong in a magazine page whether the client is styling to stay or staging to sell.
In my spare time, LOL, I buy “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent. I’m currently looking for my 10th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time! Read my full story including my design credentials here.