Inspiration5 min

Small Home Design Ideas: Best Exterior Colors for Your Custom Smaller Home

You're likely building more smaller houses than you were about five years ago. Homeowners across the country want affordability, energy efficiency, or simply less home to clean and maintain so they have the weekend to explore-or they're empty nesters. Whatever the reason, they still want their small home exterior to have maximum curb appeal and have all the charm and pizzazz of a larger home. 

Whether you’re building a mountain retreat, small cottage or tiny home, homebuyers will be looking to you for small house siding ideas. Let’s take a look at small home exterior colors, styles and siding combinations that will make your build the envy of the neighborhood. 

Small Houses With Siding

Small homes don't have to be small on style. Whatever your client's aesthetic, you can help them achieve the look they'll be happy to call home. For example:

  • Mix Materials – Give your build individuality and visual appeal by mixing and matching different materials like engineered wood, stone, glass and metal. 
  • Play up character and style - Small doesn't mean boring. Create unique visual interest with a variety of lengths of lap or vertical siding-or create a board and batten aesthetic
  • Pay attention to details – Use materials like LP® SmartSide® Trim & Fascia to create a unique style in the corner boards, windows and doors as well as cedar texture shakes in the gables or second story. 
  • Create texture – If a design seems to lack depth, add different textures—even in the same color—for greater impact. LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding is available in cedar texture and smooth finish for beautiful curb appeal. 

While there are many factors to consider when choosing the right siding for a small house, durability should always be at the top of the list. LP SmartSide Trim & Siding offers superior protection against hail, wind, moisture, fungal decay and termites, and it's one of the most durable house siding solutions on the market, so your build can withstand the passage of time.

Choosing the Best Exterior Colors for Small Homes

To help choose an exterior color that works best for your client's small home, start by looking at the neighborhood. Based on the architectural style of the home, what exterior colors look best? The most beautiful home with the best curb appeal isn't necessarily the largest.

While lighter blues, greens and beiges tend to trick the eye into making the home appear larger than it is, often stark white or an unusually bright color can make a house seem much smaller. 

Small Home Exterior Design Ideas for Custom Homes

Professionals advise to look at the home's setting for the best color options. Custom home builders Erik and Jaime Perkins of Perkins Builder Brothers build small homes on mountain sites in The Great Smoky Mountains, where Erik Perkins believes it’s important to design a home that fits the area. 

"In the mountains, you can look across and see for miles. If someone has a bright red roof, it sticks out like a sore thumb," says Perkins. "We encourage our clients to choose a color scheme that blends into the surroundings like it's supposed to be there."

Small home exterior designs are a bit different than a larger one. "Obviously you have less surface area to deal with," says Perkins. "You can't have a big footprint when you're building on steep mountain terrain."

Perkins shared a recent custom build he and his brother built. While many would describe it as a mountain aesthetic, Perkins calls it modern rustic. "We like earth tones and natural colors so it blends in with the surroundings. The more modern it is, the more we like to mix and match different materials for a modern flair," explains Perkins.

The eastern side of The Great Smoky Mountains creates its own tepid rain forest because of the uplift of the mountains. "It rains and storms a lot. We definitely want to use siding products that can handle a lot of moisture and rain. That's one reason why we use LP SmartSide Trim & Siding products-we need to make sure our homes can handle moisture. We also like this product because of the warranty, ease of installation and the cost," he says.

On their latest project, Perkins used LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® in Canyon Brown. “If we’re using a darker brown body color, I recommend my clients use a coordinating lighter brown like Prairie Clay, which is a similar intensity of color.” 

With a small rustic modern home Perkins cautions against using contrasting colors, choosing instead to blend trim with the main body. 

Small Home Siding Ideas for Tiny Houses

Looking at photo galleries, it seems tiny houses can break all the color and style rules. 

We asked Nikki Cheatham for her insight into small home exterior colors. She’s the marketing, social media director, designer and part owner—along with her husband and brother-in-law—of Moveable Roots, a luxury tiny home builder in Melbourne, Florida. 

"Because it's a small home, you see it all at once. Creating a two-tone exterior or using different textures adds dimension and depth. It looks flat with just one color," she says. Cheatham also uses a combination of horizontal and vertical panels. "It would look all over the place on a regular house, but we get super creative--it's a look we're known for creating."

Like Perkins, Cheatham recommends color palettes that complement the surroundings of the tiny home. "A bright blue has a Florida vibe that looks great in the Florida Panhandle, but it would certainly look out of place in New York, for example," she says.

"If our clients are using the home to travel in, we need to build our trailers as light as possible. That's where we love the LP SmartSide Trim & Siding--there's just so many benefits to it," she adds. Cheatham appreciates all the variety LP SmartSide Trim & Siding has available to create a luxury tiny home their customers love.

Many builders find it easier to jump-start the conversation by using tools by LP made just for this purpose. Browse home styles or use the Home Visualizer to help your clients imagine different colors and textures. 


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