ISSUE 51  |  Snow Days

The 8 Best Red Exterior House Paints

December 24, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

Red is a great house color, but only the right red will do. We searched high and low for the best exterior red paint colors, only to learn that the range of “right” reds is surprisingly wide. From traditional farmhouse reds imbued with orange to pink-inflected shades for bold front doors, the right red is sophisticated and surprisingly versatile.

Swatch photographs by Meredith Swinehart. Photography shot with the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR camera, with Dual Pixel AF technology and built-in Wi-Fi. 

Above: Top row, left to right: Benjamin Moore Cottage Red; Benjamin Moore Million Dollar Red; Farrow & Ball Rectory Red; and Farrow & Ball Blazer. Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Caliente; Sherwin-Williams Solid Color Stain in Cape Cod Red; Benjamin Moore Heritage Red; and Cabot Solid Stains Barn Red

Above: The proprietor of Seattle homewares shop Watson Kennedy used Benjamin Moore Million Dollar Red on his Vashon Island, WA home. Million Dollar Red leans orange, unlike the pink reds shown here, but is significantly brighter than the farmhouse reds like Barn Red. House photo by Jane Dagmi via ColorChats.

Above: Painted in Farrow & Ball’s vermilion Blazer, this door was a finalist in the company’s Great Outdoors Competition and belongs to Sinéad Allart of France. Blazer is the lightest of all the reds in our group.

Above: Another finalist in Farrow & Ball’s front doors competition, this one from Pinky Laing of the UK, is painted in the company’s Rectory Red. According to Farrow & Ball, a vermilion color (like Blazer) was historically made cheaper by the addition of red lead. The lead would blacken over time, turning vermilion paint into a shade similar to Rectory Red. This shade is the pinkest of the bunch, followed by Caliente then Heritage Red

Above: Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects used Sherwin-Williams Woodscapes Solid Color Exterior House Stain in Cape Cod Red on this second home and artist’s studio in Indiana. This shade is the lightest of the “farmhouse” reds shown here; Barn Red is darker, followed by Cottage Red. Find more images of the project in Architect Visit: Camp Charlie by Wheeler Kearns. Photo by Tom Rossiter.

Above: This home from the portfolio of Portland, ME-based architects Kaplan Thompson is painted in Cabot Stains Barn Red, a true orange-toned farmhouse red. Photo by Trent Bell.

Above: This home from the blog Jay’s House is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Cottage Red, a brick color that is the darkest shade of our group.

Above: Designer Ken Fulk updated this San Francisco Victorian with a front door in Benjamin Moore’s Heritage Red. Photo by Francesco Lagnese via House Beautiful

Above: LA-based P2 Design used Benjamin Moore Caliente on this Brentwood home; spotted on Delorme Designs

Not ready for red? Browse our recommended exterior paint picks in White; GrayBlack; and Green.