Similar to plaster, stucco is made from a mixture of cement, fine builder's sand, and water. In addition to its signature textured appearance, stucco has many sustainable features: The ingredients are easily obtained from local sources, the long-lasting pigment keeps its color so you won't need to repaint your home very often, and depending on the climate, the finish can last 80 years or more. It's also one of the oldest building materials around and can be traced back to ancient Greece, so there's no debating its longevity.
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Thanks to its ability to be both subtle and classic without being boring or passé, stucco has managed to remain a popular exterior siding choice. One of stucco's most appealing properties is that it's customizable and can be finished with various textures from smooth to pebbled to swirled, making it suitable for a variety of different architectural styles from Mediterranean to Spanish to traditional.
"Stucco is my siding material of choice because it's endlessly flexible. I typically opt for a smooth Santa Barbara finish for modern structures and an old-world finish with some undulated texture for Tudor English cottages or Mediterranean houses," says Beatriz Rose, principal and lead designer of byrdesign. "It masks the inevitable imperfections of other existing elements like wood rafters and window trim. The hand-troweled technique celebrates the human eye [and hand craftsmanship]. For a Southwestern, Cali-Mexican Ranch, or Adobe house, I like the California showcase texture with some chunky strokes because it mimics the formation of [the] desert ground."
Stucco is fire-resistant and can be painted any color, so it's easy to understand why it's a popular choice for homeowners. But it's susceptible to cracking if the soil beneath it settles or shifts so it's best to select another siding option if you live in an area where the soil is rich in clay, which is notorious for movement. Unfortunately, stucco also lacks insulation properties which is why it's more common to find stucco homes in warm, arid locales, like the southwest, where the dry air and high temperature contribute to its stability.
Painting a home's exterior is a costly and time-intensive endeavor, so it's important to consider your palette carefully. For a look that will stand the test of time, honor the architecture of your home and its location by painting the stucco siding with appropriate colors. "I usually select [the] stucco color at the same time as all [the] other exterior elements like the front door, window trim, shutters, as well as any landscape details such as a pergola, pool liner, deck or patio flooring, and roofing material," Rose adds. "When selecting shades for stucco, I take into account [the] location and try to stay authentic to the home's architectural style."
If you have an adobe-style home located in the southwest, a desert-inspired exterior color scheme made up of ochre, brown, dusty rose, and muted oranges would be most fitting. Mediterranean homes, on the other hand, look ideal in shades of pale yellow, white, and gray. Neutral shades are incredibly versatile and pose less of a challenge when selecting a paint color for the trim, but don't forget to take into account the presence of undertones that can cause the color to read differently depending on the light. Take a holistic approach to your home's exterior color palette just as you would on the interior. Assess what details (the window trim, garage door, roofline) you want to emphasize or minimize, and don't forget to take into account hardscaping and landscaping. Consult the color wheel to determine what hues will complement each other when selecting paint.
Still not sure what colors would be best for your traditional stucco home? Scroll on for our favorite color combinations and paint suggestions.
18 Exterior Paint Colors Perfect for Stucco Homes
Select a neutral color that won't compete with the surroundings for your stucco siding. Crisp white paint, like the shade Laura Genevieve of Blanco Bungalow selected for her charming Spanish cottage, is versatile and will work on both expansive and quaint homes and various architectural styles. The simple white stucco backdrop allows the original red tile roof and desert-inspired landscaping to sing.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Brilliant White
With neutral exterior color schemes, like the beige stucco on this charming abode by Emily Henderson, you don't need to worry about reigning in accent colors, fearing they'll clash or be visually overwhelming. For example, patterned blue and white tile is the focal point of this outdoor patio and works seamlessly with the rest of the design. Coordinating blue and white trim around the French doors is a subtle detail that results in a cohesive and thoughtful look.
Get the look: Valspar Accessible Beige
South Carolina-based photographer Kristin Lee captured this cheerful pink home exterior. The whimsical landscaping and simple black shutters complement the rosy stucco color and add playful curb appeal.
Get the look: PPG Paints Powder Rose
4. Terra Cotta
Desert locales are known for having rich terra-cotta-colored exteriors that blend seamlessly into the topography. For example, this single-story dwelling by Karen White Interior Design has a welcome earthiness thanks to the rich burnt orange stucco and reclaimed wood accents. We love how the architecture frames a pool in the distance and functions as a window to the mountains beyond.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Adobe Orange
5. Light Blue
If you're tempted to paint your stucco home with an unexpected color, but aren't ready to try something too daring, a cool shade of blue with gray undertones manages to be both classic and unique. This traditional home by Amy Sklar flaunts a timeless facade with light blue stucco, black shutters, and white trim. A vibrant canary yellow front door color is a playful touch that injects life and energy into the exterior.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Pike's Peak Gray
Once reserved for contemporary home exteriors, black paint can now be found on a variety of different architectural styles from craftsman to farmhouse. It's a sophisticated and versatile choice that works well with a high-contrast trim color or a bold front door. Alternatively, a completely monochrome look, as seen on the facade of this swanky townhouse spotted by interior designer Paula Grant, is equally eye-catching.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Black Magic
San Francisco houses aren't shy about color, and why should they be if they can look like this yellow stucco exterior? Simple white trim adds definition to the garage door and windows. Plus, it looks oh-so-good next to its pink neighbor.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Dayroom Yellow
Located on the color wheel somewhere between orange and pink, peach infuses happiness and cheer into exteriors. It looks surprisingly fitting on contemporary homes, like this one, which gives the sweet shade a bit of edge. Pair it with black trim for visual weight and to highlight architectural features.
Get the look: Backdrop 36 Hours in Marrakesh
There's no hiding a cherry red stucco exterior, but why would you want to? It's an enduring hue that looks grounded and classy, especially when used in conjunction with black trim, as seen on this home spotted on Renewal by Andersen. Small details, like gold numbers affixed to the transom, are an elegant touch.
"The best color choices for stucco home exteriors would be any colors that Mother Nature has created. If you are in a warm or tropical climate, use lighter, bright colors, light-colored neutrals, and corals. If your home is located further away from the equator, choose darker more saturated colors — dark reds, dark greens, and blacks," says Sabra Ballon, founder and principal designer of ballonSTUDIO. "Also, consider your landscaping and exterior lighting. If you have sconces that are using the walls as reflectors, choose a lighter color. Green landscaping will look beautiful against a rich grey or black."
Get the look: Glidden Cherry Red
Who knew lilac could look so elegant as an exterior paint color? Paired with ebony shutters, trim, and lighting, the feminine shade on this home belonging to designer Emma Edmonds looks decidedly sophisticated and elegant. Take the English countryside feeling to the next level and introduce color with boxwood hedges and potted rosemary.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore French Lilac
One of the most unique aspects of light-colored stucco is that it looks different in the changing light (which also means you should test it out on various areas of your exterior before you commit). Warm shades of off-white or cream, like the one used on this Spanish bungalow by byrdesign, also allow bespoke details like the Spanish tile, pale green door, and archway to stand out.
Get the look: Clare Like Buttah
12. Charcoal Gray
If you love the moodiness of a black exterior but aren't quite ready to embrace the ebony shade, dark gray is a great compromise offering a similar dramatic appearance without looking too severe. This home spotted on Brick and Batten flaunts charcoal gray stucco alongside a combination of wood and stone for a modern look that's warm and welcoming.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Graphite
13. Sage Green
As an earth tone, it's no surprise that shades of green are an ideal choice for stucco homes that are surrounded by greenery. Many verdant hues, like the timeless sage color used on this Tudor home by Toth Construction function as a neutral, making them easy to pair with a number of accent colors. We're partial to the classic gray roof and ironwork seen here.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Mizzle
There's nothing wrong with playing it safe with a neutral exterior paint color like tan. It's the perfect backdrop for flaunting notable architectural accents. With its muted siding and gray doors and shutters, this Mediterranean home spotted on Farrow and Ball's Instagram feed is a good reminder that contrast need not be cold or uninviting.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Dimity
If you are looking for a pop of color that can still act as a neutral, you can't go wrong with navy blue. Pair with another classic, such as white, for the trim, and voilà ... now you have a charming and eye-catching home exterior that's far from overbearing or showy. This cozy cottage spotted on Rowland Paint has the right idea.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Commodore
16. Mint Green
Maximize curb appeal (and give the neighborhood something to talk about) with a dreamy mint green stucco exterior. The pastel shade might be most fitting in a beachside setting, but if you're looking for a trendy hue that will being you joy, throw caution to the wind and give it a try. Take inspiration from this multi-story home by Stull Construction and pair mint green with white trim to temper the look and minimize contrast.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Refreshing Teal
Stucco exteriors in vibrant shades of blue like aqua, turquoise, and teal have tropical vibes written all over them. While the look can be used in other locations, it feels most natural in temperate climates surrounded by palm trees. For example, this home by Vero Beach Custom Homes uses analogous shades of aqua and teal alongside white accents for a cheery, warm-weather retreat.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Blue Ground
18. Light Gray
Amp up curb appeal and inject personality into your facade by pairing neutral stucco siding with a playful front door. Smooth stucco, like the light gray variety used on this home by Daleet Spector Design, is ideal for modern and contemporary exteriors that put a premium on form and materials. But don't take yourself too seriously: A sleek door in robin's egg blue is a welcome counterpoint to the streamlined architecture.
Get the look: Merlex Bay Ridge
Best Paint Colors for Stucco Home Exteriors
Stucco is a hardworking option for exterior siding. With roots that can be traced to ancient Greece, there's no doubt that it's an enduring material that can stand the test of time. Stucco is made from readily available elements and can retain color for many years, making it an environmentally sound choice. Although fire-resistant, it lacks insulation properties and is susceptible to cracking so it's best used in warmer locales with stable ground.
When selecting a paint color for stucco, as with any siding, take into account your home's style, surroundings, and trim. Paint selection is a personal endeavor so it's important to choose what makes you happy, but we're partial to using the following hues:
- Terra cotta
- Light blue
- Charcoal gray
- Sage green
- Navy blue
- Mint green
- Light gray