ISSUE 101  |  The Early Bird

The 8 Best Red Exterior House Paints

December 05, 2013 4:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

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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, a good red is sophisticated and 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 housewares shop Watson Kennedy used Benjamin Moore Million Dollar Red on his Vashon Island, WA, home and shed. Million Dollar Red leans towards orange, unlike some of the pink reds in our lineup, but it’s 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 its Blazer shown above) was historically inexpensively using red lead. The lead blackened over time, turning vermilion paint into a shade similar to Rectory Red. This one is the pinkest of our 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 country house and artist’s studio in Indiana. The shade is the lightest of the farmhouse reds in our lineup; 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 shingled house from the portfolio of Portland, Maine, architects Kaplan Thompson is painted in Cabot Stains’ Barn Red, a true orange-toned farmhouse red. Photo by Trent Bell.

Above: Discovered on the blog Jay’s House, a house in Benjamin Moore’s Cottage Red, a brick color that is the darkest shade of our group.

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

Above: P2 Design of LA used Benjamin Moore’s Caliente on this Brentwood house, spotted on Delorme Designs

Not ready for red? Browse our recommended exterior paint picks in WhiteGrayBlack, and Green.