How to Choose the Right Fence Color

Colorful fence

After a lot of research, you’ve finally landed on a fence style and material. But now you have to choose the right fence color. 

Cue the dancing paint swatches!

There are a lot of things to consider before painting your fence. But, no need to fret: We’ll detail all you need to know about how to choose the right fence color to complement your home and your style.

In this article, we’ll cover:

What to Consider When Choosing a Fence Color

Fence Material Matters When Choosing a Color

Popular Fence Colors

FAQ About How to Choose the Right Fence Color

What to Consider When Choosing a Fence Color

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a fence color. First, decide what you want to be the focal point. Is the house the main attraction, the landscaping, the pool, or is the fence where you want to pull focus? 

A fence is a part of your property, so you want it to add value to your home.

Your Exterior Siding Color

A fence can be considered a continuation of your home’s exterior, so picking a color to complement it is key. 

Light and Bright: White, beige, tan, and pastel-colored exteriors

  • The options are endless with a light exterior since they match everything. For instance, if you have a tan home, maybe go with a white or brown fence.
  • If you have a white home, you can’t go wrong if you want to continue those crisp white lines with a white fence. For a fence that will contrast beautifully with your clean, white home, try black aluminum or a natural wood fence.
  • White vinyl, or a gray or black aluminum fence pairs nicely with a light-colored home.

Dark and Dramatic: Brown, black, dark green, and dark gray homes

  • Add a little pop of color and choose a fence that contrasts with the exterior such as a wooden fence painted red, gold, blue, or yellow.
  • You can never go wrong with a black fence for a modern-looking home or add some dimension with a two-toned fence.

Bold and Brash: Uniquely painted exteriors

  • For these homes, you want the fence to play a supporting role to your home if the exterior color is meant to steal the show. Keeping it simple and going with a subtle fence color is best.
  • A natural stained wood or classic white fence are options for a more neutral and understated look.

Cool and Contemporary: Modern Gray and blue siding

  • Nothing looks better with a beautiful light blue home than the classic white picket fence. You can’t go wrong with the clean white lines of a traditional fence.
  • Wood, vinyl, and aluminum are all materials available in a solid white.

Timeless and Textured: Brick, stone, and stucco homes

  • A black aluminum fence is the most common fence for these homes.
  • Since both stucco and stone homes tend to be more on the modern side, consider extending your home’s texture and color to your fence with a stucco or stone fence designed to match.
  • A textured bronze aluminum fence also could be a stunning option for a home with neutral undertones.
  • For a brick home, you can’t go wrong with either a white picket or black aluminum fence.

Match Your Trim

When in doubt, match your trim. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to match your fence color with the trim on your house. This will ensure your fence will still coordinate with your home without overpowering with one main color. For instance, a white vinyl fence will bring a sense of cohesiveness to a blue home with white trim. 

Stick to Your Style

When choosing a fence color, pick a color that will complement your home’s style. 

Do you have a farmhouse or ranch-style home, or maybe a colonial-style home? Embrace the character of your home. After all, your home’s charm is part of why you bought the house

Maybe try an oak stain for ranch-style homes or white picket for a Cape Cod-style home. For a colonial-style home, a black wrought-iron or aluminum fence is the way to go.

Consider Permanent Structures

If you already have other structures in your yard, it’s best to work with them and not against them by matching their colors to create a more complete look. You’ll also want to coordinate with any current color palette on your patio or deck. 

It may be tempting to do something bold and change it up, but generally, it’s best not to mix and match different materials. For instance, a vinyl pergola works best with a vinyl fence.

Work With Your Landscape

Don’t put all that hard work into an elaborate landscape design just to have it upstaged by a fence. A lighter-colored fence will help pull the focus forward so your beautiful blossoms will be center stage and the fence can fade into the background. Or consider a dark-colored fence if you want to make your yard appear larger.

Follow HOA Guidelines

Be sure you check with your local Homeowner’s Association for any restrictions. Some HOA’s have strict rules about what materials and colors you are allowed to use on your property. You may even have to submit your plans for approval.

Consider Your Neighbors

When preparing to build a fence, don’t forget to talk to any neighbors who may be impacted. It’s considered good neighbor etiquette to discuss plans before starting your project, particularly if you are building a boundary fence. You will want to consider the type of fence and the color you choose to paint it.

Fence Material Matters When Choosing a Color

There are many more things to consider other than just color when building a fence. The material you choose will greatly impact not just what color will look best but also the colors that are available in your chosen material. 

Wood

Whether you choose to stain your wooden fence or paint it, there are countless colors to choose from for your fence. Stick with a stain for the natural classic wood fence. Or consider going bold and painting your fence black for a truly eye-catching addition to your property. For a more muted experience try tan or gray. And of course, it’s hard to go wrong with the classic white picket fence.

Vinyl

Color options for vinyl are almost endless. White, black, gray, tan, and wood grain are some of the popular colors for vinyl fencing. But don’t forget, since vinyl is a man-made material, if you can dream it, it’s likely possible. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Wrought Iron

Think black is the only color option for a wrought iron fence? Think again. Wrought iron fences can be custom ordered in numerous colors. Brown is a great choice if you are looking for a more earthy, natural feel. Wrought iron also can come in white, gray, blue, green, and bronze among other more unique, customized colors.

Aluminum

You can’t go wrong with the elegance of a black aluminum fence, but don’t forget to consider changing it up and maybe choosing a bronze or white option. Silver is a bold and unique option that will match almost any home looking to draw attention.

Chain Link

Choosing a color-coated polymer or PVC chain-link fence is a great way to dress up this budget-friendly option. White, brown, green, and black are your most widely used and available colors, however, it is possible to special order other colors. 

Find out more about the “Most Popular Types of Fences” or help with “How to Choose the Right Fence for Your Yard.”

There are so many colors to choose from when it comes to fencing that it can be quite overwhelming. But choosing the right color for your type of fence and home will ultimately be what can take your outdoor living area from just OK to the envy of the neighborhood.

Natural Wood Stain

It’s hard to go wrong with the timeless look of a natural wood-colored fence. The neutral nature of wood won’t distract from any other elements on your property. 

Remember to protect your wooden fence with stain. A rich wood stain can enhance the natural beauty of the wood, bringing an elegance to your property as well as extending the life of your fence.

Types of Stain

  • Solid Stain: Completely hides the grain and provides the longest-lasting finish. It can make a bold statement while bringing warmth to your yard. 
  • Semi Solid Stain: Hides most of the grain while providing excellent durability.
  • Semi-Transparent Stain: Hides some of the grain. It will cover many of the wood’s imperfections but it won’t completely change the color of the wood. 
  • Toner: Adds just a hint of color and will help highlight the features of the wood. 
  • Clear Sealer: A completely transparent sealer that will protect the wood without adding any color. 

Black

Don’t be fooled by its tendency to be known as a neutral color. A black fence will bring a lot of personality and style to your yard, particularly if you have a modern home. 

Consider a black vinyl or wooden fence if you have a modern home and want a dramatic look. Think about how your bright pink, orange, or yellow flowers will pop against the dark canvas. However, be cautious when deciding on such a bold option. Choose it because it works with your home’s style, not just because it’s trendy or looks cool.

Do you have a white house you would like to bring a sense of sophistication and high class to your white house? Black aluminum is definitely the way to go. You can’t go wrong with the classic black-and-white look. It also will add curb appeal to any stucco or tan vinyl home.

Light Gray

A light gray fence pairs well with neutral-toned homes to add dimension to your yard. It’s also a great contrasting color for a darker-colored home.

For a home with bolder colors such as blue or green, a more subtle fence choice like light gray will allow for the bold colors to stand out and not be overwhelming.

A unique thing about choosing gray is you also have the option of choosing a gray stain instead of a solid paint. A gray stain is a great way to add a touch of gray to your fence while still showcasing the natural grain of the wood.

White

A light color such as white will help showcase the landscaping as the white fence fades into the background.

You can rarely go wrong with the classic white picket fence. Colorful flowers will stand out against the pristine backdrop drawing in visitors with its curb appeal. Pair a white fence with a stucco or brick home for a timeless suburban look. 

Dark Brown

Install a dark brown fence to bring a more traditional or rustic look to your property. 

Two-Tone

For a home with a neutral exterior, carry the same style throughout your property for a coordinating look. A two-tone colored fence also can bring dimension and character to your yard.

Tan

This natural, neutral color won’t detract from your home’s exterior or any other feature on your property.

Tan-colored fences work well with white, beige, or other light-colored homes. Consider a tan vinyl fence for a home with white siding if you are looking for something a bit on the bolder side.

Blue

Blue is a great color to help highlight the natural blues in the outdoor world such as a pool or other backyard water feature. 

Install a blue fence for a pop of color with a neutral home. It will provide a visually stimulating piece making your property the envy of the neighborhood.

FAQ About How to Choose the Right Fence Color

What’s the difference between stain and paint?

Fence stain is designed to penetrate the wood to preserve its natural appearance by allowing the wood grain to show through. Paint is created to cover the wood surface completely.

Stain wears away gradually and easily accommodates recoating. Paint peels over time requiring labor-intensive surface preparation when repainting.

Which lasts longer: Stain or paint?

Stain typically lasts longer than paint but it can be more difficult to apply and requires more product, making stain more expensive upfront but more economical long term.

Should I add stain, paint, or go natural?

Stain will last the longest but cost the most upfront.

Paint has endless color options allowing for true customization. It is cheaper than stain up front, but won’t last as long and will be more labor intensive when repainting.

The au natural look will be the most budget-friendly option upfront. However, painting or staining will make your fence last longer. Meaning a natural fence will need to be replaced sooner than if you had stained or painted your fence, making it not quite so cost-effective in the long run.

You Have a Fence Color, So Now It’s Time to Paint

No matter what color you decide on for your fence, make sure it works with the rest of your property. You will end up with a beautiful fence that will perfectly complement your home.

If you’ve found the right fence color for you but need help with installation and painting, find a fencing company in your area.

Main photo credit: Needpix

Amy Adams

Amy Adams

Amy is a freelance writer and former newspaper journalist. She grew up in Kansas but has been living in Florida for the past 15 years and has no intentions of ever moving back!