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Exterior Corners – Should They Be Painted Trim Or Siding Color?

Your exterior corners may seem like a minor feature, but painting them to match the trim or siding can significantly change your home's appearance. These corner boards can seriously shift the balance of colors, but they are also necessary for practical reasons. So, we have carefully researched if your exterior corners should be painted the trim or siding color.

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You can paint your exterior corner boards to match either the trim or the siding of your home. Matching the trim will create more evident borders while matching the siding will let the corner boards disappear. Although personal preference will play a large role, there are other factors you should also consider:

  • Busy Exteriors
  • Corner Board Material
  • Siding Color

Corner boards will act like an additional trim, which is always an essential part of any home exterior. Keep reading to learn more about corner boards, how to match your corners to the rest of the home, and what colors are trending in 2021.

A house painter rolling siding trim board, Exterior Corners – Should They Be Painted Trim Or Siding Color?

Matching Corners to the Trim

Your exterior trim is a framing device for the windows, doors, and siding. As such, matching your corner boards to the trim will emphasize these borders.

This approach will make all of the trimming pop, which can create more geometry on the home's exterior. It will also affect how busy your home appears.

Siding house exterior with red corner trim

Busy Exteriors

The corner boards can be painted the same color as the trim to make the home feel busier. This is highly useful when the siding could feel either dull or overbearing.

If your home doesn't have much trimming on the outside to work with, then using your corner boards as additional trim can compensate.

On the other hand, you may already have a large variety of décor outside. Making the corner boards add more borders could make the home look messy.

Remember that the downspout and your gutters will also run along the sides of your home. These features also act as a border for the roof.

If the gutters and downspout match the trim, then painting your corner boards the same way would create too much clutter again. You can read the post, "Should Gutters Match Roof Or Siding?" for tips on painting the gutters.

What material do you use for exterior trim?

If you can identify the material used for your corner boards, this can help you determine their ideal color. If the corner boards are made of the same material as your trimming and have the same size, they often make a good match.

It will create a clean consistency if both features share the same material. But it might look strange for two different materials to be painted the same color.

So, first, you'll have to determine what your trim is made of. There are a variety of materials you can use for exterior trim, such as plastic or fiber cement.

But the most popular choice is still wood. Experts such as Belco advise that although plastic trim is easier to work with, it can be far more expensive than traditional wood.

Plastic trim is easier to work with because it isn't as heavy as wood, and you won't have the trouble of painting anything. Also, wood can be more vulnerable to bad weather and bugs.

Fortunately, specialists like Belco can treat your trim with preservatives to help protect it from these natural problems.

If your trim is made of plastic, while your corner boards are made of ordinary wood, the colors may not match. And the environment can make your corner boards look very different.

Worse, the cost of adding or replacing either feature will have a large gap between them that may affect your total budget.

Do you paint exterior trim first before siding?

HGTV agrees that it is usually best to paint your siding before the exterior trim. This is because your siding covers a much larger area.

If you paint the trim first, you are far more likely to accidentally splash it with paint when you do the siding. After all, the siding can surround the trim.

You could certainly spill paint while working above the trim. That's why you paint siding from the top down. And it would be easier to correct the trim because it's a smaller, detailed feature.

Matching Corners to the Siding

A modern colonial style residential suburban home with a small porch and a two car garage

This option will allow your corner boards to fade into the background and go unnoticed. That can be useful if your exterior is already too busy with décor and trim.

This will also let the walls of your home become a highlighted feature. Any of its characteristics will then become even more noticeable. As such, the primary thing that you need to consider is the color of your siding.

Siding Color

If your home's siding is warm and colorful, then matching it with your corner boards will make the home more bright. If the siding is dull, you should use the corner boards to introduce some color and contrast instead.

Specific colors can easily become overbearing on your siding without the framing device of your trim. This is often true for neutrals, bold colors, or anything with a colder temperature.

Neutrals such as white, gray, and black do not have any true color. Neither does brown, although it's considered a "near neutral."

These neutrals are used in many interior designs, such as dusty Southwest scenes, cozy gray cottages, or sleek modern looks.

But neutrals can sometimes feel boring on your siding unless you use trim and corner boards to balance out their effects.

Does corner trim go over siding?

Corner boards are usually installed on top of the siding instead of being attached directly into the home. This way, the corner trim adds some stability to the exterior corners.

It is also a matter of convenience. If the corner boards are installed first, then the siding would have to be carefully measured around them.

Exterior color trends for 2021

Because your corner boards are greatly determined by your siding and trim colors, you may also be concerned about current trends.

Like many of the latest interior designs, exterior colors have recently preferred bold moves and personality over tradition. Here are some trends that have been popular in 2021 to help your home stand out.

Off Whites

Neutrals will always be timeless because they are flexible enough to work with any color. This allows you to change your décor rather than your entire home.

But rather than using big and bold neutrals like pure white, many people have started to prefer a nuanced approach. This often includes white with cooler undertones like Polar Bear and Ivory or warmer tints like Oyster White.

White can be used in literally any interior design. However, it has lately been used for more rustic scenes such as cottage and farmhouse styles. You can check out our post, "21 Ranch House Siding Ideas To Inspire You," if you go in this direction.

Click here to find this off-white exterior paint on Amazon.

Gray and Black

Black is a neutral that absorbs all color, making this a bold choice. Traditionally, black is considered too overwhelming and mainly used for trim.

Instead, 2021 has specifically seen bold, unusually dark shades of black like Tricorn Black for the entire home.

The same goes for gray, which has mostly been used with charcoal and moody tones rather than bright rainy days. Black and gray are used primarily to create a smooth, modern scene.

Blue and Green

Suburban house exterior

These choices are used to introduce a lot more color to your home without adding too much brightness, either. This creates a nice balance for your boldness.

Blue is always cool, while green is always warm, no matter what shades you use. However, the recent trend is to use darker shades, such as Navy Blue.

This year, they have also been used with a pale tint, which is more subtle for those who feel uncertain about the two primary colors.

Both of these colors are typically used to recreate the imagery of nature, as in cool oceans or sandy beach homes.

Red

Various red colors are being used in 2021, from bright barn red to burgundy. That's because red is one of the boldest colors of all. It's a primary color with an unusual degree of brightness.

This can be used to imitate a traditional brick appearance. But a chalky or subtle shade of red can also be used towards popular interior designs like Italian, Mexican or Western styles.

Summary

Corner boards can sometimes be overlooked, but they are a noticeable part of your home and just as important as your trim or siding. So, it's crucial to understand how these different features work together. Now that you know how they balance each other out, you can decide which areas will be highlighted and create the perfect scene for you.