Darker vs Lighter Roof Colors

This post is part of our Q&A series with Designer Chad Esslinger. Chad discusses design factors to consider when choosing between a lighter or darker roof color for your home.

Choosing Dark or Light Home Exterior Design Features

Homeowner Question: Should I put a darker or lighter roof color on my house?

Chad’s Answer: There are a few design considerations on this one.    


When it comes to dark or light design features on your home, including a roof color, a design principal to reference is the concept of ‘contrast’.  

A dark roof will look great in contrast to siding or trim in a lighter color, and vice versa. 


The opposite of using a lot of contrast within your exterior design palette would be monochromatic, which would be a house with a beige roof, beige siding, and beige trim or accents, which was the trend in the ‘90s.  

Surrounding Environment 

From an aesthetic standpoint, roof color preferences may depend on where you live.  It might be hard to imagine a black roof on a colorful South Florida home with pink or teal exterior design elements, or a white roof on a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina.  

As an example, if you prefer to use a gray roof shingle color, the Owens Corning TruDefinition® Duration® shingle line has a range of grays from light to dark—from blended to colorful and high in contrast.   

This gives you design flexibility but still gives you the color you desire.     


On exteriors, I frequently hear people talk about dark colors being warmer and light colors being cooler for the house.   

While I can’t speak to that as a designer, I do know that if a house is properly insulated (in warm and cool climates), the interior climate of the house is much less likely to experience any interior climate impact due to the exterior colors chosen, cladding or roofing. This means that you should pick the roof color that you like. 

To find the recommended level of insulation for your area, visit www.energystar.gov for more information.

Additionally, in some areas there are now “cool” shingles available that use special solar-reflecting granules using darker colors. 

Unless local building codes or HOA requirements prevent you from doing so, my advice is to pick the exterior colors you want for your home. Your roof will continue to do its job – protecting your home from the elements.    

Your Personal Preference

In the end, your choice of roof color is exactly that—your choice regardless of what the design books say.  Since picking a roof color to best complement your exterior palette can be a big decision, be sure to do your research, such as taking a drive around your neighborhood to see color combinations you like, creating a mood or style board for your home’s exterior design, or using digital tools, like Design EyeQ to “try on” different roof colors on your home

Take note of the examples with dark and light roofs so you can see the effect before you make your decision. And as always, feel free to consult a design professional if you still have questions.  

More from Chad Esslinger

Chad answers homeowners’ questions about their roofs and home exterior design.

Roof Color Q&A with Chad Esslinger, Designer
Preview of Chad's Aged Copper Style Board
Chad shares his thoughts and style board for our 2021 Shingle Color of the Year, Aged Copper

Design Inspiration from Owens Corning

Looking for design inspiration? Explore the many tools and content Owens Corning has to offer:

2021 Shingle Color of the Year - Aged Copper
Learn more about our 2021 Shingle Color of the Year, Aged Copper
Not sure what color shingle will work with your roof? Explore our Style Boards
Upload a picture of your home and “try on” shingles with Design EyeQ®
Explore the many shingle color options from Owens Corning with Pick Your Shingles

About Chad Esslinger Design

Chad Esslinger
Chad Esslinger Design logo

Chad Esslinger Design is a full-service design company focusing on residential interior design, decorating and remodeling. Chad loves partnering with homeowners to create beautiful and functional living spaces.

Chad Esslinger Design is committed to beautiful and creative design as well as unparalleled service. Chad believes that great design is contemporary but timeless, simple but elegant. The goal of any project is to create breathtaking beauty, innovative functionality, and a truly enjoyable design process. Learn more about Chad.