With a few creative ideas from private housebuilders and do-it-yourselfers, we've picked 17 concepts with images that demonstrate the variety of design options.
When you begin to plan your dream home you may not have every piece of the design in mind yet. Perhaps you need some ideas to help you decide on exterior design elements. We’ve collected 21 ideas with photos that showcase the breadth of design options available with a few ingenious ideas from independent home builders and do-it-yourselfers.
Wood accents offer a break in the design of modern homes, whether they use brick, stone, or veneer. These accents may take the form of trim or outdoor spaces such as a patio, pergola, or porch. The wood might form the railing for a balcony or the full balcony.
Let these designs offer you inspiration and ideas to take to your architect. Read on for 17 potential designs.
Designing a Home with Wood Accents
Using modern craftsman design creates instant curb appeal using gray siding trimmed with real wood accents and large windows. The frosted glass garage door and wood shingles add to this unusual design in the northwest United States. The trim of the home and the shingling used offer two different types of wood on the home, but their placement avoids clashing.
The northwest area of the US offers many custom homes with unique designs, like this one that features a home exterior of stone siding and mixed wood accents. Combining complementary woods adds interest to the design without clashing with its use of materials. Consulting with your architect on materials can help you easily create a mixed materials facade that looks like no other home in the area and presents a unified design.
Mixing stone and wood for a homey yet sturdy look has burgeoned in popularity in the northwest US. This home’s exterior combines a three-car garage with pale blue siding and a covered porch. The home’s stone columns offer it a stately appearance while the blue wood-look siding offers an old-fashioned, farmhouse look.
This Craftsman-style home features a covered wood porch with painted red railings. The curb appeal grows when the architect adds the stained-glass front door. Mixing wood and glass offers an austere design that can fit an Art Deco, Craftsman, or Modern home design.
The modern design of this luxury single-family home combines a rough shake finish in natural wood with vinyl shake in Bermuda blue and shake shingles for the roof. The architects finished out the home with Pacific blue horizontal siding and dark wood shutters around the double pane windows. The home finishes out the design with snow trim and beaded corners.
Combine a wood plank ceiling with a metal home design for a sleek look. This modern home features its wood accents on exterior elements that you only see when you use them. The wood ceiling on this backyard patio includes a patio of slate and concrete tiles with a rectangular fire pit.
Verandas still populate many homes overseas. This home at Switzerland’s Lake Maggiore offers dramatic arches and wood trim that artfully compliments its structure.
On the East Coast, this Victorian-style residence combines a decorative tile roof with wood trim and colorful painted accents. Blending this many materials requires an expert in architecture.
This Cape Cod design blends gray roofing with beige wood accents on a brick exterior. Painted dark green shutters and a polished wood door complete the look. Although this design mixes red brick with four other colors, it still offers a finished look due to the muted colors of the design.
Architects throughout the world create unique designs every day. This design from Stone Wood Architecture in Russia uses wood siding and painted green wood trim to mix wood with wood.
An exterior of stone, glass, and wood creates a mountain hideaway in Colorado that blends with nature. Wood offers accents for the trim and the balcony railings that offer a softer look to this rural home. While the stone and glass could come off as overpowering alone, adding the wood touches negates that effect.
Crafted of stone with wood accents for the trim and porch railings, this country estate home uses natural materials to build a home that blends with its surroundings. Using natural materials in home design can create a oneness with nature that evokes a feeling of the home as a part of the landscape, such as with a mountain modern home.
This quirky design combines a stone first floor that receives green-painted wood trim and the second floor of dark wood with green-painted wood trim. Round beams criss-cross in front, creating a unique island feeling for the home. It could belong in a summer camp or on an island chain.
The desert southwest calls this stucco home. Determined to not completely blend in with its desert surroundings, this stucco house uses polished wood for its patio and pergola.
This stone home with painted logs as the wood accents tempers the stately appearance of the stone on this immense rambling estate home. The log cabin-style accents create a friendly feel.
Mixing stone and logs with large glass windows offer a modern feel to this log cabin. This updated look for log cabins provides an alternative to the old-fashioned look and improved views as well as better insulation.
The East Coast of the US tends toward the use of wood gable accents and airy designs that look like they belong on a beach. The design of this single-family home mixes wood-look vinyl white trim, gables, a corbel, and a louver covered in Pacific blue horizontal siding.
Designing with Vinyl Siding and Wood Cladding
Laymen frequently mix up the terms siding and cladding. They use them interchangeably even though they mean different things composed of different materials.
Siding consists of aluminum, composite, vinyl, brick, or another engineered material. Builders apply it directly to a wall.
Cladding consists of fiber cement, stucco, clay, or wood. If it doesn’t contain masonry or use siding, an architect calls it cladding. or masonry. Builders apply it using furring strips to separate it from the exterior.
Lumber and/or cement blocks typically form the supporting walls of the structure. They don’t fall into either category.
Many home designs mix the two material types for unique looks. In fact, in nearly all of the designs above, the home exterior uses both siding and cladding.
Using paint, siding, and cladding, you can remodel the entire exterior of your home without tearing down any portion or building an addition. A builder can side any type of house for you and add interest to it with cladding and paint. By painting brick, from the curb, the home will seem to be made from a different material.
Adding a Wood Front Porch or Deck
Adding a wood front or back porch, typically referred to as a deck, not only adds an exterior room to your home, it updates the design. Your new porch adds to the curb appeal, too. Let’s look at why this use of wood as an accent material tops the list of ways to use wood accents to update your home.
- Adding a porch or a deck improves a home’s resale value. When you add detail and architectural elements to a house, it adds to the value of the home.
- Building an outdoor living space increases the home’s space and utility. If you add a deck to your home, also add an outdoor kitchen.
- A wood porch or deck adds to your home’s curb appeal. It updates the look of your front door – your home’s focal point.
- A porch or deck offers the homeowner a new area to show their unique style and personality. Wood trim and accents let you customize the porch or deck details, such as cedar accents on home exterior spaces.
Porches and decks can take on numerous shapes – square, rectangle, and semicircular top the list. Many custom decks use a tiered design that mixes the sizes of square and rectangle levels of the deck.
How to Use Contrasting Materials
Unless you tell an architect not to do so, most will mix materials to create an exciting architectural design. By mixing the right materials, your architect makes a more durable building with a superb aesthetic. But it does not work to mix just any materials.
Unless you have experience in home design and architecture, ask your architect and project manager for advice. Gather together 10 to 20 examples of mixed materials that you like, specifically of existing exteriors. You don’t have to find an example that shows exactly what you want in a design, just how the two materials you like worked together.
Make notes on what you do know you want. For example, if you saw a wood veneer used as an exterior accent wall under a front porch, take a picture with your cell phone and make a note that explains what you want. Perhaps you just want to use that wood veneer in your own home, but not necessarily in the same place or way. Doing this when you see what sparks the idea reminds you of what you liked about it and provides you with points to share with your home’s designer. If you see something like that and wonder, “Is there a patio flooring or decking like that?” write that down, too.
Creating Visual Interest
While an architect can design with dissimilar materials, some materials don’t work well with others. It takes an expert to recognize what works well together. Meet for a consultation with your architect and ask what combinations work well together to create “visual contrast.”
Visual contrast refers to the process of mixing materials to accent or diversify a large expanse of space of another material. The process creates ambiance and shapes the aesthetic. For example, metal creates an industrial aesthetic, wood creates an organic, warm aesthetic.
Layering these materials can increase visual interest by increasing the contrast, but doing so requires expertise and experience. Further accents from decorative trim of metal or wood can accentuate the visual interest further. A brick white house with wood accents of shutters, door, and porch offers an example of a common mixed materials use.
Mixing Materials for Added Durability
Mixing materials also creates a more durable design with added function. Using more durable materials for the foundation and major architectural structural elements creates a stronger home capable of surviving corrosive environments or high-stress natural hazards.
Of course, the strongest materials – stone and brick – limit the aesthetic. By adding cladding of wood, the architect achieves visual interest by adding layers for purely aesthetic reasons. While these accent materials do not add to the structural elements, they do dress it up a bit, such as a stone light grey house with wood accents.
Reducing Project Cost with Wood Design on Front of House
You can lower the total project cost by mixing materials. This doesn’t work for every combination of materials, so consult with an architectural designer to determine the best combination to create the aesthetic desired and save money. Some metals cost less, such as stainless steel. Using steel for structural elements saves money that you can then spend on other materials that do add interest, such as sequoia wood accents.
Using the right mixture of materials improves the home’s insulation. The additional material creates another layer that covers the exterior of the home. Using wood on the outside of the home works better as an insulator. (Although most homes use wood two-by-fours inside the walls, metal actually offers a better insulator for inner walls.)
The best combinations use optimal materials that blend well to create an architectural work that provides both form and function. Each trim or accent material offers practical benefits and visual appeal.
Putting Your Ideas into Play
Once you speak to an architectural designer about your home’s construction, use computer software to try out how various combinations look. The architect might provide you with a list of materials that work well together. Using the app, you can try combinations out on pre-drawn house plans.
While you plan to build a custom home, creating these computer-generated test designs lets you see the stone and wood trim together. It also lets you try various colors of paint and shades of stone. Slate gray might look great with white wood trim, but orange clay stones might clash. It isn’t enough to say stone and wood trim work well as a combination. By testing out the various materials in the app, you save yourself the time of visiting stores to view material samples. Practice runs in the app can also save you money, since you’ll see before the final design or materials purchase whether specific mixtures of materials create the aesthetic that you want for yourself.
Apps to Test Modern Wood Accents on House Exterior
Try Hover to see what a renovation of your existing home exterior would look like. If you’re building new, try Hoffman Weber House Design or Alure Home Designer. Both work to let you create a 3D model of your desired home. All of the apps mentioned here require no prior design knowledge to use. You can’t create architectural plans with them, but they do let you try various materials and trims out. The Hoffman Weber app also lets you create additions or add a floor to a photo rendering of your own home. Get started on your home design today.