From the Ground Up: How to Plan Your Exterior Home Design

What is it like to design and build your dream home? This is part 3 of a 4-part content series, following interior designer Jodi G. on her journey from the design, building process and completion of her new country home.

Whether you are remodeling an older home or building a new one, it’s hard to know where to begin when designing the exterior of your home. From siding to lighting, there are many factors to consider and lots of decisions to make along the way.

In this article, Jodi breaks down her thought process around some key exterior decisions for her new home build.

Home Style

Consider the geography of where you’re building or remodeling and the architecture of surrounding homes. You want to make sure your home “fits” in with the neighborhood.

“I have always liked homes that look like they belong in the city they are in. It makes it feel authentic in its setting,” said Jodi.

For Jodi’s home in Indiana, a traditional, Georgian farmhouse was a perfect fit for the surroundings. “I love historical properties and wanted a palette that would resonate and a design that would assimilate with the home’s setting,” she continued.

Siding, Trim and Windows

When it came to selecting the exterior products and materials, Jodi’s must-have criteria for siding and trim included ease of maintenance and availability of her desired color palette.

Jodi found what she was looking for with Celect® Cellular Composite Siding by Royal® in 7” Clapboard and Celect® Trim for her home. She opted for Board & Batten siding on the barn-style garage.

“Everyone who has seen the exterior can’t believe it’s not a wood surface. Celect really does look authentic which is really what I wanted for the house—the farmhouse look. It’s in keeping with the home style. I really wanted a home with some historical context, it really lives up to that,” said Jodi.

For windows, Jodi knew that tall, rectangular Dormer windows would be the best fit for her traditional Georgian-style farmhouse, but she loved the look of round windows as well. She worked with her architect to include a few round windows in the final design.

“We even snuck in an interior round window,” said Jodi. “The kids just love the idea of our indoor ‘spy’ window and I love the design.”

Color Palette

Before beginning the process of building her home, Jodi knew she wanted a neutral color palette that would fit her vision for a rustic farmhouse and resonate with the home’s midwestern rural surroundings.

While Celect comes in a wide range of neutral colors, Jodi opted for Frost, a true white, for both the exterior and trim of her home, and Wrought Iron, a dark gray neutral, for the garage. These selections introduced a modern and casual nuance to the design—with white-on-white allowing the home’s architecture to shine, and a dark gray accent on the garage for interest. Jodi was also able to easily carry the white-on-white palette with gray accents into her interior design, creating a cohesive color flow.


When choosing the lighting fixtures, Jodi saw an opportunity to be creative with her budget and style.

She started with determining which areas needed lighting the most. For Jodi’s home in a rural setting with little neighborhood lighting, these areas included the driveway, barn-garage, entryways, near the pool and along the walkways.

“Decorative lighting fixtures are a great place to save money,” Jodi advised. “I was able to be creative since our style is more rustic. I scoured flea markets and antique stores for lighting fixtures that I could repurpose.” The overall effect highlights the architecture and complements the farmhouse style of her home.

“Exterior lighting is like the jewelry of your home,” said Jodi. “It adds to the beauty and atmosphere outside.”

If you are working on your own home build or remodeling your exterior, download our helpful checklist or pin it for future reference.

Coming up in May, we will share the final article in our 4-part series and the final reveal of Jodi’s dream home.

Let the home style tips come to you.