Selecting exterior paint colors for a house in the desert is more challenging than it might seem. A relentless, sometimes unbearable desert sun besieges the landscape, making certain colors seem brighter than they would normally appear and making darker colors, which absorb heat, completely unsuitable.
Beige and various shades of off-white are so common in desert areas, they can sometimes seem a bit monotonous. However, shades like beige and oatmeal enjoy so much popularity as exterior house colors because they function so well in the intense desert sun. They don't absorb heat, yet they don't get uncomfortably bright in the desert sun, so visitors won't squint when they look at the outside of your house. Plus, beige is a very harmonious color with the surrounding landscape.
Shades of light yellow will work for exterior house colors in a desert landscape. Light yellow will function like the color white, repelling direct sunlight and preventing it from being absorbed into the house. However, unlike white, which will become sparklingly over-bright in the hot sun, a very soft muted yellow will give some color to the environment without becoming an eyesore. Your choices must be soft shades of light yellow, since colors like sunflower yellow will be too bright for the surrounding environment.
Consider using certain warm colors on the trim of your house. Colors like sienna, cinnamon and cedar reflect the richness of the desert environment. These colors, when used sparingly, give the exterior of your house a variety of color and alleviate the light colors of the landscape. By limiting these colors to trim, you won't have problems with excess heat absorption.