Easy Tips for Choosing Your Exterior Paint Palette
Unlike interior colors, exterior hues can affect the entire street — and that puts a lot of pressure on homeowners when it comes to choosing a palette. In addition, a number of factors come into play that you don’t have to deal with on the inside of a house: landscaping, hardscaping, roofing and more.
Plan Around the Elements That Are Hardest to Change
Unless you’re doing a complete renovation, surfaces such as roof shingles or tiles, stonework, pathways and driveways will remain in place. Take these into consideration as you select exterior colors
Consider Your Home’s Architectural Style and Era
Whether you have a Queen Anne Victorian, a Craftsman bungalow or a midcentury modern ranch, your exterior paint scheme should feel appropriate to the style. Imagine a classic Federal-style home painted burnt orange, or a New England saltbox in pale mint green. Jarring, right?
Think About the Visual Effect You Want
Mull over your home’s relationship to the street and the landscape. Does it sit back from the road or amid a cluster of large, towering trees? You might choose a slightly lighter or brighter color so that it stands out. Conversely, a darker hue can make it appear to recede.
Choose Several Paint Shades
Essentially, an exterior scheme has three major parts: field color, which dominates; accent color, which brings doors, shutters and other smaller areas to life; and trim color, used for window and door casings, roof edging, railings and other trim.
How to Choose Exterior Paint Colors Using a Visualizer
Exterior paint colors can make all the difference when it comes to your home’s curb appeal, especially if you’re trying to sell. The color of the exterior of your house is the most public design decision you will ever make. Given the fact that it will add value and beauty to your home, outdoor paint color plays an essential role in how potential buyers will perceive your house. But with thousands of exterior paint colors available, it can be a daunting task to choose the right one. Which is the best one for your home? And how many layers of paint do you need to get the required durability? Technology to the rescue!
The Basics of Choosing Colors
Before you begin choosing the right house color, start out with helpful resources. With a home color visualizing tool, it’s important to get the basics right. For instance, consider the size of your home when planning on painting its exterior. The size can influence whether dark or light colors are more appropriate. As a general rule of thumb, light colors will make your house appear larger and will be more affected by different light conditions, whereas dark shades can make your property appear smaller and help it blend with the surroundings.
Look to a Color Visualizer Before Buying Paint
Once you get the basic idea of what you want for the exterior of your home, you can use a color visualizer to find that perfect color. You can browse by popular colors, color families, or decorator picks. Many major paint companies offer this tool with exterior options including McCormick Paints, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore. While the specific interface for each paint tool is a little different, all use similar methods to allow browsers to test various paint options. Simply by uploading exterior photos of your home, you can see what different paint colors might look like on your walls. It is a great way to virtually experiment and gets ideas and inspiration for your home’s color scheme.
Confirm Your Color Choices With Paint Samples
Now that you have narrowed your choices using a virtual tool, it’s time to confirm them with color samples in your staged home. While visualizers are helpful, there is no substitute for seeing the color on the walls of your home in real life. Buy test sizes of the paint colors you are considering and put some brush-outs on the outside. Make sure to put some color on both the south and north sides of your home as lighting there can differ dramatically. Also, visit these areas at different times of the day to get a fair idea of how the finished product will look
Don’t Limit Your Color Choices
Ideally, an exterior scheme should have three major parts: A field color that dominates; an accent color that brings shutters, doors, and other smaller parts to life; and the trim color. Once you have chosen an appealing combination of field and trim, make it stand out with an eye-catching accent color. Feel free to go bold, but don’t go overboard.
Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors for Your House
Picking house paint colors isn’t just difficult; it can be terrifying! If you choose colors that are boring and blah, your house will seem flat and featureless, but if the paint colors are too bold, they can overwhelm the architecture or might even infuriate the neighbors. The potential rewards are substantial, though. Getting it just right by choosing the perfect exterior house color and trim combinations can change your life.
As you consider paint colors for you home’s exterior, keep in mind that the best paint colors are those that highlight the most beautiful features of your home. That’s one reason to know a little bit about residential architecture since history can tell you a lot about what colors have worked for various house styles over the years. Also remember that skillful use of color can sometimes disguise design flaws, boosting the curb appeal and market value of your home.
Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors
How do you find that magic color combination? Professional designers suggest 12 specific techniques. And please note that no expert ever suggests buying a paint color because it’s on sale or because your painting contractor can get you a deal!
If you’re planning to paint an older home, you’ll probably want to use a historically accurate color scheme. One way to do this is by a simple form of archeology—you can hire a pro to dig down to old paint layers on your siding and trim to analyze them and recreate the original color of your house. Or, you can refer to a historic color chart and select shades that were common at the time your home was built
Consider Jazzing Up the Past
In some neighborhoods, it’s common for homeowners to fly in the face of history. Instead of choosing historically accurate colors, they paint with modern colors to dramatize architectural details. Using bright colors on old architectural details can produce startling and exciting results—if your local historic commission approves. But before you buy 10 gallons of bubblegum pink, it’s a good idea to look at what your neighbors are doing. A fluorescent colored Victorian that looks splendid in San Francisco can seem wildly out of place in more conservative neighborhoods of the Northeast. The bright pink stucco that is common in Florida might truly startle neighbors in Washington State—which can be either good or bad. Remember that what’s deemed as an acceptable color scheme may be dictated by region and neighborhood, not just historic architectural style.
How to Select Exterior Paint Colors for a Home
If you’re painting the outside of your home, don’t be afraid to take a little time with the color decision. “Your interior is about your personal color tastes,” says Tom Lee, Senior VP of Consumer Marketing for Behr, “but the exterior is really about durability. It’s about protecting the biggest investment you have.” It isn’t an easy decision to redo, so don’t rush it.
Plan to spend a little more money. Investing in a premium paint such as Behr Marquee Exterior Paint & Primer in One is a wise choice. You don’t want to be climbing up a scaffold again anytime soon — or paying for someone else to do it — so paint needs to cover well, resist stains and stand up to weather.
Think about your permanent materials. If you have an existing brick or stone foundation, patio, or accents, work with their underlying tones as you’re choosing a paint shade. If you’re stuck, try pairing opposites in terms of color temperature. For example, if you have a warm red brick foundation and you want brown for your exterior paint, choose a taupe with cool gray/blue undertones instead of a peachy tan.
Take advantage of technology. You can usually bring in a sample of permanent materials to the paint store for computer color matching. Behr also offers an online tool called that lets you choose an initial color, recommends matching/coordinating colors, and helps you experiment with color combos on images of a home exterior so you can imagine the finished look.
Don’t forget the trim. If you want something other than the usual white, try your exterior color just a few shades lighter for a subtle, elegant effect.
How to Choose the Right Exterior Paint Colors
Are you struggling with choosing the right exterior paint color for your home? I’m here to help and walk you through each step for choosing the right paint color combination for the exterior of your home. I’m going to make this real easy for you guys, I promise!
The number one paint question I have received over the years is about choosing exterior paint colors because it’s one of the most difficult paint decisions you can make for your home. You want your home to have beautiful curb appeal and you don’t want to make any color mistakes. If you follow my seven steps below, I promise you will avoid the common mistakes and will be able to make exterior paint color decisions that will be beautiful! Stick with me on this!
CHOOSE YOUR SHADE FIRST
The first thing you will want to do when deciding what color you want to paint the exterior of your home is to choose the shade of a color first. When I say “shade”, I mean do you want a light, mid-tone or dark color on the body of your home? At this point, you don’t have to consider anything else except to make a decision if you want a light or white color, a mid-tone or medium shade, or do you want a dark color.
For most of you, choosing a shade is an instant easy decision and you immediately know that you want a light or dark colored home. However, some of you may not be sure and are open to any shade and need a little help making that decision. It will help if you search Pinterest for exterior homes for inspiration to determine what shade would look best for your home. For example, if you have a ranch style home, search “ranch style home exteriors” in Pinterest search to see all the different color options to inspire you.
CONSIDER YOUR ROOF COLOR (AND OTHER ACCENT COLORS)
Before you can go much further in your color decision-making, you will need to consider the color of your roof. If you have a black or neutral gray, you don’t have to worry as much about color clashing. Unfortunately, I have a dark brown roof with slight red undertones, so colors like shades of green or blues wouldn’t work for me and would clash. For those of you that have a roof with red, tan, green or blue gray undertones in your shingles, you will for sure need to factor in your roof color as you choose your exterior paint color palette.