How to Choose Between Exterior Paint Colors

July 11, 2018

Your home's exterior is the first thing people see on your property, so the right mixture of paint colors can increase your curb appeal.

Pick dull colors and your home will look flat and featureless. Pick colors too bold and they could overshadow your home's architecture and annoy the neighbors.

The best exterior paint colors will accentuate the most striking features of your property. That's one good reason to know about architecture. Using color skillfully can even hide design flaws, increasing your home's curb appeal and value.

So how do you pick the right colors for your home's exterior? Learn below.

Consider Your Home's Features and Styles

Whether property's design is contemporary, Victorian, colonial, farmhouse, ranch, or any other style, you should make sure that the color palette suits the feel of the house.

Architectural details like windows, porches, dormers, and gables provide opportunities to make a strong and attractive statement with color.

Your house also has some colors that never change--gutters, shingles, trim, downspouts, as well as other accents like stonework or brick. These elements can also provide ideas to help you choose colors.

Additional outdoor features like a walkway, driveway, shed, or patio can add to the overall look too. Choosing hues that complement these features will help create a polished and crisp look to your home's outdoor plan and exterior.

Consider Your Neighbors' Paint Colors

You can get paint color ideas from the home next door, but don't copy the color of your neighbor's exterior exactly. Pick colors that differentiate your home from others, without clashing with adjacent buildings.

Take a look around your area. Does your home look like the one next door in terms of architecture? Are you surrounded by trees or are you in the suburbs?

Or does your home stand out, like the original big farmhouse that's currently surrounded by more modern mid-century ranch style homes? Select house paint colors that go with what's around you.

Borrow from Nature

The landscape near your home is teeming with color ideas. A beach setting may suggest turquoises and vivid blues or even hints of pink. Trees can suggest an earthy combination of browns and greens.

A front yard can complement or inspire exciting combinations of colors at tulip time. How is your home positioned in the neighborhood? Where does sunlight enter your house?

Follow the sun when choosing your exterior paint colors. Remember, color needs light.


Play With Accents

Homes usually have various small details, such as fascia, porch columns, and shutters, where you can experiment a little with color.

For instance, you can choose a neutral color shade for your home's body, and use a bold color to draw attention to the front door. Remember too that you've got flowers and flower pots, mailboxes and address plates as opportunities to experiment with bright colors.

Be Guided by Geography

If your house is in the tropics, you should always go for bright and cheery colors. If it's in the rustic hills, you can get color ideas from nature in greens, burgundy, and browns.

Before you choose a particular exterior color, check the color range of the area in which you live. Stray too far and you'll make your home stick out, and not necessarily for the better.

Consider Your Roof

Before choosing your exterior house colors, you need to consider your roof material and color. Choose your home's overall field color before you pick a roof that complements it.

Darker home colors should pick a contrasting roof color and vice versa. You should also consider where the sun reflects in your home.

If you live in a hotter climate, go for lighter roofs. You can even choose standing seam metal roofs or terra cotta tiles which will bring in more light.

If you're in a colder climate, you can choose darker roofs in copper, slate, or asphalt shingles.

Plan around Hard-to-Change Features

Unless you're embarking on a total renovation, surfaces like tiles or roof shingles, pathways, driveways, and stonework will remain intact. Consider these elements as you pick exterior paint colors.

Find undertones between them that could inform your color range. Are they cool (black, gray, and blue) or warm (khaki, brown, rust, and beige)? Consider colors that'll harmoniously bring these fixed features together.

Pick at Least Three Different Shades of Paint

An exterior color scheme basically has three major components: field color, accent color, and trim color.

Field color dominates while accent color brings shutters, doors, and other small sections to life. Trim color is used for door and window casings, railings, roof edging, and other trim work.

Ideally, the field color should strongly contrast with the trim color. If your main shade is dark, go for a traditional white trim or other pale shade.

A darker trim can look amazing with a lighter field color. As for accent colors, you can go bold but don't overdo it.

A door painted lemon yellow or bright red provides the right shade of punch. But that shade shouldn't be extended to the gables and shutters.

Need inspiration? Most major brands of paint provide preselected color ranges that help you plan an exterior color scheme.

A color consultant or architect may also help you find a combination that's unique but still attractive.

Final Thoughts

The right combination of exterior house colors can add value and life to your property. It's a simple way to show off your personality and usher guests in through tasteful and distinct curb appeal.

If you want to liven up the look of your office, commercial building, or machinery, contact Petrusse-Norris Painting today. We'll be happy to help you pick your ideal combination of paint colors.

The Author | Melissa Petrusse
Melissa Petrusse, President, Petrusse-Norris Painting - Licensed Painting/Decorating Contractor and Color-Expert. Please feel free to reach out to Melissa with any painting project questions, as she is happy to be of service. Simply fill out the Contact Form found on our Contact Page, as Melissa personally receives each request. View More Post from Melissa Petrusse