Recommendations For Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

11 January 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Picking the exterior color for your house is a big decision. Unlike interior rooms, the exterior colors often remain the same for many years, or even decades, with minor touch-ups to fix problem areas. So, it is important to get it right the first time. How can you even approach such a large decision?

Complement Non-painted Elements

Most houses have elements that will not be painted. These elements include:

  • Roof
  • Chimney
  • Façade, such as stone or brick
  • Windows, if you have tinted or stained glass windows

Any paint color that you choose should complement the color of your fixed elements. For example, if you have a stone façade, you may want to pick more neutral colors that complement the stone.

Consider the Landscape

When you have significant landscaping, you don't want your house to look odd with the surrounding elements. You may have a stone or brick pathway, floral arrangements, blooming trees, or other elements. Pick colors that will match your landscape throughout the blooming seasons.

Provide Contrast, Not Clash

Just because you have some fixed colors, such as a neutral stone, doesn't mean you have to pick other, stone-like colors. Too much neutral can lead to a drab exterior. Instead, look at warmer colors such as darker reds, browns, or even off-white.

Use Lighter Main Colors

You don't want your paint color to make your house look closed off. Lighter colors tend to make a house look more inviting. If your fixed elements will allow it, consider using colors such as off-white, light yellow, or if you prefer neutral colors, lighter grays or beiges.

Paint White around Windows

The trim around windows can also make an important statement for your house. If you paint the trim white, it tends to reflect more light indoors and brighten the façade of your house.

Use Opposites for Accent Colors

Shutters or other house accessories should be painted a color that stands out from the main paint color. If the main, exterior walls are light, then shutters and accessories should be painted dark. The opposite holds true if the main, exterior walls are painted a darker color.

Match HOA Requirements or Mirror Surrounding Houses

If you are part of a neighborhood that has an HOA, you need to check the HOA by-laws before you paint your house. Planned communities may have specific types of colors listed in the HOA by-laws. If you painted a non-standard color, you could incur significant re-painting expenses.

Even if you don't have an HOA, you can find inspiration by looking at other houses in your neighborhood. You can pick different shades of colors you see on other houses so you aren't copying but are keeping in sync with your neighbors.

Once you have arrived at your colors, you can often find online tools that allow you to test out how the paint would look on your house. You can also get sample paints from most paint stores and paint them on boards or even inconspicuous areas of your house to get a feel for the new colors when dry. With exterior paint, it is best to test thoroughly and then paint.

Contact a residential exterior painting expert to learn more.