TIPS for Choosing Exterior Paint Color Palettes

| May 31, 2016 | 4 Replies
Warm weather signals the time to paint your home’s exterior and tend to decks and other outside items needing attention. In our busy world, people want to come home to an inviting, warm, comfortable and safe retreat that reflects their style. As with interiors, a carefully chosen color palette can enrich your quality of life and greatly enhance curb appeal. A few tips can help you avoid being overwhelmed and settling for ‘so-so’.10.15 Markel.Red.Gray.mixed.LTjpg
  • Homes need to work together to represent the neighborhood as a whole and offer a sense of place. The right color scheme is appropriate in the context of the neighborhood, surrounding environment, yet offers appealing, distinctive qualities.
  • Give yourself the time needed to let the color choice process evolve; select the colors you (and your neighbors) want to live with. You’ll enjoy it every day.

    Hello Kitty pink house. GI

    Hello Kitty may not be a good fit with the neighboring homes.

  • Begin by taking local photos, finding images in magazines or online (Houzz, HGTV, House Beautiful are good resources) that resonate. Beware of relying on trends.
  • Consider your natural surroundings: colors in the landscape; the rich spectrum of  earth colors found in nature- plantings, rocks, soils, sky and water.
  • See your house as a whole; take in to account existing architectural elements such as roofing, stone or brick siding; driveways, sidewalks, landscaping. P.rock color wheel
  • Use your color palette to accentuate positive architectural features and subdue negative ones. Avoid painting garage doors accent colors.
  • Pay attention to color aspects: value (light/darkness), intensity (brightness, dullness),color ‘temperatures’ (warm, cool) and undertones. Understand that a color you see on a small paper sample indoors will appear very different outside, in a much larger quantity, in relation to the light and surroundings.
  • Even a very plain home comes alive when trim, shutters and doors have an interesting color plan. A successful color plan creates an overall harmonizing effect.
  • Basic minimum: three colors: field/body, trim and door. Additional colors add interest, such as the Arts and Crafts style.Classic Craftsman. 2 tone siding.gray yellow.greens
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to give your front door a distinctive color of its own that adds an inviting color ‘pop’, much like a tie balances and completes a man’s suit.
  • Consider your budget, time and energy.
  • As people gain more confidence in color choices, the era of “taupe towns” is happily fading. Consider moving away from very light values and more toward grounding, earthier mid-tones. Conventional bright white trim is leaning to
    ward tones that contrast less with the body/field color as a result.6.15 Stone Canyon (22)
  • Always test color samples first; paint large areas (at least 2’x2’) of double coats either directly on the house surface if painting is imminent, or on poster board. View under various lighting conditions. Make any adjustments then. Get it right the first time.
  • You only get one chance to make a first impression. If your home is for sale, the right color choices increase perceived value and can make quicker sale more likely.
  • Use the best quality paint. It covers better, lasts longer, looks better and represents a small percentage of the total cost to paint. (8GI. brick color front door0% is paint labor.) Get recommendations for painting contractors from friends, local paint companies or your color consultant.
  • Streamline the color selection process by hiring a color consultant. Saves time, money and stress in the long run.
  • Go green. Support your health and the planet by choosing low- or no VOC  (Volatile Organic Compound) paints. (Most quality paints like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have been reformulated to very low VOC.)

Give Cathy a call if you’d like some help taking your exterior color palette from mediocre to marvelous.

Category: Blog, Tips

Comments (4)

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  1. Jenna Hunter says:

    I appreciate your advice on using your exterior paint palette to accentuate nice features and subdue others, like the garage, with neutrals. My husband and I want to repaint our house but are struggling with what colors to do. I think that we should stick with more neutrals and a small pop of color, like navy blue trim. That way we won’t be totally different than all the houses in the neighborhood.

  2. Thanks for going over some painting tips. It’s good to know that you should try to take your time figuring out what colors you want, and even what your neighbors will like. Maybe it could be good to even pick colors that match the rest of the neighborhood, or at least compliment it.

  3. John says:

    I like that tip to take local photos. That way you can choose a color that matches. Paint is importnat because it can affect closing prices.

  4. Thanks for explaining that it’s common to choose three paint colors so the body, trim, and door of the home all are unique. My brother and his wife want to have some exterior renovations done to their ranch-style home since they’ve decided to stay there instead of moving to a newer house. I’ll send them this info so they have a basic idea of what to plan for before starting to work with an exterior painting service!

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