Choosing the right exterior paint color ranks as one of the most important design decisions you make for your home. It can complement the architecture or clash horribly with it, the latter making your house stand out for all the wrong reasons. Consider the following factors when choosing the right exterior paint colors for your home, then pick up samples to see how they look.
Think About Architecture
Look at the architectural style of your home. Is it Southwestern Adobe? California Mission? Pacific Lodge? New England Colonial? Midwest Prairie? Each has its own palette of paint colors that match or complement the bones of the home.
For example, Mission-style homes more often than not feature subdued colors such as tans, yellows, browns and brick reds. Victorian-style architecture, on the other hand, lends itself to vibrant displays of color. Light yellows and grays are a common sight, but bright pinks, purples and blues make architectural features such as towers, turrets and spindles stand out as they should with the brighter palettes.
Search online for photos of your style of home for inspiration, or you can involve your professional painter in the process early. He or she can not only tell you which colors best suit your home’s architectural style, but also current trends in the market.
Also look around your home when choosing exterior paint colors. Details vary by area of the country and even neighborhood within an architectural style. For example, a Victorian home in Houston might sit within a neighborhood where more subdued colors are the norm, while a row of Victorian homes in San Francisco might offer endless opportunities as each home owner tries to be the most vibrant on the block.
Your professional painter can advise you in this area, as well, letting you know which paint jobs have proven to be the most successful in terms of selling and resale value. He or she knows the neighborhoods well and can direct you to the right paint colors for your home.
Pick Your Preferences
The range of colors that suit both a home’s architectural style and setting offer you seemingly endless choices, as you face the wall of sample cards available at your local home improvement or paint store. Let yourself be drawn to any colors you like in the beginning. Don’t filter up front. Then take all of the sample cards home for further consideration.
Once you have whittled the choices down to a dozen or so, ask your professional painter to help finalize three color combinations for main, trim and accent colors.
At this point in the paint selection process, you can have your three favorites applied to small, discreet areas of your house, preferably on the backside so your neighbors don’t stop by to offer their two cents.
Look at these colors at different times over the course of a week, seeing how they look during the various lights of the day. Living with your top choices allows you to make the best decisions possible. You can also use any of the online paint visualizers offered by Behr, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore. These applications allow you to take a photo of your home and see what the different paint colors would look like on it.
Take Your Time
Don’t rush the paint selection process. The number of years an exterior paint job lasts varies by material, areas of the country, and weather conditions, but you will have to live with your choice for many years as such work requires an investment of both time and money. You won't want to repaint your home the next year if you don't like your choice. Your professional painter can help you make the right color decisions.