Picking exterior paint colors takes time and serious consideration. After all, unlike interior hues these are visible to anyone who passes by, and they set the tone for your entire property. Exterior painting also is an investment. Choose the right colors and you'll be happy for five to seven years-as long as the job lasts. Make a mistake and you might be repainting sooner than makes financial sense.
Paint swatches are the key to choosing the best exterior colors for your home. Visit a local paint store to pick contenders for the main color, trim and accents. Then follow these five steps to a final decision.
1. Tape the paint swatches to an exterior wall or walls.
Choose a wall that will get all levels of light throughout the day and night, with the latter involving artificial outside lighting. Choose multiple walls if one won’t give you a good sense, such as a wall in full sun and one in constant shade. Attach the paint swatches to the walls with heavy-duty tape, layering them to also see how the colors will affect each other in different lights.
If you don’t want your neighbors offering an opinion, tape the swatches to exterior walls they cannot see.
2. Look at the colors in the morning, in the afternoon and at night.
Check the paint swatches at these three times one day, taking notes on which color schemes you like and don’t like on their own as well as how they complement or clash with neighboring homes. The following day, play with your backup hues to see if other trim and accent colors create schemes you like better.
Do this until you have gone through all of your backups and have chosen two finalists for color schemes.
3. Apply paint samples to the same exterior wall or walls.
Swatches offer an excellent way to narrow your options, but actual samples from your local paint store show the colors exactly as they will appear. Start this step by removing the swatches and cleaning the surface. Prep a large enough area to fit both finalists with space left between so one does not affect how you view another.
Apply two coats of each exterior paint color in their respective schemes. Allow to dry overnight.
4. Look at the colors in the morning, in the afternoon and at night.
Repeat the evaluation process above, also keeping in mind how the colors will look with seasonal changing of landscaping. At this point, you should have a clear favorite. Ask for the opinions of friends and family members if not, and even neighbors, as they might offer valuable insight.
Pick the exterior color schemes for your house.
5. Hire a professional painter.
Even if you have gone the DIY route when painting interiors, know that exteriors pose an even greater challenge. A professional painter is exactly that: professional. With that expertise comes:
- Knowledge-A pro knows which products and methods provide the most years per application. He or she also can offer advice on colors if you simply cannot make a decision.
- Efficiency-The work gets done over a few days, as opposed to whenever you can find time. While an interior paint job can be put on hold for a few days when life gets in the way, neighbors and homeowners associations are not as forgiving as family members.
- Equipment-Do you own a paint sprayer? A professional does and will use it appropriately to paint your home, not overspray your lawn. They also have the necessary ladders to reach second and third stories.
- Warranty-It takes time to see every inch of a paint job. If there are any issues, a warranty will ensure they get addressed without additional cost. You don’t get such a guarantee with the DIY route.