Selecting exterior paint color is complicated. The advice below can help you from making a costly mistake. Take your time! Selecting the best paint color for your exteriors is not something to rush into. It is a process. Choosing the wrong color can be an expensive mistake and one you will have to live with for years.
Explore your options! Sure, you can choose to repaint your home its current color, but why not take this opportunity to make a change? Drive through your neighborhood or other new construction to see what exterior colors you favor or are trending. Identify those homes that are similar to your own. If you have a brick home look for a home with the same brick. If you have a stucco home, find one with similar architectural detail. What do you like or not like about the color choices? What might you do differently?
Bonus tip: I had a client who loved the exterior paint of a home similar to her’s in her neighborhood, but not in the immediate vicinity. She contacted the neighbor who was more than happy to discuss her paint selections, the process and reasoning behind her choices and even contractor recommendations. Valuable information gained in that conversation helped my client by giving her a starting point, and also shortened her decision time.
Consider your hardscapes…those home elements you will not be changing but will impact your color selections. Examples may be brick, stone, roof color, etc. Determining the undertones in these elements will help narrow down your choices and give you a starting point if you look for paint with the same undertones. Having a paint deck from your preferred brand will be an invaluable tool when trying to identify subtle undertones. For example, grey is simply not just gray. The color gray has either a blue, purple, or green undertone. Unless you are a color expert these undertones are difficult to identify when they are standing alone. Painting samples next to each other will also help identify the undertones because they will stand out more clearly.
Consider what architectural elements you would like highlighted or camouflaged, and let your color choices do the work. One way to add dimension to a façade is by choosing an accent color in the same tone as the main house color, only 1, or 2 shades darker. This technique can
be used successfully on door and window trim and is subtle, kind of like shading in a drawing Conversely, using a bold accent color will draw attention and to areas where it is used. An entry door is a great place to use a bold accent color.
Narrow down a few possible color options. Purchase paint samples and apply them in patches around your exterior and view them over the course of several days. The color may appear different on a cloudy day as it does in the light of the sun. The pictures below are the same samples, but photos were taken on different days. Repeat this process until you zone in on the perfect color. Sometimes hand-mixing multiple samples will yield the perfect color. Should this happen to you, simply dip a paint stick into your home blend and let it dry. Bring that stick with you to the paint store to have a color match made from it.
Choose wisely, not just the paint color, but the professional who will be doing the painting. The person you hire to do the job should be qualified and come with several references. Make sure to discuss the preparation they will do before painting, whether the estimate includes the paint and what type of paint will be used, how many colors and coats of paint will be painted, the estimated time the job will take and the scope of the job…what specifically will be painted. It is also a good idea to have your finalized paint selections ready to discuss so you won’t feel rushed if the painter is ready to start right away.
Finalize and record your selection. Once you have made the final selection record the color, finish, brand and the store you purchased your samples. Keep a hard copy for your records and give a copy to your painter. I find it helpful to keep the paint swatches handy as well. Having these records will minimize error and provide an easy to reference if your home needs repair down the road. Also be on hand to supervise as the painters are working and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have concerns.
Follow these tips and don’t be surprised when a neighbor rings the doorbell to inquire about your home’s exterior color.