Here in the Northeast, our homes take a beating. From the heat and humidity of summer to the ice and blizzards of winter, the exteriors of our homes are always being tested in one way or another. Over time, Mother Nature’s wrath leads to visible wear and tear that can be unsightly.
Lest your house becomes the ugly duckling on the block, there is a quick way to take your home’s exterior from drab to fab: Paint.
How to Select Exterior Paint Colors
More than a protective barrier for your home, the exterior paint is an aesthetic element that affords some freedom of expression. A new coat of paint, while not always a cheap investment, can literally transform the look and feel of your home.
If you’re trying to decide between colors, here are a few tips to help you along during the selection process:
Compatibility is Key
Before you jet off on a mission to pain your entire home that beautiful shade of lavender you covet, remember that your home should co-exist well with the others on the block in terms of design. Unless you live in a remote area where your nearest neighbor is a half a mile or more away, you should pay attention to how your proposed color scheme meshes with those of your neighbors’ homes.
Take a quick inventory of the style and color of the homes around you and use this information as a basis for deciding which colors you put on your own home. There’s no need for a Stepford Wives-ish look where every home is a cookie cutter image of each other; just use what you see as a basis to ensure you’re consistent with the houses around the area.
Also, don’t forget to take into account any regional, cultural, or historical references.
Be One with Nature
In addition to your neighbors’ homes, you should also pay attention to the type of landscaping you have or intend to have. If you have a carpet of green ivy that you don’t want to part with, consider how the potential colors will highlight or compete with the existing natural elements.
Similarly, if you envision (or already have) trees that bloom with vibrant colors each year, don’t forget to consider how your home will look at all of the various times of year when paired with the trees and bushes planted near it.
Don’t Forget the Architecture
Finally, if you’re re-painting your home and are seeking a unified, cohesive palette, don’t forget to take into consideration your homes architectural elements. What color is your driveway? If you have a chimney, what color is it? These elements play a key role in the overall appeal of your home’s color palette so ensure they’re part of the color selection equation from the beginning.
What about your roofing material? Keep in mind that stone or tile roofs call for a more subdued, neutral color to help balance their saturated intensity. On the flipside, a roof made of more traditional shingles can help neutralize a bolder trim or accent color.
Choosing Your Colors
Depending on the style of your home, the general rule of thumb is to choose three colors. These include a color for the body of the home, the trim, and an accent color. No matter how many colors you choose, keep in mind that you should never force something. Competing colors or too many colors can wind up leaving you with a little more than a headache.
If you’re looking for a resource to help you choose, consider trying something like the Better Homes and Gardens Color Your Home tool. When I still owned my condo, I used this to determine the new trim colors, and I was quite pleased with the results!
What are your tips for choosing an exterior paint color for your home?