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How To Choose The Right Exterior Paint Colors

Are you struggling with choosing the right exterior paint color for your home? These tips will walk you through each step for choosing the right paint color combination for the exterior of your home.

You want your home to have beautiful curb appeal and you don’t want to make any color mistakes. If you follow these seven steps below, you will avoid the common mistakes and will be able to make exterior paint color decisions that will be beautiful!

The first thing you will want to do when deciding what color you want to paint the exterior of your home is to choose the shade of a color first. By “shade”, we mean do you want a light, mid-tone or dark color on the body of your home? At this point, you don’t have to consider anything else except to make a decision if you want a light or white color, a mid-tone or medium shade, or do you want a dark color.

For most of you, choosing a shade is an instant easy decision and you immediately know that you want a light or dark colored home. However, some of you may not be sure and are open to any shade and need a little help making that decision.

Before you can go much further in your color decision-making, you will need to consider the color of your roof. If you have a black or neutral gray, you don’t have to worry as much about color clashing. For those of you that have a roof with red, tan, green or blue gray undertones in your shingles, you will for sure need to factor in your roof color as you choose your exterior paint color palette.

If you have a dark brown roof with shingles that have a red undertone, you will want to stick with a true neutral main body color for your home to play it safe. If you have shingles with green or blue gray undertones, you have a little more leeway and you will prevent color clashing if you choose a color that’s either neutral or has a slight hint of your shingle color in it to blend and compliment and not fight. If you have a black roof, you can pretty much do anything.

If you have stone or brick on your home, you will need to also factor in any strong undertones found in your brick or stone. If your home is full brick and you just need to choose a trim color, you can match either the lightest, mid-tone or darkest color found in the stone/brick and use that as a trim color.

If your home is not full brick/stone and is either half stone/brick or you simply have brick/stone accents, you have a lot more wiggle room with color choices for the exterior body color of your home. As long as your body color has a very slight hint of the brick/stone undertone color, you shouldn’t have any clashing issues. For example, if your brick has a warm undertone and you want to go gray on your home body color, choose a light warm gray instead of a cool gray. That way, the warmth in the gray is what will tie/blend the new body color to the brick. Make sense?

Next, after you have considered your roof color and decided on the shade, you will need to factor in the impact that light has on exterior paint colors, which is unlike choosing colors for interiors. As crazy as this may sound, you will need to go at least 2-3 times warmer on your exterior color to get to a balanced color that won’t lean cool or blue.

So as you select colors, sample colors that are at least 1-2 warmer than the color you would ultimately like to have. Keep in mind, if you want a white exterior, you will also need to choose a warmer white otherwise your home will have a blue cast.

As you narrow your shade down, factor in roof color and know that you’ll need to go warmer because of the abundance of exterior light, next you will need to decide on an actual color for the exterior body of your home. It helps to look for similar home styles to get a feel for the possibilities.

Now that you have picked a color, there are so many variables when it comes to the impact of colors on exteriors, including which direction your home is facing and how much shading your home has that it’s impossible to safely choose a body color without sampling and looking at your samples at morning, mid-day and at dusk. This is such a critical step, especially when choosing exterior paint colors because the sun can pull out strange undertones that you may not see on the paint card.

Once you have made a firm decision on the main exterior body paint color, you’re ready to move on and choose your exterior trim and accent colors. First, let me tell you when it comes to choosing trim and accent colors, less is more! I can’t tell you how often I work with clients who have a lot of architecture detail on the exterior of their home (shake, shutters, lots of changes in roof angles) who want to paint every detail a different color/shade because they think it will accentuate the architectural details. However, too much contrast and change of color/shades actually has the opposite effect and the eye stops at each color and the architectural details no longer stand out.

As you pull all of this together and I know it’s a lot to think about but I want to really help you again by mentioning that less is more when it comes to exterior colors. Anything more than 2-3 colors is too much on the exterior and as you look back at all of the examples above that I shared above, notice that most of the examples only have 2-3 colors used. Don’t forget that you will need to factor in that grids in your window/trim have a color as well. The architectural detail of your home will stand out more with less colors on the exterior, so don’t feel that everything is supposed to be a different color.

If you need help choosing the right exterior paint, contact S.Peek Painting today by calling (805) 835-7121.



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