Tips for Painting Your Home Exterior: Choosing the Right Color

Spring has sprung and everyone is looking to spruce up their landscaping and do a little work to the exterior of their home. While contemplating a fresh spring look for our home, my husband and I discovered that our trim is in need of a fresh coat of paint. We live in Michigan and the winters can wreak havoc on a paint job.

Now the question is what color to paint the trim, and what color to paint the door and entrance area since we are sure to stick with the same color for the body. I don’t want to go with the same colors from last time, I want to do something new. So once again, we have to make color decisions. Here are some steps to follow when trying to decide on exterior paint colors.

  1. What color is your roof and/or brick or mortar? These items are pretty much permanent parts of your home; consequently, you’ll need to choose house colors that compliment other colors in your exterior. For example, my yard is enclosed by a black rod iron fence. Any colors I choose need to compliment not just the black, but the rod iron style as well. My roof is a warm brown, again, the colors will need to compliment the roof.
  2. What is the architectural design and/or style of your home? I live in a neighborhood of historical homes and it seems that the trend is now to go with multiple colors. The three story homes especially look fabulous with 3-5 complimentary accent colors. I’ve seen some of the smaller homes try to go with this trend, and it doesn’t work as well. With a smaller home you should stick with fewer colors. It’s not a must, or a rule, but it might be helpful to consider the style of home and the period in which the home was built. Victorian homes tend to carry more vibrant colors, while cottage style homes usually fare better with more soft/natural colors. Again, you can break this rule, but you are probably safer sticking with it.
  3. Where do you live? To be honest, when I picked the body paint of my home it was springtime. I didn’t think about how the house would look in the snow. In the spring/summer the lavender hue is very soft and subtle. At times in the snow, it can look a little more purple then I want it to look. You also need to consider the community in which you live. Let’s face it, every region of the country, and every part of the world for that matter has a design style. Some neighborhoods are really conservative and others more fun and risque. Although it’s okay to “dare to be different”, you don’t want to clash with the rest of the neighborhood, or stick out like a sore thumb.
  4. What color is your home now? This is not a big factor when it comes to the trim, but it can be for the body of the house. Remember, drastic changes will mean more preparation. If you don’t mind – go for it, but you can be sure that going from a dark green house to a white house is going to take a lot more prep work then going from a dark green to a dark grey house.
  5. Look at color samples outside, not inside. Try and look at them at different times of the day and on sunny as well as cloudy days.
  6. Use on-line computer software to take a look at what your home might look like with your paint selections. Many different sites offer this service including – Benjamin Moore Paints, American Traditions and Sherwin-Williams. They are fun to work with. Unfortunately, they give you only six or so home styles to choose from, but you’ll get the idea.
  7. Consider the inside of your home. Can you imagine visiting a home that is white, trimmed in grey, then going on the inside of that home and seeing rooms in hues of orange, yellow, purple, green and blues? Be sure to complete the theme in and outside of your home.
  8. Get inspiration. I like to let nature help me, because it is absolutely beautiful. Do you live in a cottage? Well gain inspiration from the beach or from the lake. If you live in a more woodsy area, gain inspiration from the trees, or even from the animals that lurk around. Look at the color of a beautiful fawn, the fawn color with the soft white might be a beautiful color scheme for the exterior of your home. Or consider flowers and gain inspiration from them. You might also want to go through magazines and gain inspiration from homes you see that you like.

It used to be that everyone had a white, off-white or grey home with colorful trim. Those days are gone and as our personality is seen in the interior of our home, it should also be reflective in the exterior of our homes.