Aug 20, 2012

How to select exterior paint colors.

  1. Keep History in Mind. If you own a home with a definable architectural style like Victorian, Cape Cod, Craftsman, etc., pay attention to colors in that genre.  Using a designer helps to identify the period and how to select colors to treat each element on the house. At Touch of Tradition, we specialize in period color selections so don't hesitate to contact us with questions.

    Sea Pine & Antique White - Trim Horizon Gray - Body of houseAutumn Brown - Accent Trim Benjamin Moore

    2. Consider the neighbors.  What works in your neighborhood?  Think of your neighborhood as fabric, and your house as one thread in that fabric.  Will the colors you are leaning towards fit with the overall feel of the neighborhood? Can you be unique without being an eyesore?

    3. Structural Harmony with Rest of the House  Consider your house's whole. What color is your roof? Is it slate, aluminum, copper, cedar shakes? You don't need to match your paint to your shingles but all colors should fit together. Consider the landscaping and natural elements around the house to suggest color families that will guide your exterior paint choices.

    4. The Inside Affects the Outside  Don't be afraid to pull the colors for your home from an inspiration piece or those colors used inside your home. It adds a sense of harmony and integrity in design. When you enter the home, the exterior serves to guide you as to the style and the feel.

    5. White is The Color of Tradition  White is classic and traditional with stately appeal. With the right complementary touches--eaves, window casing, door trim, etc.--white can be a fantastic exterior paint color option.  Here, this contemporary interpretation of a Mission style home is set off from the greenery and expansive skyline with an all-white stucco finish.

    6. Details Should be Darker.   Darker colors are great for drawing the eye to architectural details you don't want to be missed. If you have an archway or trim, or any particular feature you want highlighted, draw attention with darker colors. They're a great choice for recessed panels. If you have features that protrude from the wall surface, highlight those with lighter colors as they will stand out more against the darker shade. The bold colors in the stucco below, required deep trim and door colors to have their details stand out.

    7. Consider the Number of Colors  
    On some style homes you will see as many as 8-10 different colors but requires the keen eye of a professional designer to make this work. The number of colors used depends on the simplicity or complexity of your home and the scale, architecture and elements. Adding too many colors to a home can make the home look garish. Look for homes with similar architecture and see what others have successfully done.

    8. Take Advantage of Color Tools  Pick up a color wheel or fan deck. Most paint stores have samples that you can bring home to make decisions. Most professional shops have pint-size samplers available that you can take home and test on your exterior.  Exterior paint colors do look different in person than they do printed on samples and the paint will take on a different hue depending upon the time of day.