Tips For Choosing Home Exterior Colors - Backyard Boss
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Tips For Choosing Home Exterior Colors

Now that spring is in the air; it might be time to spruce up not only your garden but also the outside of your house. Whether you plan on selling your house or just giving it a fresh new look, picking the colors for the exterior can be a big decision. It can completely change the outlook that your home portrays.

Adding to or changing the color of your home can add a lot of value and appeal to your house. However, it can be a daunting task, if you do not know where to start. But by gaining useful tips and tricks you can greatly help your house look ready for the summer. In order to help you out, we have put together this article on how to choose exterior tones for your home.

How to Choose the Right Exterior Paint Colors – the Basics

A row of colorful holiday houses by the seaside.

Choosing the right exterior paint scheme can make all the difference when considering the outlook and appeal that the outside of your home has. This is especially important when it comes to selling your home and can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your house. Due to the face that the exterior colors will add beauty and can add value to your home, it will greatly affect the way in which potential buyers or even onlookers will perceive your home.

This is, in fact, one of the most public and visible decisions that you will make regarding your home. However, with so many colors and choices available how do you make the decision and know which one is the best for your home? In order to help you out with this, we have put together a guide for exterior painting tips and tricks.

Choosing colors

Prior to picking colors and getting started, you need to make sure you have some tools to help you make the best decisions for your property. There are many important things to consider when choosing colors and it is essential to have all the basic information and details before you make a selection.

For instance, you need to consider the size of your house when planning to paint its exterior. The size of your home can have a great impact on what colors would be more appropriate for your exterior. It can help you decide whether you would like to go for a darker theme or a lighter set of colors.

As a good outline or rule of thumb, it is considered that lighter colors create the perception that your house is larger and will allow them to be more susceptible to varying lighting. However, on the other hand, darker colors or shades will make your home seem smaller and help it merge or blend in with its surroundings more. The key is to know what image and outlook you are trying to portray with your home and its color scheme. This can be understood based on color theory and its visual effects.

Another thing to consider is when choosing a color scheme is to take into account the construction or architecture of the house as well as the neighborhood it is located in. It is good to experiment and look outside of the guidelines however it might not be the best to go too far off the rules to create a good look.

Paint Samples to confirm your choices

A senior man painting the doorway with white paint

One of the biggest tips to help you in your exterior painting is samples. This is something that most people forget in the excitement of deciding on colors. Once you have narrowed down your colors it is easy to think that you are done, and the only thing left to do is paint your house. But that is most definitely not the case.

You should always have a couple of color choices and not narrow it down to just one. Once you have a couple of shades decided then purchase a few trial sizes of the colors you are considering and try them out on the outside of your home. Make sure to try it on both the north and south sides of your house to get the best idea, variations in lighting are sure to make a difference. It is also a good idea to check throughout different times of the day to see how the light will affect the look of the color.

Choose multiple paint shades, don’t limit yourself

When considering an exterior paint scheme, it should ideally have three main components. This means, one dominant color that is the field color, and an accent color that adds dimension and attracts attention to windows, doors and other smaller parts and finally the trim color. Usually, it is best to choose a good combination of a field color and trim and then select an accent color which will help the overall scheme attractive and draw attention. You can play around with this and go bold however it is best not to go overboard.

Looking at Tools Such as Visualizers

Top view of couple choosing colors to paint new house

Once you have some sort of an idea as to what colors you are looking at, it is a great idea to look into tools such as visualizers. These are great in helping you to try and make a decision toward the best color for your house. Through the use of a visualizer, you can look through popular color schemes, different color families as well as color schemes that decorators recommend. You can also see the colors of your choice and compare options.

There are several paint companies that offer these tools and services such as Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore. Although the specifics for each tool will vary, most of them allow you to take exterior pictures of your house, upload them the pictures, and then see what various paint colors will look like on the walls of your house. It is a good way to virtually play around with ideas and schemes for your house.

The ability to test and actually see these paints on your walls is a great way to save time. It can save a lot of work and hassle especially if you are looking to sell your house.

You can remove the time it wastes to find the right color for your home by using a visualizer. You can even use these tools regardless of whether you are doing the painting yourself or if you are hiring professionals to do it for you. By using a visualizer, you are more likely to ensure that the results of your paint job will be pleasing and it will be done right.

Color Schemes

Couple in new house choosing color for walls

Creating or coming up with a color scheme can see very hard and daunting, especially when you have thousands and thousands of colors, in various forms, such as swatches, pictures and in stores. Generally, people who are professionals, learn the basics of color theory and how to use those to create a color scheme. You can also easily create your own color scheme by learning a few simple concepts about colors.

When you look into color schemes you will see that there are two different things one is a color scheme and one is a color palette. Although these terms are used interchangeably there are quite different.

We want to focus on color schemes, they are used to describe the framework by which colors are selected and then put together. A color scheme is based on color theory. An example of a color scheme is a monochromatic color scheme.

On the other hand, a color palette is the actual colors that you choose, and it is based on your color scheme. This means that once you have chosen a color scheme the color palette would have the names of the colors or their paint names.

The Color Wheel

color palette and brush with blue handle

One of the best things that you can do to help understand the color theory better is to invest in a color wheel. This will allow you to create color schemes very easily and efficiently. These color wheels are small and inexpensive; however, they can prove to be a great asset. You can make sure to purchase a color wheel that comes with the color relationships written on the back of it or one that just comes with a guide to color relationships. By being able to see how the colors relate to each other, it will make putting colors together easier.

Color Relationships

It is not necessary that you know everything there is to know about color theory or color education in order to create an amazing color scheme however it is impotent to understand the relationships between different colors to make the best out of your color scheme. If you create a color scheme based on the color relationships it will be more cohesive and aesthetic as compared to creating a color scheme without planning it.

Some Common Exterior Paint Mistakes to Avoid

Painters takes hands on head on colorful background

Now that you know some of the common things that you should start with and some of the basic things that you should know before you start painting the exterior of your house. The following are some things that are major mistakes that you should avoid while looking for the exterior paint colors for our home.

1) You did not start with a color scheme

This is one of the most important steps once you have decided to paint the exterior of your house. As it has been mentioned quite a bit already, you can probably see that it is important. Creating a color scheme is not just for interior painting. The color scheme is highly important in giving your home a cohesive look and will set a precedent for when potential buyers or others enter your home.

2) Forgetting to sample the paint

Again, as mentioned above it is immensely important to sample the colors on your exterior walls. Sampling is very important as it can help you save a lot of money and time. Just imagine painting one whole wall or the whole house and then realizing that actually once its cloudy the color doesn’t actually look good on your walls.

That would be a waste of so much paint and effort. It can even happen that once you have purchased the paint you realize it looks very different from the swatches that you were presented with. This can happen very easily as paint often does not look the same on a swatch as compared to the wall.

It can also happen that you just purchase a “good beige for the exterior” as recommended by a store employee but the problem that you do not realize is that the pain will have certain undertones. You do not know what these undertones are or how they will look on your walls. By sampling the paint, you will have a good idea of what exactly the paint will look like on your house.

3) The color scheme of your neighborhood was not taken into consideration

It would be ideal if you could paint your house and not have to worry about others, however, the reality is that we do have to be mindful of how our home will fit into the neighborhood. Many houses also have a homeowner’s association which actually dictates what they can and cannot do with their home. So, if you have one of those you must choose colors based on that. However even if your home is not under a homeowner’s association, it is still a good idea to have a look around your neighborhood and see if your color scheme will it into your neighborhood’s color scheme.

If you want to paint your home a bold or unique color, it is a good idea to sample it on your home first and see if it is a good fit for your neighborhood or not. It’s a good idea to be prepared to tone it down or chose another alternative if it is not a suitable choice for your neighborhood. This is a really useful tip as it can come in handy when you decide to sell your house in the future.

You Did Not Consider Your Landscaping

Orange country house back door, blue shutters

The next thing to consider is the other exterior elements of your home. There is a lot more to the exterior of your home than just its colors and the main building. When choosing exterior paint colors it is also important to consider the colors to your landscaping as well.

If your lawn or front yard has a lot of warm colors or warmer undertones such as green and yellow foliage and then you paint the house in cooler shades such as blue-based greens. The house will seem dull and cold. So, it is important to consider the surroundings of your house as well.

You Didn’t Think About the Front Door

The front door to your house can be like the cherry on top of the cake that is your exterior paint job. Although the house would still look good with a standard white door or a wood door that the builder had installed, it will really bring your exterior to life with the right color.

The door color can be used as an accent to combine the whole of your color scheme together and it can greatly enhance your curb appeal. The right color for your front door will not only attract attention to your home and pull together your color scheme it will also highlight the architectural design of your house.

Some Good Tips for Choosing the Right Color Palette

New home design,architecture,interior design concept - blueprints for a new home and background of a paint color palette to be chosen for home

There are so many factors and elements that play into effect when choosing the right color for the exterior of your home. After considering the basics and looking at common mistakes, it is time to consider some tips on what to base your color choice on.

1) Try to plan around or incorporate hard to change elements

There are always some things within the house that are going to be constant or very difficult to change. Unless you plan on conducting a complete renovation or changing a lot of the elements, many things will remain constant. This includes things like the shingles or tiles, driveways, walkways, stonework, and interlocking. These need to be taken into consideration when you are choosing your exterior color scheme.

It is a good idea to look or undertones within these elements that you can incorporate into your palette. The undertones can be warm which includes colors such as beige, brown, rust, or khaki. Or the undertones can be cool, which includes colors such as black, gray, or blue. A good idea is to find a color scheme that will cohesively tie all these elements and colors together.

2) Take into consideration the era and architectural style

The exterior colors of your home should also match the actual home. The colors should do justice to the style and era the home is designed based on. This means that regardless of what style hoe you have such as a Craftsman bungalow, Queen Anne Victorian home or a mid-century modern ranch, the exterior colors should feel suitable and not out of place.

There are many paint manufacturers and home decorators carry pictures and collections of color schemes and palettes that are historically accurate. This can be used to give you great inspiration and help you set your own palette. You can also speak to a professional who works within this field. Although you do not necessarily have to stick to the historically accurate color schemes, unless there are specific codes for your house or neighborhood, it is a good idea to not diverge too far from them either. It can affect the overall scheme of the neighborhood or look out of place in your housing style.

You can also consult an architect or someone who consults on colors to provide you with ideas and inspiration as well, for what will work with your style of home.

Keep in Mind the Visual Effect

Young working woman with paint brush, freshly painted wooden exterior wall behind her, handy woman concept

When choosing exterior paint colors, it is important to think about your house in respect to its relationship with the street, and other surrounding landscape. How will the paint change the visual effect of your house? Is the house located further back as compared to the road, is it surrounded by large trees or foliage? In this case, you want to choose a lighter or brighter color scheme which can help the house stand out a little bit and leave a less gloomy or dull impression. On the other hand, a darker color palette will make the house seem a bit more receded and help it blend in.

You can also choose colors that will make the house seem warm or cool based on cool and warm undertones and can make color choices based on what kind of image you want to portray. A good idea for this is to use color theory as mentioned above.

Keep Different Colors in Mind

Happy woman paint wall at home

As mentioned before when painting the exterior, it has three different major parts in terms of color. The field color, which is the dominant color, the accent color which is for doors, shutters and other smaller areas and the trim color, which is for edgings, door casings, and railings.

Generally, the trim color and the field color should contrast greatly in order to add dimension and help draw your eyes to different parts of the house. However, sometimes designers can also use monochromatic themes to appeal to a more modern look and use only one or two colors.

If you have a dark field color, it would be good to select a classic white trim or another lighter color. A lighter field color can look great with darker trim, it can act like eyeliner for your house as it creates a sharp and dramatic effect. Feel free to use bold colors in your accents but refrain from going over the top.

The Bottom Line

Deciding on a color or color scheme for the exterior of your house can seem like a huge task. It is a good idea to know what you are looking for and use various tools to help you get there. You can always ask for professional help and even use tools like visualizers to help you make a decision. It is best to do some research on color theory as well to help you make your home stand out.