Are you trying to choose a color to paint your house? Whether your home is looking a little worn out or you just want a change, picking an exterior paint color is a big decision. Not only should you consider your taste, but your neighbors also prefer that you chose a color with them in mind too.
How do I know which paint colors will look good in my house?
In general, there are three main colors in a home’s exterior paint scheme: main, accent, and trim. The main color is the predominant color, accent colors are usually on shutters or front doors, and trim colors are reserved for window or door casings. When picking exterior paint colors, here are three things to keep in mind.
The Home-Style Encourages a Paint Scheme
You know that paint can highlight the amazing design details of your home’s architecture. Depending on the style, your home may look best in soft, muted colors or big and bold.
- Victorian: Pastel colors work well and are period-appropriate. Choosing several different colors will differentiate and highlight the elaborate and ornate details in the design.
- Craftsman: Neutral earth tones with bright accents bring attention to architectural details while providing a warm, welcoming, cozy appearance.
- Midcentury Modern: Neutrals with bold accents and traditional arts and crafts colors complement the abundance of windows and natural light.
- Spanish Colonial: White, off-white, and light cream go well with the terra cotta roofs, hand-painted tiles, ornamental ironwork, and graceful archways.
- Cottage: This whimsical, fairytale style home can handle more unusual colors that bring out the charm.
- Cape Cod: Light and airy neutrals with contrasting window casings look great with the classic lines of these English homes.
Paint colors must coordinate with your roof, landscape, and hardscapes.
The color of your home should enhance the parts of your property that cannot be easily changed like the roof, driveway, or landscaping.
- Roof: What color is your roof? Whether you have dark gray or black shingles, terra cotta or slate tiles, or traditional cedar shakes, your house color can contrast the roof color or blend with it, depending on the effect you want.
- Landscape: If your home is surrounded by a natural flowering landscape, lighter shades can make the colors in your blooming foliage stand out.
- Hardscape: Consider the stonework in your driveway, walkways, porch, patio, or walls. Try to pick up on the underlying tones to create a cohesive look.
What are the underlying tones in the paint color?
Tones are the dull or bright variations of color. When you add gray to color it makes the color less intense, thus creating a different tone of that color. For example, some blues have undertones of purple while others have more green. In general, there are warm, cool, and neutral tones.
- Warm Tones: Red, orange, yellow
- Cool Tones: Blue, green, purple
- Neutral Tones: Black, white, gray, brown, beige
Using various paint colors with the same underlying tone creates harmony. If you live in a wooded area, earth tones will help your home blend in with the surrounding nature. Beach houses can be bright saturated colors, like turquoise, while Victorians look great in pastels.
Your paint color choice can visually transform the appearance of the house.
Certain color combinations can make a house seem larger, smaller, taller, or shorter. Paint color can also make your home appear to come forward or fall back. Lighter and brighter homes stand out while darker ones recede.
Can paint color make my house look bigger or smaller?
Yes. If you have a small house, one way to make it seem larger is to use a medium shade of blue for the main color and a crisp white for the trim. Why does this work? The blue makes the home look more substantial while the white brightens it. Another example is a classic white house with black trim.
If you have a large house that sits on a small lot, avoid light colors or your house will look even bigger. If you have a tall house, paint the top a darker color to scale it down.
Does the color of my house affect the resale value?
If you want to sell your home in the future, consider how your paint color may affect the resale value. If you want to be bold without scaring off potential buyers, highlight an accent piece, like the front door, or paint window panes, shutters, or trim with a contrasting color.