10 Ways to Coordinate Your Exterior Colors

by Holly WellesFebruary 15, 2019

Painting the exterior of your home is far more involved than an interior project. When you’re planning the color scheme of your living room, you don’t have to worry about the collective opinion of the entire neighborhood. If you’re unhappy with the results, or you come across an issue, it’s easy to manage and contain.

When you make changes to your home’s exterior color, your decisions are public. You want to make sure they’re tasteful and inoffensive, attractive enough to distinguish your property but not separate it from others on the block. Learning to coordinate your colors is the first step toward achieving that subtle balance.

Here are 10 easy tips to help you with your home’s aesthetic, walking you through everything you need to know about color coordination.

1. Choose Primary and Secondary Accent Colors

As you determine your color scheme, make sure your main shade and accents match well. The primary accent color should be lighter and less saturated than the main color and is used for trim, pillars, porch railings and other architectural features. The secondary accent should be dark and bold, for shutters and doors.

2. Respect the Neighborhood Color Scheme

The changes you make to your home’s exterior are open for all to see. You want your home to blend well with the general look and feel of the neighborhood, and while this might restrict your options, consider it an opportunity. Limitations often bring out the creative side in people.

3. Match the Color of Your Shutters and Doors

It’s common practice to match the color of your shutters with the color of your door, and for good reason. It brings a sense of unity and cohesion to your home’s exterior. The consistency is appealing, and unless you want to direct a viewer’s attention toward your door, it’s often the best way to go.

4. View Colors at Different Times of the Day

As you evaluate some trending paint colors at your local hardware store, don’t purchase on impulse. It’s essential to look at your home at different times of the day to gauge the sun’s effect at various angles. Knowing how much light your home receives will inform which shades of paint you ultimately select.

5. Adhere to Your Home’s Architectural Style

To choose the right color palette for your project, you need to acknowledge and respect the architectural style of your home. If it’s modern, then white, black and gray will work well, and if it’s French country style, warm tones like yellow and gold are best.

With certain types of architecture, bold isn’t always better. There may even be local restrictions in place if you own a historic home or live in a specific neighborhood, so always check your town’s policies before deciding to paint.

6. Take Cues From the Surrounding Landscape

The location of your home will also inform its color scheme. A home in the woodlands looks far more appealing in earth tones than pastels, while houses in the sunbelt look beautiful with bright, warm tones. Consider the climate of the surrounding area as well, and ask, “Will this look nice year-round?”

7. Select a Neutral Color for Roofing Material

If you’re making large-scale renovations to your home in addition to painting its exterior, you should take the opportunity to install roofing material with a neutral tone. Since roofing lasts 20 years or more, and a coat of paint only lasts one-third of that span, it’ll allow for greater flexibility in the future.

8. Use Color to Diminish or Emphasize Features

Colors on the lighter end of the spectrum tend to grow or emphasize a feature, where darker colors tend to shrink or diminish them. Keep this in mind when deciding on your color palette. If there’s an unappealing aspect of your home you’d rather conceal, a soft, neutral tone will help it fade into the background.

9. Complement Your Home’s Natural Materials

Your existing brick or stone foundation, patio or accents all have a role to play in deciding your color scheme. You want your choices to complement the underlying tones of the natural materials. When selecting exterior paint colors, try pairing opposites in terms of color temperature to see if you can reach an attractive balance.

10. Try a Color Visualizer Tool

Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore and McCormick paint all provide color visualizer tools with exterior options to help customers choose the best scheme for their home. If you’re struggling to imagine how your choices would appear after you’ve finished your project, these tools can prove useful.

Colors Well Coordinated

Painting the exterior of your home is more involved than an interior project, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be even more rewarding. When you step back and admire your home’s new appearance, you can feel a sense of pride and satisfaction knowing your hard work paid off.

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About The Author
Holly Welles
Holly Welles covers real estate and home improvement tips for the uninitiated homeowner. She believes in the value of making the most of any space, which is why she also runs The Estate Update. Catch her on Twitter @HollyAWelles or email her at hollyawelles@gmail.com.

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