Turn Your Paint Chips into Curb Appeal

Tips to help you choose the right paint color for your homes exterior

By Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG

Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and your home's finish is cracking: it's time to paint! While you can wildly spin the color wheel for your interior, you're likely to be more conservative when choosing a color for the exterior. Want your home to stand out without being an eyesore? Consider these tips!

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Classic Traditional Outdoors
Michael Abrams
  • Keep in mind your home's architectural style and permanent surfaces, such as masonry and roofing, which may lend themselves to a particular color choice.

  • Account for the neighborhood's palette. Do you need to comply with a set color scheme?

  • Consider whether your home has a historic or architectural style that requires special attention. Refer to History of Color in Home Exteriors for further information.
  • View your potential exterior paint colors outside and with the exterior finishes, such as stone, brick-dyed concrete, and roofing material. Sunlight can wash out light colors, making them appear even lighter.
  • Remember that dark trim colors draw attention to architectural detail and visually ground the roof line. Dark colors also absorb more light than lighter hues. For this reason, lighter colors tend to last longer and fade less than dark colors.
  • Consider earth-tones such as beige, brown, and tan as the most stable for exterior colors. Highly saturated, bright colors can appear much brighter and chromatic. Dusty blues and greens can be tricky for exteriors, as they lose their dustiness under natural sunlight.
  • Test your paint colors by painting swatches on large pieces of cardboard. View them vertically and horizontally. Live with the test colors for a couple days and view them at different times of the day. You may love the colors at certain times of the day but not others.
Here's how to make the right paint selections for your home's exterior.

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