Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Q:  I’m terrified of making a mistake with choosing new colors for my home. Where do I start?

A: First, you’re not alone. Choosing the colors for your home’s exterior can be daunting – not only the color, but how many, where each color will go – it all has to work together to beautify your home. Unless you have a traditional Victorian “painted lady” that screams for a complex, multicolor scheme, you’re best to stick with a two or three color scheme. One for the body of your home, one for trim, and one for doors and decorative elements like shutters. Look around your neighborhood and find colors you like and see how they work together. Choose a scheme that blends in with your area, or if it stands out, make it stand out in a subtle, unobtrusive manner.

You’ll want to take care not to highlight elements that aren’t so pretty – like gutters, downspouts, a large garage door, air conditioning units, and so on. These can be painted in colors of the surrounding elements or in a simple trim color.

Last but not least, take into consideration the things you won’t be changing, like brick, landscaping, roofing, water features, and stone. Make sure the colors you choose compliment these elements, not clash with them. Keep in mind your surroundings as well – what elements bloom and what colors are they? Will your selections highlight or blend with them, or clash terribly? Is your home in a heavily wooded or shaded area, making the colors look darker, or in bright Florida sun all day, making bright colors even more severe, and light colors brighter.

Q: Is there anything most homeowners overlook when selecting and placing exterior colors on their home?

A: We’re glad you asked! It can feel stressful and complicated, and it’s so easy to play it safe. But, an all-beige home with beige trim just says blah blah blah. Use what’s not going to change to help – maybe a your stone siding has flecks of grey-green – look for those colors on a paint color strip (available at paint stores – we recommend Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore, since we use their paints almost exclusively) for the body or trim and go from there. Maybe you can use those Make a terrific first impression – and a lasting one – by taking the time to make choices that enhance your home’s curb appeal and even your resale value.  You can always get paint color strips, or even small samples to test the colors on the exterior, so you can see how it will look in different areas of your home and at different times of day. If you’re still not confident, call us. We’re happy to schedule a color consultation with you so you can make the most of your home’s features through a smart paint scheme.

Q: Can you share any hard-and-fast rules about color placement on a home?

A: Well, no. There are no “rules” – but there are some tried-and-true applications and suggestions that you should consider as guidelines. Medium-to-darker colors are becoming more popular for home bodies, with a crisp light trim. Light shades on a home can also look very up-to-date with a contrasting door in a darker or bright, fun color.

Sherwin-Williams experts recommend that a safe and effective approach to color placement is to select two tints or shades from the same color strip a few shades apart. Either the lighter or the darker shade could be used for the body and the opposite for the trim. A contrasting accent color could punctuate the door. Lighter colors on a porch will make a home feel more “approachable” and welcoming. Light or white is a good choice for windowsills for reflection of the sun’s heat and light. Light colors advance in space; dark colors recede. If a house is placed far away from the curb, painting it a light color will visually bring it forward.

Q: Why are white and light colors so popular?

A: Traditionally, these are considered “safe” colors. Here in the south, they’re also less subject to noticeable fading, and light colors can keep a home cooler, as they can reflect heat more than darker colors. However, that’s changing. Paints are better than ever at holding their color, being protective and long-lasting. Still can’t decide? We’re here to help. Contact us and schedule a color consultation. The Ocean Oaks Painting and Construction team wants you to not just like your new paint job, but love it – and enjoy your choices for many years to come.

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