Exterior Paint Color Scheme

Tips on how to choose the external color scheme when you paint your house so you can avoid costly and embarassing mistakes.

Many otherwise creative people become very nervous when choosing the exterior paint color for their homes. Perhaps they recognize that this decision could influence its market potential should they choose to sell the house in the near future. Painting a house is expensive so it is not surprising that people become anxious about making a costly error. However, you need not be nervous because there are some easy tips you can follow to help you make the right decision.

You need not slavishly copy your neighbors but it is important that your house sits comfortably with the others on the street. Your neighbors might become annoyed with you if your house stands out in a garish fashion on a conservative street. Once you have taken in the basic rules that your neighbors follow you can then please yourself in your personalization of your house.

If you find the colors of the houses on your street a little dull you may be able to paint the front of your house a different color from the back allowing you to create one look for the streetscape and another for your rear living. Your ability to do this will depend on your house type and on what can be viewed from the street. You don't want to give your house a lopsided appearance.

If you are painting an older house you may want to consider historical accuracy. You may find inspiration consulting historical color charts from your library. You can also find inspiration driving through suburbs with houses similar to your own and sifting through magazines.

Another pleasant source of inspiration for your choice of house color is your garden. If you have a beautiful color scheme in the flowers you have planted you might want to copy this scheme in some way in your choice of main color or in one of your trims.

The reason lighter colors are so often used for houses is because lighter colors make a house seem larger. Painting the sideboards a dark color will make a house seem smaller although it can draw more attention to details.



Most houses have one main color for the sideboards and then two to five trim colors. How many trim colors you want to have will depend on the size of your house and the number of details you want to accentuate.

You may have wondered why window sashes are so often white. Perhaps you have considered painting them a different color to be original. Do not do this! Windows painted in colors other than white or off white will absorb heat very quickly causing the paint to crack. You can paint the border around the window sashes any color you like or just paint the trim on the bottom of the window a different color. Details you may want to emphasize include special features such as wooden lace or a very attractive door.

Another factor to consider is your interior color scheme. People will be passing through from the exterior to the interior so you should avoid any violent uncomfortable clash between the two environments.

When choosing your color swatches be sure to view them in natural daylight. Artificial light will distort the true color and evening light will make colors appear redder than they actually are. Observe the colors in natural sunlight in the morning or afternoon. Purchase some test pots and paint your house with the different colors so as to observe them in the sun. Remember that colors will appear lighter when painted over a large surface.

When we think about the psychology of color, we usually think of it in terms of interior colors or clothing, but it is relevant for external house color, too.

Be sure to get advice from the experts about what is traditional when painting your house so you don't make any mistakes. Your home is your canvas so have fun painting!

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