Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Selecting Exterior Paint Colors Part 1 : A Few Things to Consider

This time last year I was agonizing over selecting exterior paint colors for our house. I didn't just want our house to have a fresh coat of paint. I wanted it to have curb appeal and be memorable. I wanted it to stick out in  the neighborhood, in a good way. Paint costs the same no matter what color, so I wanted to get the most bang for my paint bucks.

Here are some of the things I learned about selecting exterior paint colors:

1. Think about the color of features of the house that are not easy to change, such as the roof or brick. Unless you are considering painting the brick or replacing the roof sometime soon, it's a good idea to pick a color that compliments or blends with the colors of those existing features.

2. Consider the style or architecture of the house. A Victorian cottage might look adorable in a color that wouldn't be appropriate for a Cape Cod or a ranch.

3. Don't forget the landscaping. If you have a profusion of pink bushes and flowers in your front yard, some colors might clash. The same colors can look different depending on whether your yard has shade or bright sun.

4. What are the colors of  other houses in the neighborhood? You don't want to clash or completely blend in, so make sure to take a look at your next door neighbors' houses. And, don't be a copycat. Inspiration is one thing but outright copying a close neighbor's colors can lead to hard feelings.

5. The accepted wisdom is that dark colors can make a house look smaller and light colors can make a house look larger. Also, dark colors recede and light colors advance.

6. A rule of thumb about using different colors on the top and bottom of the house is that a dark color on the lower part of the house will ground it. A dark color on the upper part will make it look shorter.

7. Where you live can play a role in color selection. Colors that are appropriate for the beach, woods, a suburban neighborhood, or an urban, historic district vary.

Are you wondering which of these paint colors are the ones I ended up selecting? None of these. These are some exterior color combinations from around my neighborhood. To find out what I chose, you will need to read Selecting Exterior Paint Colors Part 2 : Craftsman-Style Cottage.

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