3 Pro Tips for Picking Exterior Paint Colors

Exterior Painting Colors

There are a number of things to consider when repainting the exterior of your home. After you choose a painter and decide on the type of paint you want to use, you have the task of deciding on a color. For some people this comes easily; for others, it's a daunting task. The fact is, choosing an exterior paint color is about more than appearances.

Here are a few practical tips that will make choosing exterior paint a little easier.

Find Pros Practical Exterior Paint Colors

If you're thinking about painting you home a dark or bright color, remember that these colors tend to fade much faster than lighter colors -- especially in direct sunlight. Dark colors also absorb heat, which may make a difference in certain climates. If you like a bright color such as a vibrant yellow or blue, consider selecting a slightly muted version of the same color.

Homes with existing dark exterior paint may pose a problem if you want to repaint with a lighter color. Though it's certainly possible to change a house from dark brown to off-white, it will likely require a primer for the new color to truly shine. This will require more labor and cost more money.

Ideas for Exterior Paint Color Schemes

Stay true to the traditional color scheme for your type of home. For example, a New England Salt Box looks best in blue-gray hues, while a Victorian home can look great in a variety of vibrant colors. Look at the bottom layer of paint for a clue to your home's original paint scheme. If your home is in a wooded area, you might want to choose earth tones; a house by the shore will look better in brighter, lighter colors.

Look at homes in your neighborhood or in decorating magazines to find inspiration for paint colors. If you like the color of a house in your neighborhood, ask the homeowner whether he or she would be willing to share the color name and brand of paint they used. If you find a color scheme you like in a magazine, it will be fairly easy to have the colors matched at your local paint store.

Many paint manufacturers will group complimentary color palettes to provide suggestions for trim, accents and the body of the home. Generally, these palettes have been tested and approved many times over. These suggestions will take the guess work out of which colors go well with your chosen main paint color.

Preview and Test Your Exterior Paint Colors

Many paint stores offer computer imaging to illustrate how a chosen color might look. This way, you can avoid a surprise after buying hundreds of dollars worth of paint. Once you’ve got your choices down to just a handful, purchase a small amount of each and try them out on different areas of the house. Though computer imaging is an excellent tool, seeing a paint color on your house in real life is the best way to solidify your decision.

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Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.
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