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5 Basic Considerations for Choosing Exterior Colors

Posted 15 March 2016 5:33 PM by admin

There’s no denying that a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Fresh color can increase your home’s value and greatly improve its curb appeal. And, while there are any number of sites with tips on how to choose colors, here are the basic considerations you need to make an informed and aesthetic decision. So put down those paint chips and consider the following.

The architecture - What style home do you have? If you have an older home or even a new home in an older style such as a cape, a bungalow or mid-century modern ranch you have historical precedents. Seek out examples of historically accurate colors and color families that match the style of your home. Using traditional colors that suit a particular style or period can make your selection easier. Also note that most major paint manufacturers now feature historic collections that identify a family of colors well suited to the style of your home.

The neighborhood - Your house is part of a neighborhood and as such it should fit in. Walk around and look at how your neighbors have painted their homes. You may want to stand out, but you don’t want to stand apart. Select colors that tastefully showcase your home and you’ll avoid upsetting your neighbors. You also may get some great ideas. A word of warning - if you belong to a homeowners association you’d better check the bylaws before you even consider opening a can of paint.

Climate, Landscape and Hardscape - Just as fitting into the neighborhood is important, harmonizing with the natural landscape of your property is equally important. Color ideas can come from flowers, plants and trees. They can also come in contrast to surroundings. For example, the colors you choose, should harmonize with your roof and other hardscapes such as concrete or brick. Colors should also harmonize with the climate. Brighter colors are popular in warmer climates, while traditional white and more subtle darker combination are preferable in northern locals.

The Three Color Essentials - Unless you a have an ornate Queen Anne or Victorian, we are generally talking about just three colors - the field, accent and trim. The field color is the dominant color. The accent color is for doors, shutters and other accents and should provide contrast. Trim colors which are often in the same family of the field color are applied around window and door casings as well as roof edging and railings.

A final simple observation: If you want to make your home look larger, paint it white. While a darker field color will make your home appear smaller, contrasting trim and accent colors are a great way to highlight finer details. Color can be deceiving so you’ll want to make sure that you see it on both a gray and a sunny day.  Take your time in choosing. Paint a wall to test your colors. Remember it’s all about context. You want to achieve harmony and balance, within your neighborhood, within the natural surroundings of your home and with the architectural style of your home.

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