Painting a house exterior is no kids' play. Your house could end up being an expensively created neighborhood joke, if you make the wrong paint color choices. If you opt for the right colors, it could be the house with the most welcoming feel and the most elegant appearance in your entire neighborhood. How it turns out to be in the end, depends a lot on the planning that is put in towards the choice of colors.
Carefully chosen color schemes can vastly increase the house's market potential, something that can very easily go the other way too.
Exterior Home Paint Colors
Plan properly, way in advance, because...
- Your decision on your exterior home paint colors can increase or decrease your home's market potential. A house that presents an appealing visual obviously fetches the best price and minor drawbacks are generally overlooked.
- Painting house exteriors is generally a very expensive affair. Wrong colors can translate into a costly error and may leave a big hole in your savings for discretionary expenses.
- The whole point of doing up a house exterior, is to increase its aesthetic value and make it more homely and welcoming. Loud, glaring color clashes can make your whole objective, a moot point.
Color Schemes for Exterior House Paint - 4 Generic Styles
Single colored exterior uses just one main color and two or more hues of the same color for highlights. The hues are normally taken as lighter, medium and darker versions of the same chosen color. Hence, it is also known as the monochromatic color scheme. A salient feature of this type of paint scheme, is a subtle accent to finer architectural details, with an overall conservative sophistication. This is the best type of color for conservative neighborhoods, and is also the best bet for a risk averse house owner, who does not wish to experiment with different colors.
In a complementary color scheme, two complementary colors are used for painting the house exteriors. Complementary colors, are colors that are opposite to each other on the color palette spectrum. The complementary scheme boasts of a great deal of lively contrast and offers good scope for color experimentation. The house looks alive with complementary coloring of one dominant color and two or three complementary accents.
As the name suggests, this scheme uses three colors that fall at equidistant points on the color wheel. Such a triadic creation needs expert advice, as it is a highly complex and cluttered color scheme. If an experienced eye is not used while creating it, the color scheme can easily go awry, either as too loud and boisterous or as too glaring and tacky. A well conceived triadic color scheme can make your home look vibrant, eye-catching and beautiful.
Analogous home exterior color scheme is also known as a corresponding, adjacent or related house exterior paint scheme, the analogous color scheme makes use of colors that lie near each other or are neighbors on the color wheel. In this, one color is dominant and others are used as highlights. This is a visually complex color scheme, but because of the inherent harmony between the cluster of colors chosen, it is easier to create than the tricolor home paint scheme.
Exterior House Paint Color Scheme Selection Tips
- It is important that you preserve the historical accuracy and architectural integrity of older houses. This can be done by researching library color charts for colors that match the construction era.
- Maintain a synchronized color scheme throughout the exteriors. Make sure no color clashes with your landscape or with your home interiors. After all, you want the perfect overall look, not different looks cut up in different sections.
- Lighter colors make the house look larger while darker colors make it look smaller. Darker tones accent recesses while lighter tones highlight details on the wall surface. So, if you have a smaller house, then it is a good idea to paint it in lighter paint shades to make it appear larger.
- Maintenance wise, dark and bright colors require more regular maintenance and care as they are prone to fading in direct sunlight. On the other hand lighter colors retain their beauty for longer duration and hence there is no need to repaint it every year. Window trims are generally painted white or off white as they absorb less heat. Darker colors on window trims might crack due to high heat and moisture absorption.
- View all the colors in natural sunlight before purchasing them as artificial lights distort their true colors and evening light makes them appear redder than normal. Purchasing small test pots and trying them on small parts will ensure that you are not stuck with a garage, full of the wrong color paint cans.
- Make sure that the exterior paint colors that you choose for your house match or at least complements that of your neighbors. Also make sure that the paint colors of the house exteriors and interiors are complementary.
- When going for exotic, eccentric colors, know these basics. To tone down bright blues, white is the best trimmer. Colors like yellow (in muted forms, no neons and fluorescents please!) impart a unique freshness and vibrancy to the home, making it more inviting. When choosing between glossy, semi-glossy or flat paint, remember that glossy paints end up highlighting imperfections in brush strokes and touch ups, and hence are best put by professionals. They are however, easier to clean.
- An idea that cannot go wrong, is to use muted shades for the dominant base shade and, either lighter or muted colors can make up the trims and the accents. Soft toned colors go well with stone and give the home a sedate, calm and unhurried look.
- No matter what colors you choose, make sure that they are compatible with your neighborhood exterior house color schemes. Get an approval from the homeowners' association before you invest big money in anything.
- If there is existing paint on the exterior walls of your house, consider the fact that you may have to use a primer before you apply a fresh paint coat. Factor in, this additional expense into your painting budget. A primer need not be applied if your initial color is light and the new color you have chosen is a darker variation of the same.
- Last but not the least, buy the best paint in the market for your exteriors. It may be expensive but due to its durability, it ends up as the cheaper option in the long run. Keep in mind that colors like intense reds and deep blues get subdued with age. Dark colors are difficult to touch up once they start fading.
A poll by Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute suggests that America's most popular exterior color schemes consist of white, off white, beige, tan and brown. This may be because of the balance and harmony that is projected by neutral colors such as beige and off white. For those who want to go beyond popularity, soft pastel shades give a fresh and cool appearance to the house. However, make sure that these colors complement the terrain in which you live in. Test your choices on software first, as that will help you avoid costly errors. Experiment with your imagination, but don't lose sight of the objective. Make your house come alive, don't kill its soul with overwhelmingly loud and garish colors. Good luck with your project.