Monday, August 2, 2010

Exterior House Colors

We're finally going to paint the exterior of our house.  And, let's just say our (poor) house is in some serious need of a new coat of paint.  Our cape cod house dates back to the 1940's and honestly, I think it was only painted once in its life (when it was built).
Don't mind me while I post some of my favorite houses taken from our neighborhood.  BTW, below is not our house.
Love this cool blue/gray color
Picking out a color for your house is a little more complicated than just picking out a a color to paint a room.

1) If you pick the wrong color it can turn into a very expensive mistake.  Who can fork up several thousands to have it repainted?
A nice subdued pale yellow color
2) We have aluminum siding so I am told I can not paint a swatch of the color on the side of the house, so I have used large poster boards to test the paint colors.  I find this very annoying.  Isn't there an easier way?
An unexpected green with a light blue door.  Very fresh. 
3) It's hard to imagine the entire house in your swatch color.  For example, if the color looks too dark, I am told not to worry because painting the exterior of a house is like blowing up a balloon.  At first, the color of the balloon is saturated, but once you start blowing air into it, the color becomes more diffused (this advice was given to me from a color consultant).

I don't know if it is my lack of experience (having never painted a house before), but I have a hard time visualizing what the color will look like.  How much more diffused will the actual color be?
A classic white home w/midnight blue shutters and door.  
4) We hope to move in 12 to 18 months, so the colors I pick need to appeal to the masses to increase our resale value.   At the end of the day, I think I am just going to have to play it safe and try to pick conservative colors.

5) I've also been told that you must consider your roof and foundation color.  It is also important to consider the style of the house and the color of the houses on your street.

So, do you have any tips to help with the daunting process of choosing a paint color for your house?  


  1. When we were building, our builder gave us a list of all the addresses of homes he had built/was in the process of building to see how color of the house and roof can affect the overall look. Driving around and looking at them made a big difference. I would suggest driving through neighborhoods where the style of home is similar to yours and getting ideas that way.

  2. I love your neighborhood! I could wander around all day looking at the beautiful homes and gardens! Your house is so lovely... I say go traditional Cape Cod with some kind of color twist!
    -ME xo

  3. beautiful homes.... choosing a color is so hard. all of your ideas are fantastic. i'm sure it will turn out great.

  4. Be careful about white and light colors if the siding goes all the way to the foundation (you can see mud and dirt easily on by and look at this, too) We have brick on the bottom so we hope we can get away with white. The country living magazine website has a great pick your paint color tool that matches color with trim and roof. Go check it out!

  5. Could you take a picture of your home and play around with photoshop?

  6. I don't have any great advice here, as we've never painted the exterior but I just had to say I love you neighborhood :)

  7. Yes, this is tricky. I have never had to paint an exterior, and it would probably throw me into a indecisive crisis for weeks. I think you're on the right track though, scoping out houses in your area and just doing something similar. The exterior, esp when you're selling, is for the tried and true, not a place to be especially creative!

  8. Your neighborhood is beautiful and I love the blue door. You are probably right to stick with safe conservative colors. That way it would never look dated.


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  12. I think you can go for a safe traditional house color like white or pale yellow and then to bring some color in you can paint your door a bright or vivid color like green, red, or purple. Since it's just the door, you can easily repaint it when you want to put it on the market if the door is too non-traditional for your neighborhood. We are looking at a gorgeous colonial much like the last pic on this post and if we get it I will leave it white but make the shutters a rich midnight blue and the door a warm shade of purple with a lot of pink in it. The door is arched at the top and it would really make it pop - it's white now and it just fades into the background.

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