It’s stressful to paint a room, but selecting exterior home paint colors can be downright daunting. It’s a huge task in terms of time, money, and curb appeal. You can navigate this job successfully by following some well considered steps.

How To Narrow Down Colors

1. You can identify the style and neighborhood of your home.

While you don’t have to be bound by tradition when choosing exterior paint colors, the style of your home can provide some direction. A collection of pastels might not work well on a Ranch-style home, while bold colors may look out of place in a Victorian. Maria Killam is a colorist, designer, blogger, author, and stylist. She uses this advice when working on classic home designs. She says, “I love the symmetrical appearance of a Colonial home with shutters.” If I owned a Colonial, I’d go for white with black shutters on a green door.

Your neighborhood can also provide inspiration for paint colors. You may live in a neighborhood with historic homes or a suburb that has a dominant theme. You can use them as a starting place.

2. Become a house color copycat.

While you are trying to narrow your color options, you can drive around your neighborhood and take photos of color palettes you like or homes that resemble yours. There’s always a reason why something seems out of place. Killam says that vinyl windows are one of the most common mistakes he sees. The standard colors are usually bright white and beige. “White belongs to crisper and cleaner color schemes like turquoise, a straw-yellow, or grays or blacks, for example.”

3. Do not get caught up in the trends.

All of these trends are subject to change. Killam explains that just as most people don’t want to paint their homes brown because the trend has passed, you shouldn’t do it with charcoal. You might like it right now, but once the grey trend ends, you will wish it were the next popular neutral.

4. You can find guidance in your own home.

You may already have some colors in your home that you can use as a base for your color scheme. These should be the base for your color scheme. Killam says that many people do not realize the influence fixed colors can have on choosing paint colors. You can’t just ignore the existing colors and choose a trendy new color that has nothing to do with what is already there. She contacted me to get a consultation. One of my customers painted her stucco gray and her yellow/gold stone. She wasn’t thrilled with my color choice, but it worked much better for her stone. She was happy with the end result.

The size of a house also influences how colors appear. Dark colors on large houses can make them look foreboding and ominous, while light colors on small homes may not feel grounded.

The landscape is also important. Colors that are recessive may be inspired by a more naturalistic landscape, like sea foam green or pastels. If you have a formal landscape, such as rows and rows of boxwoods along a walkway, then it is likely that your colors will be more vibrant and with a higher level of design.

5. Color wheel rules.

When in doubt, rely on tried and true color guidelines from the color wheel. If you’re unsure, use the tried-and-true color guidelines found on the wheel. Monochromatic is a term used to describe colors that are in the same color family, such as different shades of gray. The colors that are next to each other (analogous), as well as opposites, work together. These are also known as complementary colors. If you’re going for a muted color scheme with browns and creams as well as earth tones, Killam recommends choosing beige vinyl windows. And coordinate your trim to match it. “A house with earthy stones combined with bright white windows will look wrong.”

6. What you choose: test, and then some more.

Once you have narrowed your choices down to a few, obtain color samples. Paint them in large areas. You can view them in different light conditions, including in the sun and shadow. If you’re still unsure, Killam suggests hiring a designer that you trust or asking a friend to come and look at the house. We get accustomed to our house and miss the details that an outsider would notice.

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