Choosing Paint Colors for Home Exteriors - AMC Painting

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Choosing Paint Colors for Home Exteriors

July 15, 2023

6 Tips for Choosing Paint Colors for Home Exteriors

Choosing paint colors for your home’s exterior is a difficult task. For many homeowners, the question of “what color should I paint my house” might just be the hardest one to answer during a home improvement project. We get it. Painting your home is a large project you don’t want to repeat just because you discover you hate the shade you selected after the project is finished. Through our years of experience painting thousands of houses, AMC Painting has pulled together a few helpful tips for guiding our customers through the process. Take a look and see if they are helpful in your hunt for the perfect color!


1. Assess the canvas — your home’s exterior

Before you think about color, take time to walk around the exterior of your home and assess how color will impact its overall appearance. Do you have a Victorian with a lot of trim and accents? Or is your home modern with elements of metal and stone? Is your home large, with lots of uninterrupted surfaces? Or is it small with lots of angles and windows? Do you have stucco, siding or brick? 


The answers to these questions will help guide you in narrowing down your potential colors. For example, a modern, industrial home might benefit from a deep dive into shades of gray and black, while a Victorian would look excellent with bold jewel tones and icy white trim. A smaller home might benefit from a brighter color, while a massive home would look more elegant with a subtle neutral color. A stucco, Southwestern home would benefit from earth tones versus purple or blue. When assessing the exterior of your house take not of the following:


  • Size — What colors will play out best with the size and scale of your home? 
  • Architecture — What is the style of your home? Modern farmhouse? Industrial? Craftsman? 
  • Accents and Trim — Do you have a lot of gingerbread accents? Is there exposed metal or brick? Do you have a lot of stonework or decking? Do you have a lot of standard trim?
  • Neighborhood — Do you want to blend in or stand out? Do you want to avoid matching the home two houses over? Do you have a homeowner’s association with a strict list of pre-approved colors? 
  • Landscape — Will your home spend a lot of time in the shade or sun? Do you have a lot of outbuildings you will want to paint in the same shade? Do you live in a dusty area that can cause certain shades to look dirty? Would you like to create a backdrop for your landscape or blend in with the natural beauty of your neighborhood?


2. Get inspired. 

Once you have an idea of the basics of your canvas, it’s time to start considering color. That means finding inspiration in the world around you. One great way to get inspired is to take a look at other homes with a similar architectural design to see how different shades play out in the real world. Take a walk through your own neighborhood or hop in the car and pay a visit to nearby areas to find a variety of color palettes. Take note of the homes that make you wish they were your own. They give roots to your inspiration. Other ideas to spark your imagination:


  • Check out the exteriors of buildings you love. 
  • Look over the color schemes of homes of friends and family.
  • Look at swatches in your favorite color. Don’t worry if you love a shade like pink or yellow. You may find just the right hue to pay homage to that color. 
  • Find inspiration in nature. Colorado’s neutral color palette offers stunning options for home exteriors. Clay reds, subtle taupes, deep granite, forest green … you get the picture. 
  • Look online or in magazines for trending colors or advice on using classic palettes. 


One more excellent idea is to enlist help from an expert. Sherwin-Williams provides free virtual color consultations where you can chat with a color consultant and discuss your options. After your 30-minute consultation, they’ll send you palettes and other tips for selecting a color. 


3. Live with it for a while: Stick-on Color Swatches

With paint companies like Sherwin Williams creating enormous 8×8, stickable test swatches, you can get an honest look at how your paint color will look at different times of day or night. Maybe that shade of white you thought was perfect has a blue undertone you didn’t notice when you first applied the swatch. Perhaps the gray shade you loved looks lighter or darker in the natural light. 


Order large swatches of your top choices and then put them on the wall and live with them for a few days. You’ll either find that you love your selection even more or discover flaws that can help you narrow down the choice: less green undertones, a brighter white or a completely different color altogether. When you finally choose a color, you’ll have more confidence in your decision. 


4. Think future-forward. 

What are your plans for your home over the next decade? When it comes to choosing exterior paint colors, you definitely want to take the future into consideration. Painting an entire home exterior is a huge undertaking you won’t want to repeat over and over before your first pick’s warranty even expires.


Do you plan to sell your home in the near future? While it may be exciting to paint your home that wild color palette you’ve always dreamed of, a future home buyer may decide that the effort of repainting or the strong dislike of living with the colors may cost you a sale. It also costs you a portion of your asking price if you need to make an allowance for paint. If selling your home is a future consideration, you should consider colors that are timeless, like neutral beiges, grays and whites. 


Another important consideration for the future is simply to ask, will you still love the color in five years? Some homeowners pick a paint color that is super bold and outside of their comfort zone, only to wish they had dialed it back a shade or two or picked a different color altogether. If you think there’s a chance you might regret the color later, you should reassess your decision. This goes for homeowners who fear they might be making a decision that is too safe, too. If beige makes you balk, don’t force yourself into choosing it (unless you’re going to sell your home in the near future). 


5. When in doubt, go neutral. 

While we encourage our customers to select any color they wish, sometimes that bright turquoise you adore in theory doesn’t translate well in practice. If you just can’t seem to settle, find a neutral you love and use it as a backdrop for amazing landscaping, beautiful decking or a simple, clean and straightforward look. 


Even though neutrals have the unfair reputation for being boring because they are subtle, there’s a lot of room for reflecting your personality. A light beige can have pink hues, for example, or a deep gray can have undertones of teal. Neutral doesn’t mean devoid of color. Even white has depth and tone that can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. 


If you keep the largest surface area neutral, you can also add some of the more colorful shades to the trim, which is easier to repaint if you decide to sell your home and easier to change if you don’t like the look in a few years. 


Time to Find Your Perfect Paint Match

Choosing paint colors for a whole house painting project can be fun and exciting if you know how to get started. These tips offer helpful guidance for selecting a color palette you will love to come home to. 



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