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Abbie DowneyVerified Expert in Interior Design

Abbie is the Owner of Feather&Fossil and specialises in Maximalist Interior Design schemes for residential clients. Abbie has experience and qualifications in Interior Design and Project Management.

Home » Design Ideas & Inspirations » How To Choose The Exterior Paint Colors for A House?

Exterior Paint Colors for A House

When most people think of redoing their home they tend to picture a dramatically restyled and overhauled house, both inside and out. While this might be true for some, and the best option given their circumstances, other homes might simply need a new coat of paint and some nice exterior features to completely change the look, feel, and curb appeal.

Adding exterior paint is a cost-effective way to redo the exterior of a home, which makes it a preferred option for many homeowners that want a new look without the hefty price tag. 

However, even though a new coat of paint can go a long way, it can also be a dramatic change that’s hard to comprehend until the entire house is actually painted. Accordingly, it’s important to carefully consider multiple options before making a final decision and changing the entire exterior of a home.

In this article, we’ll walk through expert guidance for choosing the best paint color for a home exterior, and other pro tips on improving the curb appeal of a home.

In case you didn’t know, Foyr is an online interior design tool made for amatuer and professional interior designers. So, while this article is written for interior designers who might be advising clients, it’s the perfect starting point for anyone who’s wondering how to pick the best exterior color of their home. 

If you’re ready to help a client make a serious, fun, exciting change to their home, then let’s dive right in.

Read also – How To Design Your Dream House?

exterior colors for house

Image Credit: Brick & Batten

Common Color Schemes for Exterior House Paint Colors

Some clients are only concerned with what’s in style right now, while others want a classic look. Ultimately, your client’s tastes and preferences will drive the final decision about exterior paint colors. If you’ve already been working with a specific client before the exterior color was discussed, then you might a good idea of their style and a sense of where to start.

Sometimes a client simply isn’t sure what they want. In these cases, it might be helpful to show them some common color schemes that work well with the existing style of their home – especially if they won’t be doing any significant construction or home remodeling to the exterior.

We’ve listed some of the most common color schemes you’ll see when driving through popular neighborhoods; these might be a helpful starting point for discussions with a client.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, these are some of the most popular current styles for home exteriors:

  • Dark green (often paired with dark wood undertones, black, taupe, off-white, or copper accents).
  • Charcoal gray (used with black, blue-gray, pure white, and natural wood tones).
  • Cream (used with natural wood, black, pastel, light blue, or copper accents
  • Classic navy (with white, light gray, dark gray, and wood accents).
  • Pastel (though common in tropical climates, this trend is now being seen more widely).
  • All black (a bold color choice, black usually looks best with only one other accent color, or if the entire exterior is the same color).
  • Most of these colors are an attractive choice that will look great on many different styles of old and new homes – and they aren’t likely to ruffle too many feathers in the neighborhood.

Read also – The Psychology of Colors in Interior Design

common color schemes for exterior house paint colors

Image Credit: Southern Living

Ensuring the Best Possible Curb Appeal

What should you do if you’re totally convinced that one specific color is the best choice for a home, but the client isn’t sure or they outrightly disagree? It’s up to the interior designer to respectfully make a strong case for their recommendation, even if the client ends up choosing something else.

One strategy to get the client on board with your color choices is to show them how the new paint job will significantly enhance the curb appeal of the home.

This enhanced curb appeal will help them if they choose to sell the home, and it will improve the exterior appearance, ensuring that the homeowners enjoy the house until they either decide to sell or do something new!

Picking a color that’s a little bit “out there” might make it difficult to sell the house, later on, potentially costing the homeowners money or lost time.

Read also – How To Use Color Theory in Interior Design?

ensuring the best possible curb appeal

Image Credit: W Design Collective

Popular Paint Brands

Paint brands are able to replicate just about any color, but there are significant differences in the quality and finish of different manufacturers. Make sure that you help your client understand the pros, cons, and costs associated with each brand so they can make a well-informed decision.
Some of the most widely used paint brands include:

  • Sherwin Williams
  • Benjamin Moore
  • Valspar
  • Behr
  • Rust-Oleum
  • Glidden

Other key factors that you’ll want to consider include the exterior materials, as this will determine what kind of paint is needed for long-term durability and appeal. The materials most often used for home exteriors include:

  • Brick
  • Cement
  • Stucco
  • Vinyl siding
  • Wood
  • Aluminium siding

Be aware that specific brands specialize in the paint for special purposes; a representative at your local supplier can help you understand the differences and make an informed decision.

Regardless of which paint brand your client chooses to use, you can easily provide lots of options by going to a local home improvement store or speciality paint shop and requesting paint chips (e.g., paint samples).

Read also – 11 Best Home Decorating Ideas

Choose the Exterior Paint Colors for home

Image Credit: Build Magazine

10 Tips for How to Choose the Exterior Paint Colors for a House:

1. Follow the "rule of threes"

Follow the “rule of threes” and create a color palette when first starting your project. Make sure you understand which color family will work best. Then you can use an accent to create a pop of color and bring together the whole exterior color scheme.

You can do this by applying an accent color on a more subtle exterior feature like a front door, flower boxes, railings, shutters, and more. After you’ve picked the main exterior color you can then add two more accent tones or colors for an attractive look that has variety with going overboard. This method gives you or your client the option to show off some personality without changing the entire exterior, or without using a non-traditional color over most of the house.

The subtlety of a nice accent will help preserve curb appeal and keep the house marketable should the owners sell. Redoing the exterior of a home is expensive, and potential buyers shouldn’t envision a costly fix as soon as they see the home.

Read also – 9 Best Home Interior Design Tips

2. Color Combinations

Study common color combinations for the home’s specific architectural style. Victorian homes, for example, can have very classic color combinations. However, they can also have bright, vivid color contrasts that some homeowners might find unappealing.

Sometimes, Victorian-style homes can use 5 colors or more on one exterior. Modern homes tend to use 3 colors at most. Picking the right colors ultimately depends on your client’s long-term goals.

If their goal is to restore the home to its original state, then you’ll need to do a lot of research on that specific home and related styles before you can make an informed recommendation and final decision.

Read also – 11 Amazing Home Decor Trends

3. Ensuring choise of exterior paint

In addition to ensuring that your choice of exterior paint colors makes sense for your own home, it’s also a good idea for you to take into account the other types of homes (and colors of these homes) in the surrounding neighborhood.

For example, does your client live in a historical neighborhood? Are there a lot of traditional homes nearby? Going way outside the norm might cause more trouble than good for your client.

Read also – 15 Interior Decorating Mistakes That Make Your Home Look Smaller

4. Take you climate to choose color

Take your climate into account. For example, in the Southwest U.S., where high temperatures in the summer regularly exceed 100 degrees, black might be a poor color choice.

Also, many houses in this part of the country are made from stucco and tile, or similarly resilient materials that keep the home’s interior temperature cooler. Make sure you’ve factored potential weather conditions into the decision.

Read also – 12 Ways To Incorporate Wabi-Sabi Interior Design in Your Home

5. Adding accent colors

Understand how to use the home’s exterior accents as an additional way of adding color. We talked about adding accent colors in the first recommendation, but here were referencing the use of other materials to offset and complement your primary exterior color.

This would require you to match the new house color with other design features or standard exterior components, including gutters, shutters, soffits, and garage doors. These components come in all different colors and styles, including unpainted – which can be one of the most appealing and desired accents.

Natural wood, copper, or black are all commonly used and they can stand out in a very striking way. Remember that materials used to build the home can also influence the final exterior paint color and serve as a pleasant accent, including brick (ranking from orange and brown to dark red), natural stone, or logs.

Read also – Installation Day Tips for Interior Designers

6. Test the paint

Test the paint by getting samples and putting them on different parts of the home’s exterior. Try adding them to areas that won’t be clearly noticed from the street, if possible.

Also, try to add the main color to different sections of the home so you can get a true sense of how the color looks during the morning, evening, afternoon, and in significant shade or cloud cover. When you’re testing out paint swatches, be sure to add some on the exterior of your home near the top of house so you can see how well it matches with the existing roof color.

Read also – 15 Best Celebrity Homes for Design Inspiration

7. Consider the natural surroundings

Consider the home’s natural surroundings. If you live in a desert area or a green, mountainous region then you might want to reflect these traits in the home’s exterior.

Forest green is a common choice for homes in the Pacific Northwest, while white is very traditional for farmhouses across the midwest (in contrast to a red barn) which might be found in the middle of beige fields. These colors and features could help inspiration strike and tie the entire design together.

Read also – 15 Best Home Design Software Tools

8. Accent colors to accentuate architectural

Use accent colors to accentuate architectural details. Does the home have unique features that deserve to be highlighted and appreciated? Using white trim of a different trim color can help show off these features in a way that doesn’t distract from the primary exterior paint choice, but still draws attention to aspects that make the home especially appealing and add to its overall character.

Read also – 20 Best Wall Decor Ideas for Your Home

9. Match the existing color

You may not need to pick an entirely new color. Using advanced colour-matching technology, your local speciality paint supplier might be able to match the existing color of your house from a simple paint chip. Perhaps a new coat of paint would actually provide the fresh, revived look that your clients are craving? Or, a new coat of the same paint with some lively, thoughtful accents?

If your client wants to add exterior features like brick or stone facades, then simply keeping the same color might be a wise choice as it will allow the new feature to stand out even more. Or, if a new roof is being installed, there might be an opportunity to slightly adjust the current house color so that it matches an accent color in the new shingles, metal roofing, tiles, or any other material being used.

Read also – How To Choose Materials for Interior Design?

10. Shade and tone

Don’t forget about shade and tone. Just because your client has their heart set on a specific color, you can’t be sure that they understand just how light or dark the shade should be. While lighter colors tend to make a house look bigger, dark color shades are more full, imposing, and constricted.

Even adjusting the shade slightly can make a big difference in the appeal of a specific color choice, and it’s highly recommended to try at least 2-3 different shades before settling on a final version. You and your clients really need to see the house in a variety of lighting scenarios to understand how the shade will change. 

Read also – 10 Ways to Turn Your Home from Toxic to Eco-friendly

Use Foyr Neo to Find the Best Exterior Color for Your Home

Interior design tools like Foyr Neo were specifically created to help amatuers, the DIY crowd, and professionals create the stunning home designs needed to visualize dreams and turn projects into reality.

Using Foyr Neo’s full suite of tools, anyone can quickly create full-home designs that depict the interior and exterior of a house, along with hundreds of detailed additions. The photo-realistic renderings will help you show your client how the project will look, and you can even use sophisticated lighting tools to portray different times of the day.

If you’re ready to tackle a big exterior project, don’t leave the end results to chance. Use Foyr Neo to “wow” your clients, get buy-in faster, and earn referrals for your top-notch work.

You can try Foyr Neo free for 14 days to experience the power of a platform that was made by designers, for designers.

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