3 Tips for Picking Exterior Paint Colors | Our New House Colors

With the majority of home design choices I typically know what I want and am fairly confident and quick in my decision-making. But color-picking is more difficult for me and I find myself agonizing for days over various shades, whether I am choosing a wall color, color for a piece of furniture, house exterior color, baseboard trim color, etc. We painted our house this summer and I’m happy to say it took less than a week for me to decide on colors. (!!!) Here’s a shot of our front door, where you can see a little bit of everything–the body color, the trim color, and our front door color.

House Exterior Paint colors. Yellow door and blue-grey body

I’m hardly one to give advice on color picking, because, as I’ve mentioned, my methods don’t usually narrow it down enough to make a quick decision. In fact, these tips will give you more to think about which might make your color-picking process take a bit longer.  But hopefully that means it will be a more well-thought out decision and you’ll be happy with the result. Here are my general tips for choosing a paint color for your home’s exterior:

Choosing House Colors:

1. Surrounding Elements

Make sure the color works well with the surrounding elements. You’ll want the colors you pick to work well with the colors that are already on your home–roof color, masonry accents, light fixtures (assuming you’re keeping them), etc.

2. Sheen

Pay attention to sheen!  When we painted our first house I didn’t think about it and went with satin, which is what the guy behind the counter suggested. About a year later I noticed that the house exterior paint jobs I liked the most all had one thing in common–flat paint.  I’m not saying a particular sheen is better than another, but drive around and look at houses and figure out which one you prefer; don’t choose it just because the guy behind the counter recommends it

(FYI: in general the “shinier” the paint, the easier it is to keep clean, or at least that’s what the people at the paint stores said.  I had a few paint people warn me that a flat paint would show dirt and grime and be difficult to clean, but it’s been four months and so far, so good.  I’ll let you know if that changes.)

3. Make your Decision in the right light

See the color in the right light! When choosing a color you will undoubtedly be looking at lots of paper swatches. In the store.  Under florescent lights!  Be sure to bring those samples OUTSIDE and look at them in OUTDOOR LIGHT, as indoor light is a different temperature and changes the appearance of color.

Once you’ve narrowed it down, buy a few samples and paint those onto your house.  If you can, paint it onto a few different sides.  The north side of our house is always shady and the paint on that side of the home looks quite different there than it does on the sunny south side.  Check out the colors throughout the day too, it will look different when the morning sun is shining on it than it will at midday.

So there you have it.  What tips do you have when choosing a house color(s)?

And . . . in case you’re interested, the colors we chose (in the photo above) were:

Main Body: Behr, Whale Gray

Trim: Behr, Coastal Beige

Door: Behr, Golden Anniversary

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