Choosing Exterior House Paint Colors

Choosing Exterior House Paint Colors

So the exterior of your home is calling out for some loving huh? Well, then it’s time to get to work on picking the perfect shades to make your home feel fabulous again.  Let us help you out a little by providing some time-tested advice on where to get started on your search for your perfect color.

exterior painting

We do get many homeowners asking for recommendations on colors or for us to provide feedback on their color choices, but we have to admit, we see thousands of color choices throughout the year and we love them all.  It’s always fun to see how changes in colors can bring homes to life. So rather than tell you what color to choose, we’ll provide some ides of things to think about when choosing your colors.

When first thinking about your paint colors, some major things to consider include:

  1. Do you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association? If so, they likely have some specific rules you must follow in regards to painting your home. Check with them first before going any further. They may have specific colors you have to choose from or they may have to approve your color choices.

  2. You will likely need 2 and possibly 3 colors. A primary body (wall) color, a trim color for soffit, fascia and gutters (if applicable), and possibly a third accent color for the front door or other areas that you want to accent.

  3. Look around your neighborhood. Avoid using the exact shades as your close neighbors, but instead look for colors that compliment and coordinate with your neighborhood. This curb appeal trick can have long-term benefits for both you and your neighbors.

  4. Look through online picture sites like Pinterest and Houzz, and flip through magazines and pay attention to the colors and combinations that catch your eye the most.

  5. Plan around elements of your home that are hard to change. Do you need to pick colors that will coordinate well with your roof or driveway, etc.?

  6. Look at your primary interior color choices. Those can often make great exterior choices, perhaps in toned down shades if your interior tends towards brighter colors.

  7. Think about your homes architecture and defining features. Think about colors that go with the architectural time period or think about using accent colors to set off interesting features on your home.

Now that you’ve come up with some general thoughts on colors, it’s time to gather paint chips from your local store.  Two of our favorites that are widely available are Sherwin Williams and Behr (available in Home Depot). Some things to keep in mind in this step:

  1. Keep in mind that in this day and age, paint colors can be mixed in pretty much any brand, so don’t worry too much if you find the color that you want in Behr, but end up using Sherwin Williams paint.

  2. The stores have paint chips of virtually all of their standard colors. Gather all the chips that you like and take them home to review them in your own space.

  3. Look at the colors in both shade and sunlight.

  4. Start to narrow down the colors to your favorite few.

  5. Once you have your favorites narrowed down, we HIGHLY recommend that you purchase small samples of your colors and actually apply them to a small area on your exterior. People are often shocked at how different a color looks on their wall versus the paint swatch. Painting your home is a big project! It’s worth taking the time to make sure you’re happy with your color choice.


exterior painting
  • In general, light colors make your house look larger and dark colors can make it seem smaller.

  • There are some very light colors that paint brands do not like to do in exterior paint as it will fade much too quickly. Check the paint swatch for any verbiage that indicates “Interior Only” or “Not for Exterior”.

  • Be careful when choosing wall and trim colors that are close in hue. They often blend together when painted on a house. It’s recommended that you if you choose a light house color, you consider choosing a dark trim color and vice versa.

  • We can talk more about sheen in a future installment, but note that “Satin” is our recommended sheen for exterior. Most people expect their outside paint to last up to 10 years. The flatter the sheen you choose, the less washable and durable it will be.

  • Here in St. Petersburg, Florida, one of our biggest challenged is chalking. Chalking will prematurely age your home and make your paint look faded. To avoid this, Premier Painting and Coating uses a conditioner/sealer product prior to painting.