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Add Curb Appeal with Exterior Paint Colors


Q: What are the most common mistakes homeowners make when choosing exterior paint colors?


A: Assuming that a colorful and imaginative color scheme will cost a great deal more for product and labor. Unless the scheme is a “painted lady” with numerous colors, this is rarely the case.


Accenting unattractive elements such as gutters, downspouts, a protruding garage door, air conditioning units, unevenly placed windows, etc.


Ignoring neighboring houses: your color scheme choice should not clash with the neighbor’s house – it’s a lose-lose situation. Choose a scheme that blends with the neighborhood or stands out in a subtle, unobtrusive manner.


Forgetting landscaping. Consider flowering shrubs, flower gardens and trees that change color when selecting colors to ensure compatibility. Heavily wooded lots make colors look darker (due to shade) and may camouflage homes. Greens are not a good choice in this situation.




Q: What opportunities do homeowners commonly miss when selecting and placing colors on their homes’ exteriors?


A: Color makes a first impression and can enhance curb appeal and even resale value. A creative scheme (versus a typical white exterior) could be an opportunity to make that first impression.


Don’t overlook interesting architectural detailing; it can often sparkle with a contrasting or accent color.

Be observant. Drive through various neighborhoods, established and new, to see color in action. Make note of appealing color schemes and consider adapting them to your own home.


Assuming no structural work is needed, color/paint is the most costeffective approach to changing the appearance of a home. Define the entryway by using color as a “Welcome” sign.


Windows are an opportunity: they give character to a house. Outlining them lends crispness to the color scheme.




Q: Are there any rules of thumb about color placement on a home?


A: Consider the colors that can’t change (elements such as brick, slate and stone accents and roofing shingles) and use these elements as color resources because there are numerous shades and hues in most of these building materials. For example, a charcoal gray shingle could have flecks of gray-green or gray-blue that could be found on a paint color strip or incorporated into the color scheme.


Examine color samples outdoors, at various angles and at different times of the day. Consider buying small quantities of desired colors and paint a section of the house where body, trim and accent colors can be viewed together.


Pay attention to geography, specifically the intensity of the sun. Intense sun washes out colors, so brighter colors are suitable in Sunbelt areas but might stand out like a sore thumb in northern locations.



Design Basics' home plan #8509 ~ The Weaver




Design Basics' home plan #2458 ~ The Hartford


Q: Are there any rules of thumb about color placement on a home?


A: If a large home on a small lot is painted white or a light color, the house may seem larger and the lot smaller. Dark colors can make a home look smaller but more substantial.


A safe and effective approach to color placement is to select two tints or shades from the same color strip a few shades apart. Either the lighter or the darker shade could be used for the body and the opposite for the trim. A contrasting accent color could punctuate the door. Lighter colors on a porch will make a home feel more approachable and welcoming.


Height can be scaled down by painting the upper portion of a tall house a deeper tone than the bottom portion (reverse trim color). This is also effective on a small lot or when landscaping is immature. Conversely, a darker color on the lower portion grounds the house to the earth.


White and light colors are good choices for windowsills because they'll reflect the sun's heat and light. Light colors also advance in space; dark colors recede. If a house is placed far away from the curb, painting it a light color will visually bring it forward.

Be judicious with accent colors, but certainly accentuate the positive.


Q: Why are white and light colors so popular?


A: Traditionally, white and light colors were perceived to be safe choices. However, as consumers have gained more confidence with color, and as a broader spectrum of colors has been made available for exterior use, those “traditional”approaches are changing. Today, tinted neutrals that play off landscaping and other building materials are increasingly being used, as are mid-tone values of neutrals.

For more insights on color logon to www.Sherwin.com

Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 12:13 PM

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