Consult local regulations. Homeowner associations and smaller municipalities often set rules dictating what colors can be used on homes in the community. Local ordinances may narrow the choices you have to consider.
Survey your neighborhood to see what others have done. If your home is located in any but a rural location, it will likely be part of a larger cluster of homes. Look for homes like yours that feature especially handsome colors, and take pictures of them.
Collect noteworthy examples of homes pictured in magazines and ads. Computerized color matching-technology means it’s likely that you can match any colors you find in a magazine for exterior paint for your house.
Check on the pros. Real estate brokers put the best looking listings in their advertisements. Check out real estate brochures and newspaper inserts to learn what colors are selling.
Study the colors you can’t change. A slate roof, a brick foundation, or a stone façade all present colors that must complement or at least work well with any exterior paint you pick.
Take cues from history. Period-style homes in particular are often tied to specific colors. If the architecture of your home is associated with a particular movement or time period, research to find the colors associated with that style.
Consider the landscaping, especially if you have abundant flowering bushes and trees. You can emphasize the beauty of a lush landscape or garden by providing a suitably colored backdrop for plantings.
Analyze size and shape. White or light colors can make a home seem larger and the property seem smaller in relation. Darker colors often have the opposite effect.
Account for climate. Light colors, beiges and whites are often in temperate areas, because the colors reflect more sun to keep the house cooler in hot weather. Darker colors absorb and hold more heat, accounting for their popularity in more frigid areas of the country.
Gather paint chips in colors that might work for your home and tastes. Cast a wide net, collecting not only colors you like, but lighter tints and darker shades of those colors. Whenever possible, collect large-format paint chips.
Tape paint chips up on the house and review the chips in varied lighting conditions, including at night. Narrow your choices until you have two to four finalists.
Buy quarts or sample jars of the colors. Paint large test patches on multiple sides of your house. Review these patches in different lighting, and on cloudy and sunny days. Live with the samples for at least a week, but longer if possible.
Order the winning color in the highest quality exterior paint you can afford.
Things You Will Need
- Magazine pictures
- Real estate flyers and advertisements
- Paint chips
- Paint quarts or sample jars
- Underlying surfaces can radically affect the look of exterior paint color. Because of the prolonged exposure to the elements, preparing the surface is crucial to the appearance of exterior paint colors. Take your time, remove all loose paint, and thoroughly prime the surface.