How to Pick an Exterior Paint Color Combination

With almost limitless options for paint colors, it can feel overwhelming trying to pick an exterior paint color combination for your home. Color can affect the appearance and curb appeal of your home. Take heart--you already know which colors appeal and which don't. Picking a color combination is merely a matter of taking a systematic approach to evaluating color schemes. To make it easier, many paint companies offer brochures with color combination suggestions based on your home's architectural style.

  1. Take photos of your home from across the street. Seeing your home in a photograph helps you to be more objective and envision more clearly what color combinations might work on your house.

  2. Consider the fixed architectural elements on your home, such as your roof color, brick work or decks. Complementary paint colors accentuate elements while matching colors minimize them.

  3. Choose colors that match your home's architectural style. A classic Colonial style home will look best with a classic color combination, such as a neutral gray or taupe for the main color with shutters and woodwork painted crisp white with deep brown or black accents. Pick more adventurous colors for Victorian style homes, using a combination of colors to pick out different details.

  4. Go to the paint store, and pick as many paint swatches as you like. (They're free.) Ask for brochures with suggested exterior paint color combinations at the store; most paint companies have these available.

  5. Evaluate different color combinations using the paint swatches. For a more conservative and subdued combination, choose different colors from the same swatch such as cream, medium tan and rich brown. To make your house stand out more, select colors that go well together from different swatches.

  6. Buy quarts of each color you have chosen and paint samples directly onto your home. This allows you to get a true idea of what the colors look like because they can often look quite different from the tiny swatch.

  7. Reserve vibrant or bright colors for details such as your front door, house numerals or even mail box.


  • If you belong to a homeowner's association, make sure to follow any color restrictions they may have.