Trying to decide what color to paint your house? Whether your home is looking a little worn out or you just want a change, picking an exterior paint color is big decision. Not only should you consider your own personal taste, your neighbors prefer that you chose a color with them in mind too.
Are there laws about what color I can paint my house?
Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) usually have written guidelines called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that dictate the rules and restrictions homeowners in the community must follow. These rules are meant to keep the neighborhood looking nice. If you live in a community with an HOA, make sure to check if there are any bylaws about house color as it may need to be approved prior to painting.
If you don’t have an HOA, and you don’t have to seek approval with a Historical Commission (if you lived in a century home), then there is nothing stopping you from choosing whatever paint colors you like, except good taste.
How do I know which paint colors will look good on my house?
In general, there are three main colors in a home’s exterior paint scheme: main, accent, and trim. The main color is the predominant color, accent colors are usually on shutters or front doors, and trim colors are reserved for window or door casings. When picking exterior paint colors, here are three things to keep in mind.
1. The style of a home can encourage a paint scheme.
Paint can highlight the beautiful design details of your home’s architecture. Depending on the style, your home may look best in soft, muted colors or big and bold.
- Victorian: Pastel colors work well and are period-appropriate. Choosing several different colors will differentiate and highlight the elaborate and ornate details in the design.
- Craftsman: Neutral earth tones with bright accents bring attention to architectural details while providing a warm, welcoming, cozy appearance.
- Midcentury Modern: Neutrals with bold accents and traditional arts and crafts colors complement the abundance of windows and natural light.
- Spanish Colonial: White, off-white, and light cream goes well with the terra cotta roofs, hand painted tiles, ornamental iron work, and graceful archways.
- Cottage: This whimsical, fairytale style home can handle more unusual colors that really bring out the charm.
- Cape Cod: Light and airy neutrals with contrasting window casings look great with the classic lines of these English homes.
2. Paint colors should coordinate with your roof, landscape and hardscapes.
The color of your home should enhance the parts of your property that cannot be easily changed like the roof, driveway or landscaping.
- Roof: What color is your roof? Whether you have dark gray or black shingles, terra cotta or slate tiles, or traditional cedar shakes, your house color can contrast the roof color or blend with it, depending on the affect you want.
- Landscape: If your home is surrounded by a natural flowering landscape, lighter shades can make the colors in your blooming foliage really stand out.
- Hardscape: Consider the stonework in your driveway, walkways, porch, patio, or walls. Try to pick up on the underlying tones to create a cohesive look.
What are the underlying tones in paint color?
Tones are the dull or bright variations of a color. When you add gray to a color it makes the color less intense, thus creating a different tone of that color. For example, some blues have undertones of purple while others have more green. In general, there are warm, cool and neutral tones.
- Warm Tones: Red, orange, yellow
- Cool Tones: Blue, green, purple
- Neutral Tones: Black, white, gray, brown, beige
Using various paint colors with the same underlying tone creates harmony. If you live in a wooded area, earth tones will help your home blend in with the surrounding nature. Beach houses can be bright saturated colors, like turquoise, while Victorians look great in pastels.
3. Paint color can visually alter the appearance of your house.
Certain color combinations can make a house seem larger, smaller, taller or shorter. Paint color can also make your home appear to come forward or fall back. Lighter and brighter homes stand out while darker ones recede.
Can paint color make my house look bigger or smaller?
Yes. If you have a small house, one way to make it seem larger is to use a medium shade of blue for the main color and a crisp white for the trim. Why does this work? The blue makes the home look more substantial while the white brightens it. Another example is a classic white house with black trim.
If you have a large house that sits on a small lot, avoid light colors or your house will look even bigger. If you have a tall house, paint the top a darker color to scale it down.
Does the color of my house affect the resale value?
If you want to sell your home in the future, consider how your paint color may affect the resale value. You may love Flamingo Pink, but how many other people will too? If you want to be bold without scaring off potential buyers, highlight an accent piece, like the front door, or paint window panes, shutters or trim with a contrasting color.
Exterior home colors can welcome people or make them cringe. You may not want to blend in with the neighbors, but there are beautiful color-combinations that help your house stand out in an unobtrusive way. For a free estimate on painting your house, contact Prim Painting today.