Picking Exterior Paint Colours

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Changing the exterior colour of your house can make a huge impact for a relatively small investment (I mean it's not a negligible investment but it's certainly cheaper than renovating. We've been slowly working over here on my mission to "remove the blue" from the house and while it's a slow process - we've painted the shutters and the weird decorative brick on the side of the house and removed the awning over the door to nowhere - it's already made a real difference. I just have to test out some door paint colours, finish some landscaping work and fix our concrete steps and I should be able to show you photos (so by the end of summer). Instead I thought I'd show you a project I worked on helping pick out new exterior house colours. Here is what the client wrote me:

As you can see we have a pretty standard cookie cutter pop-up subdivision house. I know it's not our forever home so while I don't want to put piles of money into it, I do want to try to like it as much as possible while living in it. And the exterior colours don't help with that! We are looking to paint the window box, garage doors, pillars (on porch) and front door. As far as colour...no idea. I don't even know what goes with that colour of brick! What IS that colour of brick? Pink? Peach? Salmon??




I completely agree with the client's statement that it's not her forever home but that she still wants it to look nice for right now. It can also never hurt with curb appeal when you do go to sell and find your 'forever home' to have a beautiful exterior.

That rusty red was not doing the brick any favours by making it look pinker than it was and the grey roof didn't relate to the brick colour either. Exterior colour schemes I prefer tend to harmonise the entire house. I'm not a fan of drawing attention to garage doors or trim work. I do love a vibrant door as a focal point but no one should be highlighting their garage door.  I found some inspiration while in Chicago when I saw a home with almost the same colour brick on the Frank Lloyd Wright tour.



The putty and grey-green colour instantly neutralises and compliments the tones in the brick. Suddenly, you don't have a salmon-pink coloured brick but more of a warm tan. With that in mind, here were three options I provided. (Since the homeowner was planing on just patching the damaged part of the roof at this point and replacing it completely in a few years I offered several options including a transition).

Option 1: Keep the grey roof and paint the garage doors a matching grey to tie the two areas together. The main issue now is that there a lot of discord between the roof, brick and garage doors. The window box panels could also be painted the same grey. I would suggest all the trim work and the porch beams be painted the same white as the current porch railings. For interest you can paint the door a fun colour. A deep navy is a good neutralizer to the pinkish brick.

Option 2: This is the option where the roof colour is changed. This is also my favorite option because it neutralizes the pink in the brick (you can see the house almost looks tan compared to the before). This would involve a new roof in a colour that compliments the brick, painting the garage, window box panels and pediment (triangle above the porch) a light putty colour and painting all the trim and porch railings a light forest green.


Option 3: I gave this option as work-in-progress towards one day replacing the roof. You can visualize what the same colours in Option 2 would look like with the current grey roof. This could be step one of a longer process.


Obviously Option 2 is my favourite but I still think Option 3 is a great improvement. You can enjoy your home while working towards completing it in the future. What are your thoughts on picking exterior colours? Do you agree that a the home should be in complimentary tones or do you love a contrast? If you need any help picking colours and visualizing what they'd look like send me an email



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