By Megan Wild, Author of Your Wild Home Blog
It’s time to redo the exterior of your home. The place is looking a bit worn, and you’ve seen how a fresh coat of paint and updated colors can transform a structure. You’re considering going bold, maybe it's time to shake things up. Then again, you don’t want to overstep bounds and glaringly stand out either.
You begin to notice the color combinations on other houses. In fact, you’re kind of obsessed. You note a soft sage green home with butter yellow trim and realize that — while you would never have chosen those colors — you love the way they look. You pass a stately white home with long black shutters and consider how that classic combination enlarges the home’s appearance.
The possibilities, honestly, are endless — and you’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry! We’ve compiled several tips to help you choose the siding & shutter color combination that’s right for you and lends the updated look you desire.
First, look at your home objectively and identify its architectural style. Is it a simple, boxy home with clean lines? Or perhaps ornate with lots of decorative detailing?
Plain, uncluttered exteriors look best when painted with a straightforward one-two color combination. Uniformity of color matches the regularity of home construction. More elaborate house styles may call for between 4-6 different colors. In this case, hue interplay is more complicated, but you’ll highlight unique architectural features strikingly.
Next, observe your home critically in the outside light. Does the house stand in full sun much of the day? Are there sections of perpetual shadow? How do you expect bright light or shade might alter the appearance of your color choice?
Do you live in a beach community? Does your home sit on rural land, or in suburbia? Certain color combinations look best depending on the geographic location of your structure. You wouldn’t paint a farmhouse teal, for example, but against the backdrop of water teal perfectly complements a marine palette.
If your home is rural, take color cues from the earth. Bronze-brown, russet red and deep forest green all reflect natural surroundings, and confirm their place in it. Dark colors also tend to make a structure appear smaller. In a rural setting, this leaves more visual space for the beauty of adjacent fields and woodlands.
Suburban home color combinations can go bold, but remember that community feel comes into play. You don’t want to stick out significantly from your neighbors. In fact, some homeowner associations won’t allow it. And if you are thinking about putting your home on the market, you want to stay with colors that appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers.
Consider the history of your home. Do you know there are color charts designated explicitly for historic structures? If your house is old, honor its origin with color combinations unique to the period in which it was built. And if you reside in a historically preserved area, your home’s updates will play an essential role in enhancing the entire district.
Taking all else into account, perhaps the most important consideration is you. This is your home — you will be living in it and looking at it every day. What feelings do you want your house to evoke? Do you want it to be warm and invigorating? Calm and peaceful? Clean and layered, or bold and exciting?
Design based on the color wheel matches emotions with the colors that elicit them. Colors in the red, orange and yellow family give off heat and energy. Blues, greens and purples soothe and cool. Colors on opposite ends of the wheel are complementary — pairing them makes a bold statement. Adjacent shades offer combinations which are more subtle, creating a layered, slightly-shadowed look.
Once you’ve come up with likely color combination candidates, it’s time for a trial run, or two. After all, this is a decision you’ll be living with for a while.
First, print out pictures of your house in broad daylight. Bring those images to the paint store and compare color chips directly. Seeing small-scale combinations right up against the image of your home may narrow your final contenders.
Next, buy tester-size canisters and paint small areas of the house. You’ll probably be surprised to see hues change as the paint dries. You may also note significant color differential in shady spots as opposed to areas with full sun. Most homeowners choose different shades, either lighter or darker, after direct application tests.
Once you’ve finally determined the siding & shutter color combination that’s right for you, you can rest assured knowing it also ties together your home’s unique style, location and history. Now, that’s a good vibe!