your home to make a lasting first impression? Update the exterior paint
color. Paint is an easy way to add instant curb appeal, and if you
choose wisely, exterior color schemes can draw attention to your home’s
best features and minimize flaws.
branch manager of Sherwin Williams in Waukesha, says there aren’t any
hard-and-fast rules for picking exterior paint colors, but did offer
some helpful guidelines for getting started.
the colors you can’t change," he says. Shingles, brick and stone
facing are things that can’t be altered, so your color scheme has to
work with them. "Look for paint shades that match or harmonize with
these elements," Preiss suggests.
are another consideration. You may want your house to stand out, but it
shouldn’t be out of character with the rest of the street. Walk around
your subdivision to see what colors your neighbors have chosen for the
exterior of their homes. "You want to choose a palette that blends
with the neighborhood or stands out in a subtle way," says Mark
Kowald of Hallman Lindsay in Mequon.
If you live in a
subdivision governed by a homeowners association, be sure to check their
guidelines before you paint. The association’s bylaws may stipulate
specific colors you can use.
color schemes are typically made up of three parts — body color, trim
color and accent color. If your home has interesting architectural
details, Kowald suggests adding a second accent color to call attention
to intricate moldings or ornate cornices. "One architectural style
may lend itself better to some colors than others," Kowald says.
When shopping for
exterior paint, pick your body color first. It should either contrast
with the roof color or be a variation of it. Kevin Molloy, store manager
of Metro Paint & Décor in Milwaukee, recommends using a light to
medium shade, particularly if your house has large expanses of siding.
He also suggests buying a few trial quarts and painting a section of
your house, then observing how the colors look at different times of day
before making a final commitment. "Paint is affected by
sunlight," Molloy says.
Trim color is
typically applied to areas like fascias, soffits, window frames and
sashes, door frames and porch railings. To downplay a part of a house
that is flawed, it’s best to paint soffits with your body paint color.
Accent colors are
meant to highlight special features of your house like the entryway or
shutters. "Accent colors are most effective when used
sparingly," Kowald says. For example, a warm, inviting color like
crimson red can make the entrance of a house an attractive focal point.
"Your front door is a great place to add bold color and lend
character to your home," Preiss says.
exterior paint colors, Molloy cautions homeowners against making common
mistakes like accenting unappealing elements such as gutters, downspouts
or the garage door. "Be cautious with accent colors. You want to
accentuate the positive," he says.