Choosing Exterior Paint Color

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This article has been taken from “The Perfectly Painted House A Foolproof Guide for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors” by “Bonnie Rosser Krims”. Choosing Exterior Paint Color should be ones you love coming home to day after day. “House Painters in Washington DC” helps you in taking this vital decision.

General Color

Choose one or two color sections from this book to focus on based on your personal color preferences.  I chose the yellow and white sections because my house is in the colonial style and for years I have admired traditional white and yellow colonials.  I wanted a color to reflect light and look bright.  Also, I felt that the colors of my landscape (lots of pink, white, blue, and red blossoms) and my fixed fixtures (a red brick walk) would stand out against a white or yellow backdrop.

Choosing Exterior Paint Color
Choosing Exterior Paint Color

Now stand outside and imagine one of the colors you selected on your house.  In my case, that was white.  How will it look with your fixed features, the colors of your shrubs, flowers, and so on?  How will it look on your specific lot?  Will it make the house stand out or blend in?  How will the color look next to the homes abutting it (if they are close to your house)?  Will the color work on the style of your home?  Evaluate this color.  Once you are satisfied that you have fully imagined it on the house, go through the same exercise using your second possible color.

Specific Color

Narrow your choice to just one color section using step 1.  In my case, I realized that a big white house would be a little too prominent on our small corner lot.  The house was formerly a pale beige-brown.  White was too striking a contrast.  Yellow, on the other hand, was still bright and pleasant but would not overpower the house or the lot.  Yellow added interest and color but was less a contrast with the landscape than white.  Make these determinations for your house, and narrow your focus to just one color section.


Now that you know the color you will be evaluating on your house (in my case, yellow), look over all the recipes in that color section.  You will see five or more houses, each painted in a variation of that color.  Choose one or two of your favorite recipes from the section.  Let the style of your house and the style of the houses pictured help you.  Write down the paint color numbers of your favorite(s).  You will test the colors you choose before painting the entire house.  Often, the final colors are determined using a process of elimination at the testing stage.  Pick what you think is your best choice, and take your color cues for the door and additional decorative elements form suggestions in the recipe and other houses you have observed.  Don’t finalize any of your trim or accompanying colors until you test your main color.

Choosing Exterior Paint Color
Choosing Exterior Paint Color

Testing the Paint Color(S)

View the colors all together on your house.  For each color you are testing, buy a quart of paint, a stir stick, and a disposable foam bush.  You should also purchase a drop cloth or lay down newspaper to catch drips and spills.  Sample each color directly on the house.  You don’t need to paint a large area-just enough to determine if you like the colors, about 2 feet by 2 feet (.6 m by .6 m).  If you like a color, test it again over a larger area-about 5 feet by 5 feet (1.5 m by 1.5 m).  Test the colors on doors and trim also.  You don’t need to paint the whole door.  Paint just enough of it to determine whether the color suits you and whether the color works well with the house body color.  I cannot emphasize the importance of testing colors directly on house enough.  This is the only way to assess how they will actually look.  Testing colors on a board or poster board is inadequate.  Believe me, I am speaking from experience.

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