Picture Gallery Of Exterior Design Color Schemes

Choosing exterior colors might seem like it would be easier than picking interior colors. But it can be just as hard because there are so many parts to paint -- siding, windows and doors, trim, gutters and downspouts, perhaps some shutters and porch railings.

You might treat some of these elements as accents, and some might need different kinds of paint. Approaching an exterior paint job systematically is the best way to avoid confusion.

First consider the style of your home. If it fits a specific historical style or design, you could make your color selection based on historic colors for the style. You might have to conform to certain standards set by historic guidelines or neighborhood groups.

Next take a look at your neighborhood, especially homes on either side of you. That will reduce your choices somewhat because you may not want the same color as a neighbor's house, and you want a color that won't clash with it either. Other houses on the block may give you some inspiration.

Give some attention to the elements of the exterior and decide what you want to paint and what you don't. You won't paint the roof, of course, but what about the eaves and fascia? The shutters and trim might need paint, along with the doors and windows.

Decide whether you want the house to stand out from or blend into the surroundings. Do you want to downplay the trim or highlight it? Choose the main color for the house first, then pick the accent colors. If you want the gutters to disappear, paint them the same color as the main body of the house. The reverse is usually true for the front door; it should be the focal point of the front of the house.

White will call attention to details and will work well with most styles and other colors. Just like inside, use gloss white on the trim and flat white on the walls. Light colors tend to change with the lighting conditions and help blend various elements together. Midtones add warmth and make good understated accents. Dark shades recede and help the house blend into the background. Choose accent colors that highlight architectural features. Test the colors with a test board or by painting small swatches on the house.

Scale of values

No matter what your color scheme, you'll find that even widely different colors will work well together if they have the same relative value. A value scale can help you make decisions about color schemes.

The scale runs from white to black in ten increments that show different proportions of black. The shades correspond to the relative lightness or darkness of a color. Pure yellow, for instance, is light and has a higher value than pure blue. But you can choose shades of yellow (darker) to match tints of blue (lighter), and everything will work just fine.

Conversely, you can keep the values different when you want to bring in contrasts. Strong greens and blues will often create color clashes, but a pastel of one and dark shade of another will complement each other.


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