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Are You Tired of Struggling with Paint Color Choices?

Taking a walk through the Portland, OR, city neighborhoods I found this example of  color choice confusion. ©CristinaAcosa

Have you ever found the perfect house paint color only to put it on the wall and discover that it isn’t so perfect after all? Then, you try again, and again . . . until maybe you just stop trying.  Choosing exterior paint colors can be especially scary. Your process and progress is there for all the world to see. Not only do you have to decide what you think about each color choice, well-meaning neighbors may feel compelled to offer their opinions and suggestions. It can be  nightmare.

So how does a person pick exterior paint colors? There are a variety of color solutions to this question ranging from the custom to  off-the-rack choices. As a color consultant, when I work with a client to choose colors, the process is completely custom. Together we build a color palette that works with their personality, architecture, environmental setting and possibly the local neighborhood association.

If you don’t have access to a color consultant or color coach of some type don’t despair. Most paint lines market groupings of exterior paint colors specifically to homeowners. If you are completely without an idea of what you want, studying color sample groupings is a good place to start the color choosing process.  You can find these samples colors at any paint store or building materials store. The paint store employees can usually send you home with samples.

If you aren’t shy, check out a paint color fan deck from a paint store and start cruising neighborhoods looking for color schemes that appeal to you. When you find colors you like, stay in your car and find an approximate match. In my quest for a perfect color I have been caught red-handed with a color fan deck against a garage wall by surprised homeowners. I wouldn’t recommend that method. I’ve surprised more than one sleeping dog!

Here are a few exterior paint color choice tips:

  • Pick three to four colors for your house: The Body color (main color). The trim color (around doors and windows). A fascia color (the fascia is the board that edges the roof).  And a door color.
  • Paint the garage doors the body color of the house (unless they are natural wood) so that they don’t stand out and compete with your front door as a focal point.
  • Use good quality paint that has built in  UV protection.
  • If you paint your house yourself, ask the paint store employees for a few application tips, you’ll almost always learn something useful.