Whether you’re bored with the way your house looks from the outside or you want to make it attractive to potential buyers, painting the exterior walls is a great way to breathe new life into any dwelling. But how do you even start such a big project? Do you just paint it the same shade it already was, just to freshen it up? To answer that question and more, we’ll have to learn how to choose an exterior house paint color.

When You Need It Done Quickly

One of the simplest ways to choose an exterior color for a house is to look at the other homes in the area. When we’re looking to sell a house, our first instinct is to make it stand out. However, there are ways to do that without clashing with the rest of the neighborhood. In fact, we could even say that no one would want to purchase an obvious eyesore.

We recommend keeping the hue of exterior walls in the same color family as those on either side of the house, at least. That doesn’t mean that we have to match the rest of the neighborhood exactly. But if the house next door is a warm, medium tan color, we should stay in the brownish shade range. Alternatively, we can opt for a similar tone in another shade by, for example, painting the house an olive color.

If we decide that we want to distinguish the house from the surrounding buildings, we can do so by painting the trim or wooden elements like doors and window shutters into an accent color. The color should ideally match other items in the yard to maintain a semblance of architectural intent.

Consider the Architecture of Your Home

We need to consider the architectural style and immediate surroundings of the home in question. The driveway, garage door, and landscaping can play a significant role in choosing the exterior color of a house.

If the only thing we’re altering is the color of the exterior walls, we need to take into account the elements we’re not changing. So we would look at the color of the trim, roofing materials, metal rails, and gutters. What’s more, we should also consider any stone and tile elements before deciding on a shade for the walls.

We’d have to identify the tone of the dominant color around the walls. If we’re matching to a stone accent wall, we have to figure out whether the material has warm or cold undertones to begin with. Only then can we start choosing the exterior paint color.

Let the Color Wheel Guide You

When we know the undertone of the fixed architectural elements, we can easily find a good shade for exterior walls. On the one hand, we can choose a complementary color for the walls. First, we’d find the color of the fixed elements on a color wheel. Then, we’d just pick the color on the opposite side of the wheel.

If the stone wall is bluish-gray, the walls can be a similarly soft orange shade. Another way to do that would be to use the two colors that surround the complementary shade on the color wheel — creating a split-complementary palette.

We could use an analogous color for the walls. To do that, we’d have to find the undertone of our fixed elements on the color wheel and look for the shades directly next to it. So if the stone is cool-toned, we can paint the house a lilac or turquoise shade. Lastly, we could simply use a monochromatic palette, choosing a darker or lighter version of the hue we found in the surrounding elements.

Play Against Expectations

What if you don’t want to match the rest of your neighborhood or play according to the rules for the architectural style of your home? Don’t worry, there are ways to make a house stand out without losing its curb appeal.

We’ve all seen pictures of sky blue, baby pink, yellow, and even rainbow-colored houses. Surprisingly, some of those dwellings look good enough to want to copy. But once again, it will all depend on how well we can incorporate the change into the surroundings. If we want to have a pink house, we might have to change the trim, shutters, and door colors too.

We wouldn’t recommend painting a house a striking color without getting the neighbors’ approval. Remember, some residential communities have strict guidelines for the exterior appearance of homes. While disregarding those rules may not be illegal, it may annoy your neighbors.

Ignore the Trends

When it comes to choosing an exterior house paint color, it’s best to avoid trendy shades. After all, most people don’t paint the exterior walls all that often. So whichever color you choose will probably be there for at least a decade or two. With that in mind, it’s best to avoid anything too drastic unless you have the funds to repaint the house down the line.

Get Some Paint Samples!

If we can leave you with one tip, let it be this one — always do some swatches before ordering the full amount of paint you’ll need! Once you narrow down your options to only three or four shades, get some samples. Those should help you figure out which color will look the best with the elements you won’t be painting.

You could either paint patches directly on the walls or use a paint sample board. If you choose to deposit the color on the walls right away, you’ll need to do so on at least two sides of the house. If you have a board with the samples, take it around the house to determine how the lighting will affect the final result.

All you’ll need is some time to consider your options. After sitting with the shades for a day or two, you’ll definitely make the right decision for your home!