Because I live in an older neighborhood with no homeowners association or bylaws, there are no rules and regulations that dictate exterior paint colors. Most of the time, that's a very good thing. Recently, however, our neighbors painted their home a shade of green that ... well, let's just say it's gotten a lot of stares, and not the flattering kind.
Unlike interior colors, exterior hues can affect the entire street — and that puts a lot of pressure on homeowners when it comes to choosing a palette. In addition, a number of factors come into play that you don't have to deal with on the inside of a house:landscaping, hardscaping, roofing and more.
Follow these tips to choose a color scheme that works both for your style and for your home's surroundings.
Plan around the elements that are hardest to change. Unless you're doing a complete renovation, surfaces such as roof shingles or tiles, stonework, pathways and driveways will remain in place. Take these into consideration as you select exterior colors.
Look for undertones between them that might inform your palette. Are they warm (beige,khaki, brown and rust) or cool (gray, blue and black)? Consider paint colors that will tie these fixed elements together in a harmonious way.
Consider your home's architectural style and era.Whether you have a Queen Anne Victorian, a Craftsmanbungalow or a midcentury modern ranch, your exterior paint scheme should feel appropriate to the style. Imagine a classicfederal-style home painted burnt orange, or a New England saltbox in pale mint green. Jarring, right?
Many paint manufacturers offer collections of historically accurate colors, which can be an excellent springboard for your palette, and you can also consult a professional who specializes in this area. You don't have to adhere strictly to historical guidelines unless codes for your home and neighborhood specify otherwise, but for the most pleasing effect, don't stray too far from them.
Think about the visual effect you want. Mull over your home's relationship to the street and the landscape. Does it sit back from the road or amid a cluster of large, towering trees? You might choose a slightly lighter or brighter color so that it stands out. Conversely, a darker hue can make it appear to recede.