Have you ever had to choose exterior paint colors for your home?
The rental property we remodeled was going so well that I jinxed myself by thinking everything was just going to fall into place!
Then came the exterior paint color selection process…I wanted to pull my hair out on this project which came as a shock because of my love for color and my sense of security in choosing interior colors made me believe that exterior color choices would be just as simple. Ya…not so much!
I quickly learned that exterior color palettes are a completely different ball game. The design elements such as roofing color, landscaping stones, paver colors, and neighborhood color schemes all come into play making the choice that much harder.
Since the house is an older style ranch home I knew that it was best to stick with the older muted colors which have more brown to them. Current modern colors can often appear too bright on a home of this style.
Mr B did bring home color choices from a house at he was working on at one point, I loved them, and then he wasn’t able to find the color names in his files by the time we were ready to paint. I just had to laugh…because what else is to be done when you’re losing your mind?!
Here are the design elements I had to work with:
- Roof color: Terra-Cotta Brown
- Neighborhood Houses: Earth Tones
- Pavers: Shades of red, yellow creme, and a blue gray
- House Style: Ranch with a very heavy roof line
- Landscaping: Simple southern California style succulents & fruit trees
- Architectural Details: Pergolas on the front & back of the house
- None of the more modern shades of gray worked with the color of the roof.
- Then I tried the green family which is a common house color in the neighborhood but the house was going to look like a Christmas tree with the roof–which is just a no!
- On to the cream/beige color family! I came home with samples that so closely resembled the current house color you almost couldn’t tell a difference. The whole point of painting the exterior was to give it a more modern feel so those were out.
- White family wasn’t going to work for multiple reasons; one of them being that the Anderson doors and windows have an off-white frame on the outside which would look murky next to the wrong shade of white. The second reason is the ranch style doesn’t have details that allow the white to be broken up with accent colors like shutters, second level, arched door ways, ext.
The final resolution was to find the perfect mix of gray/green that wasn’t too brown, or green (remember NO Christmas tree)! Have you looked at a color book for the different shades of green lately? There are hundreds of options and having already purchased about 50 samples I was growing weary of choosing a color.
At one point the entire house had paint swatches on it which was fine with me but our neighbors may have felt differently. It sits down at the bottom of the driveway hill and most of what you see from the street entrance is the roof to that made it a bit easier for me to take the time finding the right color. If your not lucky enough to have a front that is hidden from the neighborhood try and find a spot on the back or side of the house that won’t stick out like a sore thumb to a passerby but still gets full sun at some point in the day so that you can look at it during different times of the day.
Here is an example of how different lighting can change the look of a color. This photo is after the house was completely painted taken in the middle of the afternoon, both sides of the fireplace are the same exact color but look very different:
Same Color: Different lighting
Color swatches prior to painting:
Creams, Grays, and Greens Swatches on Entrance Side
Swatches on Back Side
Front entrance color swatches
I tried to match the colors Mr. B had brought home months prior but couldn’t get it quite right. There were 2 colors that stood out amongst the rest but they still had a few issues:
- Color 1: Came off too cold & threatened the dreaded Christmas vibe.
- Color 2: Was much too warm and deep for my liking (it looked solid brown).
(1) Bottom Left: To Deep/Dark (2)Right of Window: Too Cool
So, in true crazy girl fashion I decided to have them mixed together at the paint store. At this point your probably all thinking “but you had ALL those samples and you couldn’t pick a pre-made color?”- Nope, I can be difficult like that sometimes. The crazy thing is that it worked! The warmer shade was meant to be the main focus of the color while the cooler shade lightened it up a bit and kept the house from looking too deep and dark. I had the colors mixed at 65/35 percentages and the result was just right!
During the Painting Process
For the trim color I knew we needed to brighten the white frames of the Anderson doors and windows so a the natural choice was a light gray with green undertone. It doesn’t contrast with the house too drastically while whitening the existing door & window frames nicely. You can see the contrast in the before & after photos below.
The painting crew completed the exterior while I was home visiting family in Iowa so my anxiety about the final result was building until I could see it in person. Mr. B sent me photos of the process of course and I panicked a few times thinking it was going to be too dark or green but once home I fell in love with the final result. The color is a green with a lot of brown base undertones but overall feels more modern and updated from the previous color…what do you think?
Before & After Photos: