I realized this weekend that I am way overdue on writing this post for the exterior season! The first post I wrote on trim colours, The Best Trim Colours - NOT Cloud White is the second most popular post on this blog next to White Kitchen Cabinets. The reason for the 'NOT Cloud White' headline is a lot of people rely too heavily on go-to colours without first considering the important aspects of why you would choose a white-or-any-other-colour trim. And they are as follows:
The first thing you need to consider when picking a white for your trim is the 'fixed white' on the house already. These days a lot of people are specifying and installing white vinyl windows and although custom colours are always available, the standard 2 colours in trim seem to be CC-20 Decorator White or HC-81 Manchester Tan (a greeny beige).
If your vinyl windows are already white, it may look better to repeat the white on the fascia and columns of the house (shown in above image). Otherwise it could scream - vinyl windows! Better to choose the colours with the windows in mind.
The exception to this is if the colours on your exterior are earthy and muddy, white will not look the best with those tones. Better to then ignore the white vinyl and choose a creamier/or darker-than-the-house colour for your trim.
The other fixed element to consider are the gutters in determining the trim colour. They can be painted; however it's better if they are already a colour you can work with, since obviously painted gutters (which I would still definitely paint if they were a bad colour) will eventually chip. A tip about gutters, never paint plastic ones black, they will warp with the heat from the sun!
And, I would never use white trim with a cold blue gray on a house. Okay, I admit I have shown a cute example here, with the shingles it does work, but this colour on a regular, boring box with white trim, way too cold!
Anytime I see a house that looks like it was painted that 'pre-mixed' gray I get the urge to knock on the door of the home owner and give them a colour like HC-36 to bring the house back to life!
And remember when you are viewing whites you must compare them to the whitest white in the deck (as described here) or you cannot see them. Some whites I like are OC-125 Moonlight White, OC-65 Chantilly Lace, Cloud white is fine here in this category, in addition to OC-117 Simply White.
Sometimes people just pick the lightest colour on the chip (or a lighter colour) for the trim colour, as was selected here. This body colour is HC-94;
Here (above) there is not enough contrast and is a perfect example of what I talked about in my Interior Trim post, when you don't go light enough, the trim just ends up looking dirty.
Traditional English Tudor trim (seen above) is brown or black with white stucco. Here a non-traditional 'green gray' has been used instead of white. A lot of people here in the West Coast are opting to switch out the dark for a lighter shade as in the image below where the trim has been painted a greenish gray tone.
In the image above all the green in the landscaping was taken into consideration with the green colour that was chosen for the tudor trim with the stucco in the goldream or beige trim look the best with earthier shades although there are always exceptions, it's hard to cover every possible colour in one post. Since the brown trend is still going strong if that's the colour you are going for on the body of the building, a great trim colour that looks like a marshmallow you can just bite into is HC-174 Lancaster Whitewash.
How about Black trim? If you have a house with small windows, you might want to consider a different colour because the windows are like the 'eyes' of a house (which already look black in general when viewing from the street) painting the trim black could make them look even smaller. The black windows certainly look fabulous in this house designed by Bruce Wilson;
If you would like to schedule an on-line Exterior Colour consultation please email me at email@example.com.