I specify lots of exterior colours during the spring and summer each year, but because most of it is done online, I rarely get an after picture. When I do get one, the sun is slanting on the house, which kind of wrecks the shot, or there’s no grass in the yard. . . and I really should just be there to take the picture. Here I will share tips to transform your exterior.
If you do have a good after picture to send me, I would be EVER SO GRATEFUL!!
In the meantime, I thought I would focus this post on assessing exteriors that are not awesome and need a lot of help, or that need just a little tweak to make them so much better.
These are a few that I snapped recently while driving around. They might help you look at your house with a fresh eye and figure out how to fix the colours that bother you.
Too Many Trim Colours
Don’t get too creative with your trim colours. In this house (above) the yellow trim colour (more muted than this one which is slightly too clean) should be the only one.
Trim is Too Dark
Here again, the trim on this house (above) should be either light or dark (this is too many) but in this case I would chose the existing white to paint out the rest of the black windows on this house.
Many of us are looking to freshen up the exterior, so if your trim feels too dark, choosing a lighter colour might be all that’s necessary.
Windows or Trim Too Stark
With an earthy, taupe exterior (above), the windows appear too bright. If you can’t paint your windows because they are vinyl, but they jump out at you visually like this house (above), then your exterior colour needs to be less earthy and more fresh. A colour like SW 7045 Intellectual Gray would work better with the green roof as well.
Two buildings with a similar style. One with trim that should have been cream (left, above) and the other with trim that should have been white, charcoal or black (right, above).
What should the siding colour be? Well, it can’t be grey if that’s what you’re wondering because there are too many colours on this house already.
Making the yellow less clean and more muted will simply clash with the dark pink beige roof and make it look just as dirty as it looks right now. I would paint the siding cream. Unfortunately, if the roof stays on this house along with the orange brick, it will never look right. A new siding colour will not make the pink beige roof go away.
If you have inherited a house with clashing fixed elements, sometimes paint can’t give you enough magic to fix it.
Don’t Choose Grey Because it’s Safe—Choose it Because it’s Right
See the mid-tone grey on this building? If you were driving around looking for a grey to paint your house, you would eliminate this grey because it looks dirty and bad on an apartment building with not a lot of interesting architectural detail.
Notice that the extra painted borders on this building just look dirty. Because there is not enough contrast. That’s why trim is white or cream, NOT a lighter shade of the exterior colour.
This is where a colour is necessary. A neutral on a sad house or apartment is not SAFE at all, it’s just MEH.
Context is Everything
A very similar grey (this one is BM Amherst Grey) is just lovely on this house with lots of pretty white trim. If you saw this house while looking for a colour, you might snap it up!
Choose Colour For a House Without Trim or Architectural Interest
This blue house, believe it or not, stuck out on this street because the rest of the houses were so neutral. In this case, I would have chosen a more muted blue, but either way, colour brings a house without any trim or any architectural interest to life.
Addressing the Clean/Dirty Problem with Colours
The forest green on this house (above) feels dated. A lighter, fresher green on this exterior would have been perfect, along with white trim.
Consider Your Neighbours’ Colours When Choosing Yours!
Do consider the colour of your neighbours’ house when choosing yours. The first thing I do when I arrive to specify colour for a house with neighbours this close is walk up and match their colours. They are suddenly part of your colour scheme if you want to up your curb appeal!
Consider a Colour for Your Trim—NOT Just Grey or Black
This building does not have great architectural detail, so it just needs a more interesting accent colour (like eggplant) for the railings that is not grey, brown, or black.
When I was a new colour consultant, I would look at a bleak-looking building (above) and wish that I could see all the possible colours it could be, in my head, in an instant.
Well, now that is what happens with everything I look at! I’m choosing colours every day when I drive by buildings just like the yellow/green apartment building (above) with bad pink railings and a pink beige accent strip running along the siding to define each floor.
Want to learn how to do what I do? Wish you could pick exterior colours for your own home (or your clients’ homes) with confidence? My training webinar is 60 minutes and you’ll be able to watch it over and over again as long as you need it. As you know, just like all my other work, you won’t find this kind of training anywhere else.
BONUS: You’ll get my list of go-to exterior colours divided by undertones just like the list in my eBook.
Once you buy it, you’ll have it for life, along with my list of go-to colours.
If you would like help creating a beautiful and classic exterior, we have exterior consultation packages available here.
After all, if you get your exterior colours wrong, you can’t hide your house from your neighbours!