“Trust your eyes.”

That’s the advice one color consultant gives to homeowners who are overwhelmed when debating what colors to choose for exterior house paint.Whittle down options before choosing exterior house-paint colors

But before reaching that final stage in the decision-making process, homeowners should identify undertones found in their home’s elements that will remain unchanged after the paint project is completed. Those considerations include undertones such as grays, beiges and blues that may be present in a home’s walkways, roofs, driveways and patios. These undertones should complement whatever color choices are made for the house itself.

With undertones in mind, it’s time to check the color palettes offered by paint manufacturers. That may mean searching online or going to specialty paint stores or paint departments of hardware and big box stores to get an idea of what colors are trending that would complement the undertones. Then, put on your “rose-colored glasses” and see what combinations catch your eye.

When making decisions regarding colors, it is important to consider the architectural style of your home. For example, most paint manufacturers have a special palette they suggest for a historic craftsman, Victorian or other vintage style home.

During the decision-making process, it is also important to consider your home’s surroundings. If is it located in a grove of trees, a lighter color may be the best way to make your home contrast with the darker elements. Also, consider which colors might blend best with the streetscape and landscaping features of your home’s setting.

A rule of thumb is to choose at least three colors for the home’s color palette. The “field color” is the paint color that dominates the home’s architecture—the siding or other major exterior surfaces. Choose contrasting accent colors for shutters, doors, and other architectural features.

The third element in color selection for home exteriors is the trim. It defines and showcases features such as window and door casings, railings, and roof edgings.

While paint chips can give homeowners an indication of how the final choices will look on the home, don’t stop there. It is important to buy a quart of the “field color” you’ve selected and brush it on an inconspicuous area of your home. Before making a decision, see how this color looks in all different types of lighting after it dries.

When you have followed all the steps in the decision-making process, you will have taken into account all the color elements that need to work together to maximize your home’s curb appeal. If you’ve chosen high-quality exterior paint, the new paint job should last a decade or more. And, your sense of pride and satisfaction in your home’s new colors palette will endure along with the paint itself.

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