How to Choose Exterior Paint Colors
Do you know how overwhelming it can be to choose exterior paint colors?
Mr. B. and I recently had our house painted. I can’t call this a DIY project because we hired a crew of painters to do it.
Our biggest responsibility was to choose colors.
First of all, we decided to use Sherwin-Williams paint because we’ve had experience with it previously and know it to be a good product. Also, our paint contractor deals with the local Sherwin-Williams store, and it is his preference, too.
Next, we went through 4 steps to narrow our choices and make decisions.
- Look at exterior paint color cards.
- Peruse colors and color families on the Sherwin-Williams website and select some favorites.
- “Paint” virtual houses online with various combinations of favorite colors.
- Get samples of our favorite colors from the local Sherwin-Williams store and paint swatches on our house.
In the past, we have chosen paint colors by looking at color “cards”. Our paint contractor provided cards with thousands of color choices. We looked through these to get ideas.
But, the online experience is so much better!
Peruse Colors and Color Families Online
At Sherwin-Williams.com, we started our search on a page where we could “Explore All Paint Colors.” These are the same colors as those on the cards provided by our paint contractor, but the online perusal method is quicker and more convenient.
We found that by mousing over and clicking on any color choice, we could view a pop-up of that color with it’s corresponding name and catalog number, as well as closely related color shades.
Sherwin-Williams online features several tools, such as a “Color Inspiration” section where you can view images of houses painted with combinations of complementary colors.
They partner with Pottery Barn, West Elm, and HGTV to show complementary color palettes.
“Paint” Your Virtual House
Mr. B. and I sat in front of the computer and virtually “painted” a house with many, many combinations of colors.
We knew that we would keep the trim white and that we wanted to find two contrasting colors for the cedar siding and shutters.
After virtually painting lots of color combinations, we settled on Coastal Plain for the siding and Classic Yellow for the shutters and front door. (The virtual house above shows a white garage door, but we painted our garage door in Coastal Plain to match our siding).
Paint Color Swatches on Your House
I did not take any pictures of this step, so please use your imaginations.
After we narrowed our choices to 3 colors for the siding and 3 colors for the shutters and front door, Mr. B. went to the Sherwin-Williams store and bought a small sample of each color.
Our paint contractor painted swatches of our color choices on our house in several locations.
This was an important step because the “real” paint on the house looked different from how it looked on the color cards and online. Coastal Plain was especially different. On the cards and online, it looks like greenish-gray (or, grayish-green). But, the real paint on the house is much more decidedly green.
We looked at the color swatches painted on the house in different lighting and from different angles. This is how we arrived at our final decision.
The Finished Paint Job
Having a house painted is a major financial investment (which makes me very nervous). One of the reasons that we had the work done instead of doing it ourselves is that carpenters working with the painters did numerous repairs on siding and trim as the work progressed.
If you look very closely at the “before” picture above, you can see wood rot at the bottom of some of the cedar siding planks. Our carpenters removed and replaced all pieces of siding or trim that showed any evidence of rot.
Here are some photos of the finished paint job.
Okay, y’all, don’t look too closely at the foundation shrubbery or the front yard’s lack-of-lawn. Those projects are on our to-do list.
We cut the foundation shrubs waayyy back to allow the painters to do their work. The shrubs were old and wood-y and overgrown (although I’ve been trimming them every year). Mr. B. cut them back to about 18 inches. If they don’t fill out, we’ll have them removed and replaced with new shrubbery.
Then, there’s the lack-of-lawn situation. Mr. B. is working on that, too. We’re hoping to avoid the expense of totally re-sodding the yard.
Anyone out there with suggestions for keeping a lawn alive in hot coastal Georgia? (We have St. Augustine grass, and it’s not doing well).
Let me Know What You Think!
Have you had experiences with choosing exterior paint colors or working with paint contractors?
I’d love to hear from you.
Enjoy Life Creatively!