Unlike interior painting, where monochromatic (one-color) paint schemes are commonplace, exterior painting is typically most interesting when it involves several colors.
Why the difference between interior and exterior painting?
For one thing, interior wall colors get a visual assist from home furnishings. The furniture, fabric, artwork, and bric-a-brac that are present in a room satisfy the eye’s need for color variety. A solitary color looks perfectly natural playing second fiddle to this symphony of hues.
Another reason a single paint color can carry the day indoors: The space involved is – relatively speaking – small, at least when compared to a home’s exterior. The eye can’t possibly tire of a color that makes such a limited appearance.
By way of contrast, exterior paint colors are applied to very large wall surfaces. A home painted in a single color would look. . .well, boring, without the accompaniment of one or more additional colors.
When painting the outside of their home, most homeowners instinctively recognize the need to create an exterior color scheme using multiple paint colors. Commonly, they will choose at least three or four paint colors – one for the siding or wall surface, a contrasting color for the trim, and an additional color or two for smaller architectural features such as shutters and doors (the front door often having its own unique color treatment).
Owners of Victorian homes, or other highly ornate houses, may choose color schemes that employ even more colors. Up to six colors or more can sometimes be seen on these homes. And they are often used to good effect to highlight architectural details that might otherwise escape our attention.
Of course, the more complex the color scheme, the more artistic talent it can take to pull together an aesthetically-pleasing look. But there are ways to simplify the process.
The easiest, most risk-free, way to choose an exterior color scheme is simply to mimic the look of homes that you find attractive. To do that, you can look around your own neighborhood or drive through nearby communities where the style of houses resembles your own home.
There are also many excellent books on home painting that can steer you in the right direction. These are often written by color experts who can offer valuable advice on color schemes. What’s more, some of the books include images of attractively-painted homes that can serve as templates for your own home painting.
Free literature provided by paint companies can be a great source of inspiration. Visit your local paint retailer or decorating center and you’ll likely find some terrific guides on color schemes. Many paint companies pay top dollar to colorists who pick out palettes that are visually pleasing. Why not take advantage of this resource?
If you’re using a contractor to do your painting, you might ask for his or her opinion, particularly if you are confident of your contractor’s color sense. Other than you, who has more at stake in the final appearance of the job?
For the vast majority of homeowners, following all, or even a few, of these suggestions should provide more than enough help when selecting an exterior color scheme. But if you are the owner of a Victorian home who wants to employ a highly complex color combination involving five or more paint colors, you may want to go a step further and hire your own color specialist. If you do so, be sure to choose someone with experience in your particular style of architecture.
And regardless of the way that you go about selecting your new exterior color scheme, be sure to use a top quality 100% acrylic latex paint for the best results. These paints are especially durable and color-fast, so they’ll help protect your home and keep your attractive new color scheme looking freshly-painted for a long, long time.