Friday, May 31, 2013

Choosing Exterior Color

Choosing exterior colors for your home can be time consuming and even intimidating. There are several ways to narrow the scope of the task, besides sifting through pictures or driving around town to see what appeals to you.

If you already have some building materials determined, the brick, stone or roofing can begin to steer you in a particular direction. Tiny flecks of color you see in those can become a dominant color in the palette you choose. No matter what, these are important materials to consider. Grey roofing looks best with cooler colors (blues, greys, and greens); brown with the warmer tones. Also consider what will harmonize with the color of your windows, if you cannot or will not be changing the color on them.

Historic homes or homes built in reference to a particular historical style can be painted using historic color combinations. Check selections from manufacturers' period color chips. They will often have certain colors presented together to represent different periods, and if one of these is suitable it can make the decision much simpler.

Choosing from an infinite selection of colors does not have to be overwhelming. Once you consider what harmonizes with the other building materials or is in-keeping with your neighborhood, a simple solution is to choose a monochromatic scheme. This means using shades or tints of the same base color. Shades are colors mixed with white; tints are colors mixed with black (and tones are colors with gray). When you look at a paint chip there will be shades, tints and tones from the same base color, so you can choose one and then pick another a few steps away. People forget that the full spectrum of sunlight will wash out the colors outdoors. Choosing something on the darker side of where your taste falls is best.

The next step in enhancing a monochromatic color scheme would be to choose an accent color. This is sometimes compared to make up or accessories in fashion, and it is used to play up architectural features like windows and trim. You can make a bold choice, but  in this area a little can go a long way. It is common to use a complimentary color, black or "near black"--dark greens, browns, and maroons that almost look black. Complimentary colors would be across the color wheel. Red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange are complimentary. Of course you would not want to choose something that immediately calls to mind Mardi-Gras or Christmas decor. Yellow and purple might be a trio of camel with rich plum and a dusky lavender. Two shades of sage with a burgundy accent represent a red and green pairing. These avoid pulling toward the strong popular images.

Benjamin Moore offers a handy way to check your ideas before you commit. They have a Personal Color Viewer that allows you to upload an image and view it using different colors from their selections. This can be a fun way to look at what you like without the commitment. It is also always fun to look through pictures of homes and see what looks nice on them!

No comments:

Post a Comment