How to Pick Exterior Paint Colors

Picking an exterior paint color for your house can feel overwhelming. The options seem endless and it’s hard to narrow down on a color scheme when you don’t know what you should be looking for. The interior of your home is where you can flex your personality and use your personal color preference while the exterior paint should be more about durability. You want paint that will last!

As you consider paint colors for your home’s exterior, stick with what you know and love! This is your largest investment and by choosing colors that look good and last longer you’re going to be doing more than just protecting your house, your increasing its value and stretching your dollar!

Step 1

First things first, decide what color tone you want. Do you want something light and bright, mid-tone, or dark for the body of your house? This is the easy part as most of us have some sort of vision that leans light or dark.

Light tone exterior paint

  • Light Tones would include all your earthy colors like white, beige, brown, and tan. These colors absorb lese UV rays which means your house stays cooler and is less likely to fade as compared to organic colors like reds, blues, greens and yellow.

Mid tone exterior paint

  • Mid-tones are the ones in the middle of the spectrum and they are neither dark or light. These colors may appear muted or slightly dull but are easy on the eyes. They aren’t as flirty as pastels, overwhelming as bright colors or dramatic as dark ones. Examples would be blue gray, peach, sage, or hay yellow.

Dark exterior paint

  • Some Dark tones would include black, charcoal gray, navy, dark forest green and dark violet. Dark exteriors are perfect for homes surrounded by beautiful greenery. The contrasts in tones are a sure-fire way to make your house stand out. While these aren’t the most popular exterior color due to it’s inevitable fading, dark colors are sophisticated, elegant, modern and edgy. If a dark color scheme seems a bit much, consider just painting your front door a bold dark color.

Step 2

Look at your home and take note of it’s personality and its surroundings! Do you have interesting architecture features you want to highlight? Is there existing stone or brick that you are keeping? Do you have a lot of colorful plants and shrubbery? What about the color of your roof? Think about working with the underlying colors within that material and stay away from ones that will clash.

exterior house color

What are underlying colors exactly? We have three primary colors, red, yellow and blue. All other colors are combinations of those mixed together. Tone is related to the amount of black or white within the color. Let’s say you have a house with browish stone like the one pictured above. You can see that while the stone comes off as brown, it is compiled of a handful of colors like black, tan and cream. Those would be considered the materials underlying colors. Knowing that, you can then pull colors with the tone you are looking for to perfectly compliment your already existing material.

Some examples of colors that will clash with each other are: Red and purple. Brown and maroon. Brown and Black. Orange and Purple. Blue and Green. A good example of this would be, if you have a brown roof with green undertones you should stay away from painting your home blue!

Step 3

At this point, if your home has underlying colors within existing material that you like and are drawn to, your decision should be pretty easy from here. If you have an HOA with pre-approved colors then simply look for a scheme that has the right tones you are looking for and then match the colors as closely as you can.

Don’t worry if you are still lost at this step. Do some research! Look at your HOA color schemes and browse Pinterest or Google for inspiration. Try searching phrases based off the style of your house like, “ranch style home exterior” or “Victorian home exterior.” You can also try searching terms like “light house exteriors” or “Dark  exterior houses.”

Color schemes

Check out our Pinterest board for inspiration or some of our custom color schemes above!

Step 4:

You have finally narrowed down on a color scheme or two. Now it’s time to get samples! Expect that your color will look a tone lighter than what you see on the color chip. Paint tends to look lighter when exposed to natural light. When painting up your samples, do it in several areas around the house and look at them at different times during the day so you can see it’s true color.

If you have a stucco home, the paint may look a little darker because the texture creates shadows within the small indentations. If your home is made of both stucco and siding, consider painting them the same color. The texture and slight difference of tone will give your exterior depth.

With natural light also comes more color.  Once you paint those samples up you’re going to be able to see more of it’s underlying colors. Gray’s may look more purple or blue. Tan may seem a little more orange. Keep this in mind when picking colors and if you are worried about those colors coming through opt for a lighter tone within the same color family.

color samples

Color Samples

DO: Paint up samples once you have narrowed in on your final exterior colors
DONT: Waste your money and paint up a ton of different exterior color options

Try to wait until you’ve narrowed down your colors before you go painting up a bunch of different ones. Samples should be you narrowing in on a color, not painting up a dozen different ones to see what you like best. With sample cans running close to $10 a pop that ends up being a major waste of money.

If you are a visual person and you can’t help but want to see a bunch of colors on the home, try using Sherwin-Williams COLORSNAP Visualizer. This application lets you upload a photo of your home and see it painted as another color.

Step 5:

Make your decision!

Stick with the colors and tones you know and love and if you ever need some advice, your friends here at Colorado Commercial & Residential Painting would be happy to assist you!


Exterior home painting

home painting

Exterior home painting

Exterior home

home painting

home painting


Ready to Get Started?

We can’t wait to hear from you. Contact The Best Denver Painting Contractors today!.

Get a free estimate