Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How to Choose an Exterior Paint Color

As I was driving to work this morning, I couldn't help but notice a trail of white paint drizzled on the road, the trail was at least 6 blocks long. Apparently some poor soul's paint can wasn't sealed properly, and it was slowly pouring out of the vehicle unbeknown to the driver. My burning question... Why white paint?

Luckily, the trail was not leading from our parking lot!

If you are planning on repainting the exterior this year, you are probably interested in finding the perfect color scheme for your house. Like a good haircut making you feel like a million bucks, the right exterior colors can make all the difference in how you feel about your house.

When you are looking a colors for the outside, remember they will look vastly different than when standing at the paint rack. If you drive by Daly's during the nicer months, you will always see us hauling people outside to look at color schemes. This is because color looses a lot of it's intensity outside versus inside and we want to see how the color reads in a more accurate manner.

A good rule of thumb is to push yourself a bit and find a color that is deeper/darker on the chip than you want it to look on the house. Since the color is reflecting off into the sky (as opposed to bouncing off a wall for interior colors, thereby increasing the way the color reads) the color looses a lot of definition.

Also, don't forget the roof!

Have you ever driven around different neighborhoods looking at house colors and realized that in many instances, the roof is sticking out like a sore thumb? It's probably because they forgot to take the roof colors into consideration when creating their color scheme. You don't have to make this same mistake.

If your house is surrounded by vast lawns or dense thickets of trees, then you will be getting a lot of reflected green light thrown onto your house, and this will affect how your colors will read. If you don't like the green effect, choose colors with a warm, reddish/orangy cast. Red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel, and will tend to cancel each other out. This doesn't mean you need to paint everything barn red, but just make the "flavor" of the color warm.

In some instances, you may even need to consider the colors schemes of your neighbors homes. If your houses are close together, they may be reflecting upon you. For instance, can you imagine two sage-green houses next to each other, especially if the greens weren't compatible with each other? It might make you feel more sick than serene.

Colors are all about relationships. If you are looking for a body color and two trim colors, remember that the trim colors will influence how sell the body color will read.

Here's a good example of what I mean: My cute neighbors who live across the street choose a body color they thought was a soft sage green. In reality, they realized it was seriously minty when the paint went up. Ack! The beigy trim color they had planned to use with the soft green was going to make the green look sickly (and who wants to spend all this money paying someone to paint the house and then feel heartsick over the colors?). So we rescued the minty green by adding crisp white trim with rich navy accents. The deep navy make the mint green look less intense, and the crisp white gave the whole look a clean cottage feel. Whew. Crisis averted.

They may have avoided some panicky feelings if they had tested their colors out first. I like our new 16 oz samplers, this is enough paint to test the color out on ALL sides of the house. Or I encourage people to use C2's Ultimate Paint Chips. These couldn't be any easier, they are poster-sized chips of real paint. No muss, no fuss. If you are like me, and tend to make colors 25% darker than the chip, or 50% lighter - the Sampler Pots (those 16 oz paint pots) are the next best thing to Fran's Gray Sea Salt Caramels. Any color I want, even custom colors, in a sample pot.

I have had all sorts of chips hanging off the side of my house all winter long, and I think I FINALLY have decided my new color! And it's not one I was even considering before: C2 Paint's "Element" - but at least 25% darker - of course!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alot of very good points on color..but as you went on..seems like a comercial for C2

Robin Daly said...

If you look over the rest fo the blog, you may get a better understanding of why I talk about C2.

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