Choosing exterior paint colors for your house that stand the test of time

Choosing colors for the exterior of your home can be complicated, but there are various strategies for how to choose exterior paint colors for your house.

Painting or repainting the exterior of your home can significantly improve the curb appeal of your house and affect how other people perceive you and your house.

There are also other benefits to updating the outside of your house with a bit of paint, like giving your home a higher value, protecting your house from the elements and insects, and helping you to assess the overall damages and problems that need to be addressed in your house.

Exterior paint and curb appeal

The curb appeal of your home might be much more important than you think. Updating the exterior of your house with a fresh coat of paint does not only need to happen when you are thinking of selling your house.

An attractive exterior design can increase your own satisfaction with your house even if you are not planning to sell it any time soon.

Painting the exterior of your house can also add a layer of protection and help you to maintain the value and the look of your home over time.

You can paint almost any surface on the exterior of your home, including wood, stucco brick, cement, doors, trim, fences and so many more.

Moreover, updating these surfaces can have a considerable effect on how passers-by, guests, friends, and family perceive you and your home.

A fresh coat of paint can help your house to look well-maintained and cared for. If you put in the time and effort to have a beautiful exterior to your home, then people will assume that this is true for all the other aspects of your life too.

If you choose modern paint colors, this can also help you to update the entire look and feel of the exterior of your house, while a more classic paint choice could help you to maintain the historically accurate color palette of your historic home.

Other benefits to painting the exterior of your house

If the increased curb appeal does not seem like enough of a reason to paint the exterior of your house, there are many other benefits to this home-improvement project to consider.

A freshly painted and well-maintained exterior is often the deciding factor for potential buyers.

If you are planning to sell your house in the near future, painting the exterior may not only persuade potential buyers to consider your house, but it can even lead to more offers and a higher selling price.

This makes this upgrade a relatively easy way to maximize the return on investment on your home.

If you aren’t planning on selling your house, it can still be a good idea to update the paint on the exterior of your home, to add a layer of protection against the elements.

Paint can be seen as the shell of your house, which protects it against the detrimental effects that elements such as rain and sun can have on the integrity of the materials over time.

This paint can also help to insulate your house and keep the internal temperature from getting too hot in the summertime, or too cold in the winter.

Painting the exterior of your house is also often a good excuse to examine your siding, planks and beams for any damages.

Removing old paint and carefully examining the exterior of your house may help you to spot any damages like rot or mold, and even insect infestations.

Repairing these damages and adding new paint can help you to avoid bigger problems later on.

Considering these benefits, it is clear to see that painting the exterior of your house is always a good idea. However, when it comes to actually choosing the paint colors for this exterior, there are a few key factors to consider.

How to choose exterior paint colors for your house


Coordinating your exterior paint color scheme may seem like it would be simpler than an interior wall, as you do not have to worry about the paint matching with furniture, flooring or cabinets, but the abundance of natural light present in an exterior design can drastically alter the appearance of your paint colors.

Natural sunlight tends to have a cooler undertone, and this will influence the appearance of the color that you choose for your exterior.

This is why some warmer beige homes tend to look almost pink in the late afternoons, or why some gray homes appear purple at different times throughout the day.

Different sides of your house may also appear differently, so it is important to test the exterior paint colors that you choose on your actual house.

You should also ensure that you closely examine the appearance of this color on different sides of your house and at different times during the day, so that you get a good idea of what the whole design will look like once complete.

Bright, direct sunlight can also make your chosen paint color appear significantly lighter than it looks indoors.

Therefore, it is important not to choose a color that is too light, even if you are going for a bright look, as the sunlight might make this color appear up to two shades lighter when it is actually on your house.

As a good rule of thumb, the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of any color paint for the exterior of your house should be lower than 85, because this could make the color feel blinding and give you a stark, rather than a brightening effect.

What does not need to be painted?

It can be overwhelming to try and figure out multiple colors that will work well together for your exterior paint scheme. The simplest way to start is by detailing the aspects that you do not need to change.

These aspects could include the actual architectural style of your house, the look and feel of the neighborhood and any surfaces that cannot be painted or you just do not want to paint.

The architectural style can sometimes be a handy way to find some color-inspiration for the exterior of your home.

Many paint brands have historical lines, which have paint colors that would suit the look of the time period that your house is from.

This ensures that the paint colors you choose will not make your house look out of place or disjointed with the style of the house.

Even if you do not have a historical home, choosing paint colors with high contrast can help you highlight certain features of your house, like archways, pillars, or shutters.

Looking at other homes in your neighborhood can also be a good way to get an idea of the generally socially acceptable styles for homes in that area and give you ideas as to which colors you like and do not like.

This can also help you to avoid an overly cookie-cutter feeling with your exterior design choices.

This way you can find just the right balance of standing out and fitting in to ensure that your house’s exterior design is unique to you but does not stand out like a sore thumb.

The 60-30-10 Rule for exterior paint design

Once you have ample inspiration and ideas for possible paint colors, it is time to start planning what needs to be painted.

It can be overwhelming to choose a few different colors for the exterior colors that coordinate with each other, as well as with the surrounding houses and area and create enough contrast to ensure that your entire color scheme is not dull and uninteresting.

Just as with interior color schemes, it is often simplest to abide by the 60-30-10 Rule for colors.

This ensures that you have enough differentiation between colors to create a dynamic and interesting design, but that you also do not end up with too many different colors, which can make the whole design overwhelming and busy.

The 60-30-10 Rule dictates that you should use the main color for 60 percent of the entire design. This would include the exterior walls or actual body of your house.

Next you would use a secondary color for 30 percent of the overall design. For an exterior color scheme this could include elements such as the trim and railings.

Then, you would use an accent color on 10 percent of the design. This could include the front door and shutters, for example. This simplifies the process of choosing colors significantly.

Final Thoughts

Curb appeal is one of the most prominent benefits to painting and updating the exterior of your house. This can increase the opinion that friends, family and other people have of you and increase the perceived value of your house.

Painting the exterior of your house might be a good idea just to improve the look, longevity and value of your house, regardless of what effect it might have on what other people think.

When it comes to actually choosing the exterior paint colors, it is important that you consider the lighting of your house and how this will affect the colors, what does not need to be painted and what you actually want to paint.

This will help you to create an interesting yet coordinated look for the outside of your home.