A home's exterior color plays a major role in its curb appeal.

Help With Exterior House Color

by Mike Matthews

Since it's their biggest financial investment, most homeowners make careful and conservative choices when selecting an exterior color for their home. However, it's easy to add value to a home by selecting a color scheme that highlights the key features of the structure and emphasizes how it fits within its natural environment and the larger community.

Safe Colors

If you'd like your home to blend into the neighborhood, select a white or neutral hue for your walls, then add sizzle with some stronger colors for the doorway, window frames and trim. For example, you can complement your light tan siding with forest green shutters, or select a mahogany colored door for a home with sea foam colored walls. Trim colors add flexibility because they can be changed more easily -- and thus more often -- than the home's primary color.

Bold Colors

Bold colors can highlight the rich architectural detailing common to Victorian houses and other homes that feature a variety of ornate mouldings, carvings and textures. While simpler homes might display two or three colors, these structures often boast six or more brightly contrasting hues. Richly saturated color schemes can also add visual snap to bungalows and craftsman homes that might appear pedestrian if painted in one or two neutral shades.

Geographic Colors

Some regions are anointed with their own color personality. New England homes are famous for their muted shades of tan, gray and cream that reflect the colors of the northern coast. In the sunny gulf coast, brighter pastels help homes stand out against the clear blues of sky and water. Adobe and turquoise color schemes remain popular in the southwest. Naturally, those color schemes can easily travel to other regions. For example, with the appropriate landscaping, a Cape Cod home can fit right in on a street in Denver, Dallas or Des Moines.

Curb Appeal Colors

A house that looks attractive and comfortable from the street is likely to sell more quickly and earn a higher price, and color can play a major role. Light-colored walls make a home look larger, and contrasting colors on the windows, doors, foundation and eaves make the home look solid. It's important to select colors that are not identical to the other homes on the street, yet they should blend with other structures in the neighborhood.

About the Author

Mike Matthews is editor of Green Building Product News, a national publication that covers sustainable innovations in building and remodeling, and he has spoken at national conferences on green building. He has also served as founding editor of "Paint Dealer" magazine.

Photo Credits

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