I am hoping and praying that you will do a post or ten posts about exterior paint colors. But, I’m afraid I’m going to need more than a post.
Maybe while we’re out, God will strike a lightening bolt which will damage the roof so badly, it’ll have to be replaced.
This is my sad tale. We bought this home last summer. We bought it for the location and schools. It’s a 1960s Cape Cod with an addition. Here’s the problem. The previous owners– actually THE nicest people with the worst taste in decorating ever replaced the roof the year before we bought the house.
You know what’s coming. The roof looks like a heard of Santa’s reindeer chose our home to do their business on.
That color. yeah And more yeah… the crap-brown roof is not going anywhere; not in the budget.
Well…it’s Easter. I’m praying for a miracle.
Lightening? A small but searing meteor? A fire-breathing pterodactyl descending on the roof? I guess I should be careful what I wish for.
Well… Ineida Ruffer. (good, huh?)
Perhaps the definition of miracle is knowledge? Well, in this case, it is.
And it comes in lots of spiffy colors too!
Oh please, do not kiss my feet. That’s gross!
And just so you know. I have no experience with this roof paint. The major complaint is that it takes more paint than they claim. That, in my book, is not a problem. A problem is if it flakes off in one week or there are traumatized raccoons in the attic clawing at the ceiling.
A client of mine had that a few years ago. Horrible!
Now that we have the roof issue out-of-the-way– on to the best house colors.
Okay. This is tough.
It’s tough because if it weren’t tough, you would be cleaning the oven instead of reading this.
So, let’s go over those variables first.
- Where is your home located?
This is huge because the colors for a home in Nantucket are apt to be quite different from a home in Phoenix.
- What style is your home?
What is it made of? Brick, siding, shingle, stucco, stone or a combo of two or more of those elements?
- What are the other homes like that are nearby?
- What’s going on inside your home? You already know this, but you wouldn’t have a red door if the interior is mostly orange. They need to work together.
- And finally, what size is your home?
I read not too long ago that a large house should never be white.
Okay, I’ll send the painters down to DC ASAP.
I think it’s the opposite, if anything. Large homes look better in lighter colors. But again, if there’s a lot of architectural interest and white trim, a dark house can also be fine.
As a matter of fact, there’s a game I’ve played with myself for years– especially when I travel. And it’s seeing a building, residence or not that’s really ugly and then imagining it painted white. Every time, in my mind’s eye, I see it looking ever so much better.
Before we get into some of my favorite exterior paint colors and combinations, a few important things to know if you already don’t.
Paint colors on your exterior behave differently from interior paint colors. Like, when you thought you had it all down, (or sort of down), the rules suddenly change.
Well, one of those is that the colors almost always appear much lighter outside than inside. And if the house is in bright sunlight– very much so.
So, a lovely soft off-white inside might look too bright for what you have in mind. Therefore, I would go a shade or two down from what you are thinking of.
But ALWAYS test your colors! And the same way we test on the inside.
Not like this. Sorry, if this is your house. But it’s best to look at the colors one at a time.
And here’s where I’m feeling just a tad overwhelmed. I can’t possibly address everything in one post. But hopefully, when finished, you’ll have some ideas that will help you no matter where your home is or what style it is. And if you have a favorite paint or idea please do share it.
First, I want to address is the “new” and ubiquitous farm-style home.
Is this a fad?
Is it a bad fad?
Sorry for the vague answer.
It doesn’t feel terribly different from this genuine Federal period farmhouse.
The modern farmhouse-style is an amalgam of that with a little craftsmen thrown in and the de rigueur metal roof. That’s the part that’s the most faddish.
I like the style and I like the metal roofs, but I will caution you folks out there to tread gently. Like a lot of things it can be over-done or not done right, or something.
I guess I need to bring this up because like the interior of the home, the exterior paint colors are tied into the architecture of the home– the style, the surroundings and what the neighbors are doing. (unless they’re painting their homes purple.) At least, I think it should be.
It seems that every town I’ve ever seen has that “one house” something weird. Right?
The other thing is that the combinations that the paint companies have put together are not always, but very often gag-awful. I don’t know why, but that’s my impression.
Did I say that this is a difficult post? haha. One reason is… I adore looking at houses. And it’s a lot more fun to look than to get it all down in a way that will make sense.
In addition, there are 100s of great house colors! HUNDREDS.
Some of these I know the color or at least am going by the color they say it is. Other times, I’m guessing.
But here’s the thing. I’ve looked at a lot of houses over the years– and the colors in photos can be completely misleading– even with the same house and the same view!
This is a lovely and accessible farmhouse style home. I selected it because they used ONE color for the trim and the body of the home. Only the front door is a wood stain. I prefer garage doors with windows and maybe they do too, but were just working within their budget.
The color is Sherwin Williams ROMAN COLUMN. A good Benjamin Moore substitute is ACADIA WHITE ac-43 or its identical twin IVORY WHITE 925.
Not sure, but it looks like they might’ve put a little paint on the stone. Whatever, it’s really pretty and the flower box look great!
This one’s funny because first I found a sub par image of this lovely home and wanted to use it. When I found a great image, discovered that this is a Studio McGee home. Quite stunning it is. Here is one color for the body and columns and then everything else is a soft black.
This is a complete reno, not a new build. You must click on the link to see the amazing transformation! And you can see an amazing coincidence if you click here.
I haven’t the foggiest idea what white this is… but here are some great ones to try.
CLOUD WHITE – 967
WHITE DOVE – oc-17
SWISS COFFEE – oc-45
I love it when people paint their home to match the dog. :]
Swiss Coffee looks like Glacier White (or verrry close) – which is either oc-37 or ac-40. Yes, confusing. That is why I always write down both the name and the number of the color.
CHINA WHITE – is not my favorite interior color because it can go rogue and look like a pale muddy pale gold or go gray and cool. But outside, it’s a mellow cream.
BALLET WHITE oc-9 – is a little deeper than Swiss Coffee. It will most likely look like a warm, pretty off-white on the exterior.
The shutters could be STONINGTON GRAY hc-170. This is a classic gray with a slight blue undertone
Handsome home in Florida- via Traditional Home. I love the colonial Florida style. Is that a term?
The trim and shutters could be REVERE PEWTER hc-172
Yes, this is the same house. I know… Sick. And talk about the inside and outside connecting together! Please check out the rest, here.
Oh what a beauty! Can I have this one please? Love the Chinese Chippendale railing.
***Note on 12.12.18 – A kind reader just informed me that this stunning home belongs to interior designer Bruce Wilkin and is located in Oak Bay, VANCOUVER island, BC***
LANCASTER WHITEWASH hc-174 is a classic cream. Another nice one is MONTEREY WHITE hc-27. I don’t know if those are the colors, but something like that. Don’t stress too much about the white trim. White Dove goes with most of the light to medium historical colors– or any of the other white shades too. But please test first.
Stunning architectural gem. N’est ce pas? And a fabulous cedar shake roof, it looks to be.
WESTON FLAX hc-5
Another farm-house type. But I think the yellow looks fresh with all of the white trim.
HAWTHORNE YELLOW hc-5 – looks very fresh and unexpected in this charming one a half story craftsman bungalow. The image was taken from a real estate listing and the home is no longer for sale.
This is a fabulous reno! Please check out the rest of the home in the link.
This is their recipe for the body of the house color:
Siding Color: 1/2 SOOT & 1/2 WITCHING HOUR by Benjamin Moore
Trim: DOVE WING by Benjamin Moore
The siding colors are both dark blue-blacks. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But this is one of those homes that looks different in every photo. I do love the white trim. Dove Wing has a lot of gray in it, but with the dark color looks like a fairly crisp white.
But please know that there are dozens of whites that would be absolutely fine with this dark, rich navy.
Another fabulous off-black is the color Nancy Keyes used on her charming garage. And blimey. She sent me the interior and I cannot find the photos.
HALE NAVY hc-154 – is a classic and popular navy. I love how fabulous it looks on this home. I’m not sure about the door color though.
And yes, we are barely touching that on this post!
PURITAN GRAY hc-164
This color was not on my radar, but I absolutely adore how it looks on this fabulous four-square by Donald Lococo.
And now, my very favorite exterior paint color
If I was a house and I needed to be painted I would want to be one of Martha Stewart’s houses in her compound in Katonah, NY. This is one thing I actually know quite a lot about because I lived only 3 miles a day and drove past it dozens of times as it was on my way to clients and a choir I sang in for several years.
One can say a lot of things about Martha, but one marvelous thing she did was develop this large piece of property which is in the Hamlet of Katonah in the town of Bedford.
There are several buildings of various sizes and each of them is painted this ONE COLOR. This is actually an accurate 17th-18th century way of painting country homes–particularly in New England and Salt Box styles. They didn’t have the luxury of selecting a contrast color. OR, maybe they just preferred it that way. Me too!
The color is most likely Martha’s Bedford Gray. (and please check out the rest of her stunning property)
I spent several
days hours obsessing over which Benjamin Moore color comes the closest. And the one I ended up with is…
drum roll ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ROCKPORT GRAY – hc-105
And yes, another one of the historical grays. Perhaps you’ve noticed by now that most of these are from the Benjamin Moore historical colors.
Rockport Gray is a nano touch darker than Martha’s Bedford Gray, but over-all the same tonality. It’s warm putty color, with a touch of green and brown and a lot of gray. There is a lot of stone on the property and the color looks amazing with it and with all of the lush greenery that abounds.
I actually found a closeup!
It’s 150 acres of heaven!
please pin for reference
Phew! I did it! By the way, most of these colors are in the Laurel Home Paint Color Collection.
Do you have any exterior colors that you love? Are there any that you’ve tried that were duds?
That’s good to know too!
Please have a blessed and joyous holiday!