How to Choose Exterior Paint Colors (with examples)

The exterior color of your home is your opportunity to grab the attention of potential buyers.  While they are rapidly scanning through homes for sale, you only have a couple of seconds to catch a buyer's eye.  But, with the right paint colors, you'll draw buyers to your house and through the front door.  You'll want to select three paint colors in all;  a primary color to be used for the siding, a secondary color for the trim and soffit, and a third color for accents such as the front door and shutters.  Aim to select three colors that aren't too similar to one another. As a general rule of thumb, choose a light color such as white or cream, a middle-toned color such as a light gray, and a dark color like deep blue-gray.  There are an overwhelming number of colors available, so let's take a look at how you can simplify the task.

As a home seller, removing your own opinion about color is a vital first step.  Paint is very personal, but when selling a house focus first on potential buyers.  Also keep in mind that the best colors for resale may seem a little boring (as you will see in the examples below) but are effective for creating perfect curb appeal.

Take a look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood and note their color schemes.  Each neighborhood has different dominant color schemes based on the area's style.  For example, a home located in the mountains would fit right in painted an earthy green while it would look rather drab on a beach town bungalow where the surrounding homes are painted bright, tropical colors.

Once you've determined the dominant colors in your neighborhood, consider the homes that surround yours.  Rule out colors that are an exact match to any homes visible from your front door to eliminate the possibility of a cookie-cutter look.

Next, consider the characteristics of your home.  Is it small and you'd like it to look bigger?  Or, is it large and you'd like it to appear smaller?  Using different tones of tan, light gray or beige can make the property look larger while darker colors will make it look smaller.  What is your roof color?  Consider which colors will coordinate with your existing roof.  Choose warm paint colors to blend with warm (yellow undertone) roof colors and cool paint colors to blend with cool (blue undertone) roof colors.  The same principle applies if your home has stone, wood, or metal accents.  Match the undertone of the paint color you choose to the undertone of your existing finishes.

Once you've determined a color for your siding, take a look at Sherwin Williams to view coordinating colors to use for trim and accents.  With Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Visualizer you can view how any paint color will look once applied to a sample home, or an uploaded photo of your home. This tool allows you to try-before-you-buy and come up with your three paint colors.

Here are examples of foolproof color schemes that will work in almost all US locations:


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