Choosing exterior colors for a home is a tough job. That’s
why neutrals are a natural. They don’t embarrass, they’re
easy to work with, and they remain stylish longer than trendier
tones. After all, homeowners must live with these color decisions
for years to come.
The newest neutrals on homes today return after several decades
of rest. Clays and creams are popular again- when combined with
forest greens or dusty teals; they add a fresh look to old and
new homes alike. Burgundy and cranberry accents can freshen up
an existing beige or gray without a great deal of cost. The "greening"
of America is evident in the return of several very lively, and
livable, green tones, from blue-green and dusty green coordinates
to Elk’s Forest Green or Balsam Forest™ shingles.
Another trend is the use of two or more coordinating colors.
A basic body color, coordinating roof color, and one or more trim
colors with an accent can be combined to complement a variety
There are three ways to successfully coordinate colors. The first
involves selecting colors within the same family, such as warm
tones (browns, beiges, creams, golds and reds) used together with
warm accents. The second consists of contrasting light and dark
colors out of different color families, for an eye-catching effect.
The third method- contrasting cool (blues, grays, black, white)
and warm colors – is harder to achieve, but if one of the
contrasting colors is a neutral, it will be easier to accomplish.
For instance, try using a warm color like cream or ivory with
a cool neutral, such a gray or black.
Gather samples of all existing permanent colors showing on the
home’s exterior. Assemble the samples in proportionate sizes-
large samples for predominant colors and small ones for details.
Although the roof color may be the largest in total square footage,
use only the percentage that can be seen from the street to determine
Consider the neighborhood and environment. Coordinating with your
neighbor’s home should not be a prime consideration, but
duplicating it would not be ideal. Landscape colors may lend direction
for color schemes. Among the options are to coordinate or blend
in with nature, or choose contrasting but complementary colors.
Select colors in the same family as the roof, or other existing
permanent elements such as brick or stone, to produce a simple
scheme which will make a small home appear larger. Otherwise,
this lack of combination can produce a rather plain and uninteresting
Select high-contrast colors to produce striking effects. These
highlight architectural detail and designs; low-contrast colors
hide details, which may be desirable in some cases.
Use color to balance the proportion and design of a home. Light
colors make homes appear larger, dark colors make home look smaller.
Dark colors outline architectural details against light backgrounds;
light colors do the reverse.