house with exterior paint and shutters

6 Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Shutter Man

Committing to a house color can feel completely overwhelming. After all, painting an entire home is a significant investment of time and money — not to mention it’s a decision you have to see and live with every single day. No pressure, right?!

Here’s the good news: With a few carefully considered questions, it is possible to feel confident in your paint selection. Ahead, read our top tips before taking the plunge into painting.

1. Take a tour.

When you’re in the process of narrowing down your color selections, don’t be shy about touring your neighborhood (and nearby neighborhoods that you admire) in order to pinpoint looks you love. There’s no shame in being a color copycat. When you find one that catches your eye, snap a subtle picture so that you can study details like trim color, shutters, house shape, and see what’s working and what’s not. 

2. Consider your roof color.

Replacing a roof is a costly endeavor, and pretty pointless if it’s already in good shape. Since that’s the case, you’ll want to plan your exterior paint color accordingly. Luckily for those with black or neutral gray roofs, it’s easy to find a color that pairs well. If you have a more unique roof — for example, a dark brown, slate, or tin roof — your options will be more limited. If you have slight red undertones, certain shades of green and blues would almost certainly clash. Generally speaking, it’s smart to start by looking at your roof before moving forward in the paint-picking process.


3. Take cues from your home.

OK, so your walls can’t talk… but that doesn’t mean your home isn’t making suggestions! It’s important that you pick a paint color that puts your home in its best light, versus forcing a certain style or trend just because you like it. For example, if your house has sections of brick wall or stone columns, you’ll need to make sure your color selections play well with the undertones of these natural elements.  

4. Decide on a door.

In the grand scheme of things, painting a door takes a lot less effort than painting a house. However, if you recently replaced or painted your front door, you’ll want to choose an exterior shade that doesn’t completely clash. If you have a front door that’s made of steel, is largely glass paneling, or is otherwise style-specific, lean into a complementary color to avoid a hodge-podge look.

front door

5. Think about trim, accents, and shutters. 

All of the home’s “accessories” such as trimwork, porches, and shutters need to be carefully considered before you break out the paintbrush. Most people have their trim repainted at the same time as their exterior walls, but that’s not always the case. Colored trim can be a stylish move, while a crisp white can make exterior paint really pop. Shutters, like front doors, are certainly not impossible to paint, but you’ll need to think about the age of your shutters, whether or not you’re interested in a newer, more modern style, and what color would add a nice pop. If new ones are on your radar, explore our entire range of high quality, durable shutters now!

RELATED READ: How to Properly Paint Primed Shutters to Avoid Cracking

exterior paint

6. Test, and then test more.

The only true way to know if a house color is right for you is to try it out. Bear in mind that sunlight lightens, brightens, and cools any shade. What you think is a nice neutral gray on your sample sheet may appear completely white on your home in the middle of the day! Test your colors on large poster boards or extra slabs of sheetrock, then be sure to take them to different parts of the home’s exterior throughout the day. Outside in full sun, you’ll get a much more realistic picture of how it will look. 

When in doubt, get a friend or professional to weigh in once you have samples painted. It can be hard to make a decision when you’re so close to the problem, and getting fresh eyes on it can offer a clear perspective. And don’t forget: At the end of the day, it’s YOUR home. Your opinion matters the most, and choosing a color you’d be happy to come home to is all that really counts. 

You can also read more about top exterior home color combinations from one of our pro partners at Kind Home Solutions.