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Pick the Perfect House Color

Choosing an exterior paint color is a big decision. We'll share our nine easy tips for picking a color that you'll be happy with for years to come.

House painted green and white

Color Selection Tips

Paint Color Wheel

1. Look around the neighborhood
There's often a consistent color scheme running throughout. Look for complementary colors and intensities that will blend right in.

2. What's your style?
Do you live in an old Victorian, mid-century modern or Spanish Colonial home? That can really dictate your color scheme. For example, a Victorian lends itself to pastels like pink, mint green or baby blue. Those colors wouldn't work for a mid-century modern or Spanish Colonial, which are typically in more muted and neutral tones.

3. Think about what can't be changed
Walk around your house and look at the large structural elements that can't be altered such as the color of your stone work or roof shingles. Make sure that your new paint color will complement them. Also remember that if you have any brick work - such as a chimney or foundation - that it can be painted.

4. Color evokes moods
Think about the overall impact that you're hoping to create. Do you want the house to appear bright and cheerful? Use light colors such as white, cream or light gray. Or do you want it to feel more impressive and substantial? Consider using deeper colors like dark gray, chocolate brown or navy.

5. Consider your surroundings
Are you surrounded by a lush landscape with lots of trees and flowers? Steer clear of painting your home green or it will just blend right in. Think about architectural elements, plants, flowers and trees when selecting the right hue for your home.

6. What are you trying to hide?
Are there any architectural details like gutters or an AC unit that you'd like to deemphasize? Surround an AC unit with paneling that's painted the same color as the house, or paint gutters to blend in.  And the reverse is true. If you have beautiful windows that you'd like to emphasize, paint them a contrasting color so that they'll stand out.

7. Do your homework
Drive around different neighborhoods and take pictures of the color combinations that appeal to you. Check the paint displays at your local Lowe's store. They often have brochures with house colors combinations that can inspire you. And finally, start surfing the internet. Check real estate websites and see what you like. You can also search sites like Pinterest and start a board to collect your favorites.  More than likely, you'll start to see a recurring theme.

8. Be bold - but not too bold
Unless you're 100 percent certain of a bold color pattern, consider painting your house in a neutral tone. Then use pops of color on your front door or shutters. If you ever tire of that bright red or canary yellow door, it's a cheap and easy weekend fix.

9. Don't skimp on quality
Buy the best quality paint you can afford. A high-quality paint will hold up better to the elements and will save you money in the long run.

Good to Know

Do you have a home owner's association or live in a historic district? If so, make sure that you contact them. Some neighborhoods have restrictions on colors.

Experiment with Samples

Paint Color Sample

Now that you've taken the tips into consideration, it's time to put theory into practice.

  • Start by using Valspar's visualizer tool. You can upload a picture of your home and test different colors online.
  • Head to Lowe's and try various color chips from your preferred palette.
  • Pick your top four base colors and a couple for the door and/or shutters and have sample pots made.
  • In an inconspicuous area, paint a 2-foot by 2-foot square of each sample on the side of your house. Paint these base colors next to one another. Then paint the corresponding shutter or door color above it. Color will vary according to the type of light being cast. It's a good idea to watch them during various times of the day.
  • If you're not thrilled with the samples, start looking at other colors that are appealing. Then bring those samples into the store and ask an associate to create a custom color.
Good to Know

Paint chips are small and can sometimes be deceiving. Dark colors often appear darker and bright colors can appear even brighter. Since you are covering a large area, it's especially important to test using paint samples.