Choosing House Colors that “Fit In”

June 14, 2007 § 14 Comments

Lots of homeowners out there are wrestling with what color to paint their house and trim. It is a huge decision because it’s expensive to change your mind half-way through the painting process and even more painful if you don’t like it when the painters are done.

A lot of people paint their houses without any hesitation. They simply paint the house bluewhitegarage.jpgthe color they want. Who cares what anybody thinks, especially the nosey neighbors. I’ve seen purple with orange trim, black with white trim, bubblegum pink, neon coral, fluorescent turquoise, one-half brick/one-half royal blue, and the very creative application of trim color to garage doors, as shown in this photo. Even though the photo is a tight shot of the garage, the first thing you notice about the house from the street is the garage. And granted, maybe the homeowners really wanted to highlight their garage door, but this one is just your average garage door, nothing terribly special.

So, regarding garage doors, if you have a beautiful set of varnished wooden garage doors that really look terrific, then I would go right ahead and show them off. Keep them in their natural state. (Same goes for the front door if it’s a solid heavy wooden door in its greenhouse2a_2.jpgnatural state.) But if you have ordinary garage doors, then I would strongly suggest that you paint them the same color as your house. You can choose to highlight them with trim color or keep the trim around them the same as the house, as seen in this photo.

Some people are disgruntled with the imposition of a certain style or taste on the house color selection process as determined by location. If you happen to live in the North but would rather live in Florida, why can’t you paint your house turquoise to remind you of the Caribbean even though the color of the water off the coast of Maine is sort of a muddy olive green? My answer to that question is, well, you can paint your house turquoise– if you want to. But your house will look like a runaway compared to the others in the neighborhood. And if you’re at all concerned about resale down the road, you’ll want your house to, well sort of, fit in. I know it goes against the grain for a lot of people to conform, even to “accepted” house color norms, but that’s the bottom line. What you do on the INSIDE of your house is a WHOLE different story.

One last suggestion for those who are completely disgusted by the thought of giving in to the neighborhood with regard to house color selection, you can always express yourself with your accessories. Bright orange lawn furniture, a turquoise market umbrella, pots and flowers galore. And if you just can’t stand it anymore, go ahead and paint the front door something really funky. It will certainly attract attention and that’s really what you want it to do anyway. There. How’s that…

§ 14 Responses to Choosing House Colors that “Fit In”

  • Carolyn says:

    Hello I have hard time to pick out what is the color for the metal roof because of the brick house. so I want to look just right and not want to regrets to pick the color that doesn’t look right for my brick house. can you give me any idea? my brick house color lightly/dark mix red,brownish light. All I can think of what the mental roof color would go with the brick house?
    Thank you for your time,
    Carolyn W.

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Carolyn W.

    When it comes to metal roofs, I think the dark ones look best. For your brick, if you have mostly brown mixed with the red, then I suggest a very dark brown roof (if you have brown shutters). But if there is any black in the brick (or if your shutters are black), then go with a dark charcoal color.

    Hope that helps.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Tricia M says:

    I have a traditional orange (clay colored) brick home with builders’ beige trim and gray roof. The brick has slight gray, brown and red tones mixed in with the orange clay color.

    My question is what type of lighting works best with this brick and style? I would like to add path lighting and replace the high gloss brass porch lights. We currently have a dull blue front door. The door has inset cut glass design on the upper half of the door. The entrance also has panels beside the door that have clear glass in the upper half and glass that runs along the top of the panels and door.

    I thought that a greenish taupe color might be better for trim, but my husband thinks that the builder knows best and we need to stick to the beige color. What other options are out there? I don’t want to stay traditional, if we can stray to a more creative traditional bent….

    I would so appreciate you expertise….

    Tricia

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Tricia M (#3),

    Try bronze for your metal of choice both for lighting and other hardware on the house. It’s warmer than wrought iron and will lend an updated look to your house.

    As for trim color, beige probably works if it’s similar to the grout color. Nothing flashy but I’m sure it blends well. Focus on the accessories and even a new door color, perhaps, and you’ll get the house you’re looking for.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Phyllis L says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I live in Central Florida. We want to paint our house but really need HELP. The front of the house is brick. I have read that you recommend grout color like a taupe gray. I was looking at SW 7045 for the house and the columns and trim above columns a cream SW 7049. Tell me what you think.

    The wood steeple above the porch and the sides I have not idea. Also should the trim be the same color? The garage it old. We’re thinking of the front door a redish (SW 2915) and black shutter.

    We are replacing the roof maybe a dark charcoal color.

    We don’t have BM paint available. We do have SW in town and Lowe’s.

    Any suggestions I would appreciate it.

    Sincerely,

    Phyllis

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Phyllis L (#5),

    I like your color scheme! The gray has some green in it which will look terrific with the brick. And the cream blends beautifully as well. I would paint the columns AND the trim the same cream. And whatever is above the columns you should paint the same cream. Carry the trim color over to the garage for continuity.

    As for the front door color, I could not find SW 2915 but take a look at SW 6327 (Bold Brick) since you live in Florida and can support some serious color. As long as it does not clash with your brick color, that bold door shade should be perfect.

    You’re off to a great start!

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Debra Bauer says:

    Hello Carolyn
    We recently bought our 1970s ranch home in the north east. It is currently white with black shutters and we have small front deck.

    We can not paint the house at this point which has aluminum siding as we have already spent money on energy conservation projects.
    Last summer, we painted the front deck with a Cabot stain called Allagash although it came out looking like a much lighter shade called Arboretum.
    It’s a very muted greenish/aqua /color with a bit of grey.

    It has a weathered muted look and contrasts nicely with the roses, peonies that are pink and burgundy and rose colored.

    We do not like the black shutters, the look very bland with the white house and white attached garage.
    I was going to paint the shutters to match the front deck.
    As for the front door which also has a front screen door and white trim around the door, I have been considering the following colors; a plum or eggplant color, a darker teal color, a copper color , a cerulean blue which would pick up in the blue green colors of the deck color or a soft yellow color which was suggested by a friend who said that it would “pop” as opposed to the darker teal which she thought would blend in too much.

    I don’t want the front door clor to make the house stand out in a negative way but I do like the idea of having some pizzaz or at least a sharp contrast. Do you think that the plum/purple or eggplant color would be too much or would I be better off playing it safe and going with the darker teal ton a few shades darker than the deck and shutter color?

    • bmeglis says:

      Hi Debra,

      I would go with the plum/purple for the door. It will look spectacular with your porch color and shutters and will complement the pinks in your garden. Go for it!

      -Barbara
      Your Home & Color Coach

  • Eve O. says:

    Our house is two stories high with one side extending for a garage, very simple, Amish build, you could say… country farm house. It is surrounded by many trees and it overlooks a big pond. The setting of the house is quite beautiful, but the house and the 2 story barn/outbuilding that sits next to the house are not the most exciding to look at. Both structures have metal, dark brown roof. Both are covered with T-11 siding that was stained with SW stain that was called Nutmeg, but looks more like Walnut. During summer when trees are green and my roses /flowers are blooming in shades of pink, the dark brown structures don’t look so bad, but, still, something is missing and it does not feel like me… it needs color.
    My first idea was to refresh the house and barn in the same dark brown stain, but build and add simple 3 boards, farm house shutters and pain the shutters, doors and maybe the steps of our little front porch in maybe like a mossy/olive color or a golden wheat that I used inside of the house. However, the more I look at the house, I am beginning to think that perhaps the entire house and the barn need to be painted in olive or some different color and then paint the shutters and other trim in the rich brown to match the roof.

    I will greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have for me.
    Best Regards,
    Eve

  • Eve O. says:

    Barbara,

    Here is a link to few pictures of our vey BROWN house that I have descibed in the post above.

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2027797&id=1108517470&l=4c6410482e

    Thank you very much for any advice you can give us.

    Eve

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Eve O,

    I agree that the house color could be spruced up a bit but I like the brown barn look. I suggest refreshing the dark brown stain and considering a new color for the trim. Have a look at either Ben Moore’s Tarrytown Green HC-134 for a traditional woodland look or the Affinity Collection’s Dinner Party AF-300 (a wonderful brick red).

    I think adding that much color to the house will really bring it to life. Right now, yes, it’s a bit monochromatic.

    Hope that helps.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Eve O. says:

    Barbara,

    Thank you for the suggestions. I used Personal Color Viewer on the BM’s web site to check out the colors you suggested on a brown house. Each trim color gives a completely different feel. I have to admit, I would have never considered a brick red (Dinner Party) for trim to go with my brown house, but I do like it and I think I like it better than the Terrytown green. The red gives the house almost like a “ginger bread house” feeling to it. I am going to pick up sample size of the two colors you suggested and experiment on the back of my house. 

    Eve

  • Hi, I just thought I would post a comment and inform you that your blogs layout is really screwed up on the Firefox browser. Seems to work OK in Internet Explorer though. Anyhow keep up the great work.

    • bmeglis says:

      Thanks for telling me, Tennessee. I’ll look into that (although this is a hosted blog so I don’t choose the formatting or have any control over it). I use IE so I had no idea! Thanks.

      -Barbara
      Your Home & Color Coach

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