9 Colorful Books to Help You Choose House Paint Colors

American Bungalow
American Bungalow. Photo by Patricia Harrison / Moment Mobile / Getty Images

Whether your home is new or old, the colors you choose will dramatize (or disguise) architectural details. How do you find a color combination that will bring out the best qualities of your home? These beautifully illustrated books combine inspiration with practical advice. To find help online, be sure to see the resources at the end of this article.

Paint Color consultant Robert Schweitzer shows how to paint bungalow style homes in historically accurate color schemes. Arts and Crafts, Stickley Craftsman, and even Prairie styles are all explored.

Bonnie Rosser Krims Krims promotes herself as an architectural color consultant. Her book, subtitled A Foolproof Guide for Choosing Exterior Colors for Your Home, has gotten mixed reviews, but it just might be the right book for you. 

Since its first publication in 2007, this 336-page book by interior designer Susan Hershman has received a ton of positive reviews. It might be because Hershman is trained in art and interior architecture and obviously knows her colors.

The "painted ladies" in the title refers to highly-colored Victorian houses, specifically a row of homes on Steiner Street in San Francisco, California. Subtitled The Ultimate Celebration of Our Victorians, this book by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen and other titles in the Painted Ladies series include lavish photos of elaborately painted Victorians. Mind you, the colors may not be historically accurate, but they are dramatic and inspiring. Photos by Douglas Keister and the Painted Ladies website tells all.

Benjamin Moore is a company that sells paint, and they want you to be happy about your purchase. Subtitled Inspiring Color Ideas And Expert Painting Advice, this 128-page book is as good as a paint catalog. Many people have had some success with Benjamin Moore exterior paint through there are some not-quite-as-good results. But if you know nothing, Benjamin Moore can get you started.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine was founded in 1922, at the height of America's love affair with the single-family home. Through the Great Depression and the mid-century Baby Boom, the company has been steadfast in providing helpful information about color, siding, roofing, windows, and curb appeal. Really now, who doesn't want a better home and garden?

Long-time Popular Mechanics writer Steven Willson has written about appliances, do-it-yourself projects, and now house trim. At 208 pages, this book from Creative Homeowner may not be a thorough treatment of the subject, but it does get us thinking about the styles of our homes.

Edited by architectural historian Roger W. Moss, Jr., Paint in America is not a how-to, but it's a fine lesson in American history. If you are interested in historic preservation, this hard-to-find book may answer many of your questions. At about 200 pages, the book is not intended to be a thorough treatment of all historic buildings—it does paint with a broad brush, so to speak. Originally published by Wiley, Paint in America may be too academic for the typical homeowner.

The Color Guide for the Interior & Exterior of Your Home by Amy Wax won't tell you what paint to buy, but it will guide you toward color combinations you may not have imagined.


More Resources to Help You Choose House Paint Colors

Books are only the beginning! To learn how color can bring out your home's best qualities, don't miss our resource page, Choosing Exterior Paint Colors. You'll also want to browse this photo gallery of paint color combinations, from historic to jazzy to Frank Lloyd Wright red. Be sure to explore free online color pickers and, if you have an iPhone or iPad, download free house color apps from the iTunes Store.

Most importantly... have fun!  Unlike vinyl siding, paint allows you the freedom to experiment. If you don't like the results, you can always change your mind.