Exterior Paint Colors Can Be Hard Choices

Red Tile Roof and Light-Colored Stucco
Red Tile Roof and Light-Colored Stucco. Photo by J.Castro / Moment Mobile / Getty Images (cropped)
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New Palette For a Square Stucco House

Square Stucco House, front and side views
Square Stucco House, front and side views. Photo courtesy of the homeowner, Amy E

Exterior house paint color choices are decisions we all have faced. Over the years our readers have shared their homes with us—in a "what color should I paint my house?" kind of way. Here are some of their stories, a continuation of the series that began with Colors for a Raised Ranch.

But here we have Amy E and what she calls her Craftsman style foursquare. The house was built in 1922 and is currently white stucco with a lot of teal blue trim. There are awnings for the house in a salmon/blue stripe, but Amy doesn't use them because they rob light from the interior of the house.  But they look good. The exterior does need some type of detail like awnings, especially the side facing the street. The roof is green and needs to be replaced. Their next door neighbor has a green house with red trim. Other neighbors have brick homes. Does any of that matter?

The Project?  We plan to paint the entire house this summer including the trim. I am thinking there is too much blue. I would be willing to go with an entirely different color pallet. What do you think?

One solution is the yellow palette of colors. Yellows invite the sun and go with your green-colored neighbor. And then capture the green for your own trim, if the shade is right. Remember to coordinate the roof with the neighborhood, including your own home.

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New Siding for an Arts & Crafts Home

Homeowner's Toledo Foursquare in 2005 and circa 1937
Homeowner's Toledo Foursquare in 2005 and circa 1937. Photo courtesy of the homeowner, gamegrrl

A proud homeowner who calls herself Gamegrrl owns this 1909 Foursquare with Arts & Crafts touches inside. The shingles are Owens-Corning "Brownwood".

The house  in Toledo, Ohio is currently covered in wide, white aluminum siding. Trim is all white or dark red. There is brick on the lower front of the house (below the porch), as well as below the siding all around the house. Some has been painted white and some red. The house originally had shakes on part of upper portion, but the owner doesn't  like the look of "two kinds of siding" (shakes and traditional clapboard).

"I don't want a huge visual disconnect between the exterior and interior," says Gamegrrl. "We've stripped and refinished all the beautiful oak woodwork and revealed the hardwood floors."

The Project? We plan to go with vinyl siding (because of cost, and low upkeep) and do not want the house to be white. We really like "nature colors," and particularly milk chocolate or similar as the main color for the house. I like the colors Sage and Dusk. I'm pretty sold on the light to medium chocolatey-brown for the main walls of the house, and would like trim advice. I've recently read that dark trim makes a place look smaller, which I don't want to do. I am open to different suggestions for the primary color, but will need convincing. We're lost as to what should be done with the nice, wide concrete steps up the front porch, as well as the "sidearms", or whatever they're called :-)

Architecture Expert Advice:

Congratulations for restoring the woodwork in your Arts & Crafts foursquare house. It's a lovely home and really does deserve the best. For the exterior of an Arts & Crafts home, browns and other earth colors are always an attractive and historically appropriate choice. Brown color schemes can include green and mustard, red brick color, and, of course, white.

KP Building Products manufactures vinyl siding "inspired by America’s most beloved artist, Norman Rockwell." The Norman Rockwell Color Palette may have many of the color combinations you're looking for. You may quickly regret installing vinyl siding, however. Even the best quality vinyl will look out of place on your wonderful 1909 house. As an alternative, you might consider easy-to-maintain cedar siding stained a natural brown. Another affordable alternative is fiber cement siding, which closely resembles natural wood. Of course, fiber cement and cedar shingles are just two of many exterior siding options. There's also the possibility that when you remove the old aluminum siding, you'll find the original siding still intact. In that lucky case, you can save a great deal of money simply by scraping and painting.

And how do you remove exterior paint? Safely.

Other color combinations that have been mentioned are Gloucester Sage or Chocolate Sundae Benjamin Moore colored paint on cedar shakes. It goes great with cream trim or a shade of vanilla.

If the shake and clapboard siding are a little too much together, consider covering the upper front facade of the house with stucco. Leave the bottom with siding to go with the sides of the house. With the brick entrance you can create an interesting visual effect.

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New House With a Blue Roof

New House With a Blue Roof
New House With a Blue Roof. Photo courtesy of the homeowner, DARL1

Darl1 has a blue roof. The owners need to choose paint for the entire house because it's new construction. But, what color would be a good match for the roof color?

Architecture Expert Advice:

This is a good example of how roof colors influence the color combinations chosen for the entire house. The sky blue color on your eaves is lovely! But, beware of adding more blue to the exterior siding. Too much blue could be overwhelming. Instead, consider painting the siding a neutral shade like gray or cream. Spend time browsing house color charts, and be sure to try a small sample before painting the entire house. Consider what it is that gives a house character.

Besides the roof, what else should you consider?

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Your Citation
Craven, Jackie. "Exterior Paint Colors Can Be Hard Choices." ThoughtCo, Aug. 9, 2021, thoughtco.com/changing-your-house-color-more-advice-178295. Craven, Jackie. (2021, August 9). Exterior Paint Colors Can Be Hard Choices. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/changing-your-house-color-more-advice-178295 Craven, Jackie. "Exterior Paint Colors Can Be Hard Choices." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/changing-your-house-color-more-advice-178295 (accessed March 24, 2023).