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Choosing the Right Paint for your Home Exterior

If chosen well, contrasting accent and trim colors can enhance and dray attention to architectural details or disguise design flaws. If selected poorly, paint can make a house seem flat and featureless. If garnished to much the color can overwhelm the architecture. Here are a few pointers to guide you when choosing house paint colors.

There are so many different paint color names, it can become overwhelming. Choosing a paint color becomes even more confusing when you consider that many homes use at least three different shades -- one for the siding and two or more for trim and accents such as doors, railings and window sashes.

The following are a few pointers to guide you as you choose house paint colors.
Historical authenticity is one issue that you may need to be concerned about.
If you are planning to paint an older home, you basically have three options.

•Hire a professional to analyze old paint chips and recreate the original color.
•Refer to historic color charts and select shades that could have been used at the time your home was built.
•You can ignore historical authenticity and choose bright modern colors to dramatize architectural details.

The third option can produce startling and exciting results. But before you do this, it's a good idea to look at what your neighbors are doing and to check to make sure that there are no neighborhood historical restrictions on paint color.
Neighborhood context is another concern that should be addressed. A bright colored Victorian might look great in San Francisco but will seem out of place in more conservative neighborhoods. Even if you are planning a more subtle color scheme, you'll want to make sure that your colors are go well with the houses next door.

The existing colors of your house can have an effect on your color choice. There are some colors already on your home that you may not be able to change such as roof color and mortar color. New paint does not need to match existing colors, but it should coordinate with it.

The interior colors in your home can also have an impact on your exterior paint choice.

It may seem a little silly to paint an entire house based on the pattern of a set of curtains, but this may make more sense than you might think. The color of your furnishings will help guide you in the selection of your interior paint colors, and your interior paint colors will influence your exterior paint color choice. Your goal is to coordinate and harmonize.

Accent colors are an important part to any exterior paint scheme. You may be choosing up to as many as six colors depending on the size and complexity of your home. Choosing colors for trim and details such as shutters, moldings and columns can be tricky because too many colors can overwhelm your house and too few will make it seem two dimensional.

Making use of dark and light colors can help you bring appeal to your house.
Light colored siding will make your house seem larger. Dark siding or trim will make your house seem smaller, but can draw more attention to details. Darker shades are better for accenting recesses, while lighter tones can highlight details that project from the wall surface. On traditional Victorian homes, the darkest paint is often used on the window sashes.

Finding the right balance of harmony and contrast will make your home more appealing.

Contrasting colors draw attention to architectural details. However, extreme contrasts can clash and actually detract from details. To be safe, you should consider staying within a single color family. For some accents, try using a darker or lighter shade of the same color instead of a different color altogether.
Balance is also an issue that should be addressed. If you use a single color on just one part or section of your home, it may give it a lopsided appearance. Try to balance colors over the entire building.
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