What Color Should I Paint My House? A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Hue

Bob Thomas


Choosing the right color for your house can be a daunting task, especially with so many options available.

Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or an experienced painter and decorator, making the right choice is crucial to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

In this guide, I'll share my expert advice on how to choose the perfect color for your home, taking into consideration factors such as your home's style, the surrounding environment, and even your personality.

Quick Summary

To choose the perfect color for your house, consider the following steps: 1) Assess your home's architectural style, 2) Analyze the surrounding environment, 3) Understand color psychology, 4) Test your color choices, and 5) Choose the right paint type and finish. By following these steps, you'll be able to find the ideal color that complements your home and reflects your personal taste.

Assess Your Home's Architectural Style

The architectural style of your home plays a significant role in determining the color palette that will work best.

Traditional homes often look best with classic colors, while modern homes can benefit from bold, vibrant hues.

Here are a few popular home styles and their recommended color schemes:

  • Victorian: Rich, deep colors such as burgundy, forest green, and navy blue
  • Craftsman: Earthy tones like olive green, burnt orange, and warm browns
  • Modern: Minimalist colors such as white, gray, and black, or bold hues like red, yellow, or blue

Analyze the Surrounding Environment

Take a look at your neighborhood and the natural environment around your home.

Choose a color that complements the surrounding area without clashing or blending in too much.

If you live in a wooded area, consider using earthy tones, while coastal homes may benefit from shades of blue, gray, or white.

Understand Color Psychology

Different colors evoke different emotions and can have a significant impact on the overall atmosphere of your home.

For example, blues and greens are calming and relaxing, while reds and oranges are energizing and stimulate the appetite.

Consider the mood you want to create in your home and choose colors accordingly.

Test Your Color Choices

Before committing to a color, it's essential to test it out on a small area of your home's exterior.

Paint a small swatch and observe how it looks in different lighting conditions throughout the day.

This will give you a better idea of how the color will appear on a larger scale and help you make a more informed decision.

Choose the Right Paint Type and Finish

Once you've selected your color, it's important to choose the right type of paint and finish for your home's exterior.

For most homes, a high-quality acrylic latex paint is recommended due to its durability and resistance to fading.

When it comes to finishes, a satin or semi-gloss finish is ideal for exteriors as they provide a subtle sheen and are easier to clean than flat finishes.

Pro Tip: Use a high-quality primer before applying your chosen paint color to ensure better adhesion and a longer-lasting finish.

Safety and Considerations

Be Prepared for the Weather

Before starting any exterior painting project, check the weather forecast.

It's essential to avoid painting during rainy or excessively humid conditions, as this can negatively impact the paint's adhesion and drying process. 

Ideally, choose a day with moderate temperatures and low humidity for the best results.

Choose the Right Paint and Materials

Using high-quality exterior paint is crucial for the longevity and durability of your home's new color.

Look for paints with a good reputation that are specifically designed for exterior use, and make sure they offer UV resistance and are water-resistant.

Additionally, invest in high-quality brushes, rollers, and other painting supplies to ensure a smooth and even application.

Follow Safety Guidelines

When painting your home's exterior, especially at heights, it's essential to follow safety guidelines.

Use a sturdy, well-positioned ladder, and always have a spotter on hand to hold the ladder in place while you're working.

If you're using scaffolding, make sure it's set up correctly and securely. Wear non-slip shoes, and always be aware of your surroundings to prevent falls or other accidents.

Proper Surface Preparation

Before applying paint, ensure that your home's exterior surfaces are clean and in good condition.

Remove dirt, mildew, and loose paint by power washing or using a wire brush.

Repair any damaged areas, such as cracked or peeling paint, and fill in any holes or gaps with exterior-grade filler or caulk.

Proper surface preparation will help the paint adhere better and last longer.

Proper Ventilation

While painting, ensure that you have proper ventilation, especially if you're using oil-based or high-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints.

These types of paints can release fumes that can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities.

Keep windows and doors open, and consider wearing a mask or respirator to minimize your exposure to fumes.

Dispose of Paint and Supplies Responsibly

After completing your painting project, dispose of any leftover paint and supplies responsibly.

Many local waste disposal facilities accept paint and other hazardous materials for recycling or safe disposal.

Never pour leftover paint down drains or into waterways, as this can harm the environment.

Be Mindful of HOA and Local Regulations

Before finalizing your paint color, be sure to check if your neighborhood has a homeowners' association (HOA) or local regulations that dictate specific color schemes or restrictions.

This will ensure you're in compliance and avoid any potential issues down the line.

Consider Hiring Professionals

If you're inexperienced or uncomfortable with any aspect of painting your home's exterior, consider hiring professional painters.

They have the experience, equipment, and expertise to ensure a high-quality and safe paint job.

While it may be more expensive than doing it yourself, hiring professionals can save you time and effort and provide you with peace of mind.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Use Online Tools and Apps

Several online tools and apps can help you visualize your home with different colors.

Websites like Behr's ColorSmart or Sherwin-Williams' ColorSnap Visualizer allow you to upload a photo of your home and experiment with various color combinations.

This can help you narrow down your options and make a more informed decision.

Look for Inspiration

Browse through home improvement magazines, Pinterest boards, or even take a walk around your neighborhood to gather inspiration.

Pay attention to color combinations that catch your eye and consider how they might look on your own home. Remember to consider your home's architectural style when gathering ideas.

Don't Forget About Trim and Accent Colors

When selecting colors for your home's exterior, don't forget about trim and accent colors.

These can make a significant impact on your home's overall appearance.

A well-chosen trim color can highlight your home's architectural features, while an eye-catching accent color can add visual interest and personality.

Consider Your Roof Color

Your roof color plays a significant role in your home's overall color scheme.

Make sure the paint color you choose complements your roof color.

If you have a dark roof, consider lighter paint colors to create contrast, and vice versa.

Don't Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

If you're unhappy with the color you've chosen after testing it on your home, don't be afraid to change your mind.

It's better to take the time to find a color you truly love than to settle for something you're not satisfied with. 

Remember, paint is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to transform the look of your home, so it's worth the effort to find the perfect hue.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q: How do I choose a color that complements my home's architectural style?

  A: Each architectural style has its own unique characteristics and color palettes that work well with it.

Research your home's style and look for inspiration from other homes with similar architecture.

This can help you determine the colors that work best with your home's design and give you a starting point for selecting the perfect color.

Q. How do I decide between a light or dark color for my house?

  A: There are several factors to consider when choosing between a light or dark color.

Light colors can make a house appear larger and more open, while dark colors can create a sense of intimacy and coziness.

Consider your home's size, the surrounding landscape, and your personal preference when deciding between light and dark shades.

Q. Can I use more than one color for my home's exterior?

  A: Yes, using multiple colors for your home's exterior can add depth and visual interest.

Typically, a main color is chosen for the body of the house, while complementary accent colors are used for trim, doors, and other architectural features.

Be sure to choose colors that work well together and don't clash.

Q. How can I test paint colors before committing to a specific color?

  A: One way to test paint colors is to purchase small paint samples and apply them to a small area of your home's exterior.

Observe how the color looks in different lighting conditions and at various times of the day.

This will give you a better idea of how the color will appear on your home and help you make a more informed decision.

Q. How do I choose a color that works well with my roof color?

  A: Your roof color can play a significant role in the overall appearance of your home.

When choosing an exterior paint color, consider how it will look in conjunction with your roof.

Look for colors that complement or contrast with the roof color, depending on the look you're going for.

Q. How can I use color to enhance my home's curb appeal?

  A: A well-chosen exterior color can have a significant impact on your home's curb appeal.

Consider using colors that draw attention to your home's best features, such as a beautiful front door or unique architectural details.

Additionally, choose colors that help your home stand out from the surrounding landscape, while still blending in with the neighborhood.

Q. How often should I repaint my home's exterior?

  A: The frequency at which you should repaint your home's exterior depends on several factors, including the type of paint used, the climate, and the condition of the existing paint job.

On average, it's recommended to repaint every 5-10 years. However, it's essential to regularly inspect your home's exterior and address any issues, such as peeling or fading paint, as they arise.

Q. Should I consider current color trends when choosing a color for my home?

  A: While current color trends can provide inspiration, it's important to remember that trends can change over time.

Instead of focusing solely on what's popular now, consider choosing a color that has lasting appeal and suits your personal taste and the style of your home.


Selecting the perfect color for your home's exterior is a personal and important decision.

By considering factors such as your home's architectural style, the surrounding environment, and your desired mood, you can make a well-informed choice that will enhance your home's curb appeal and reflect your unique style.

Suggested Products:

Color Wheel: The Pocket Color Wheel - A color wheel is a handy tool that helps you understand the relationships between colors, making it easier to choose harmonious color combinations for your house. The Pocket Color Wheel is a portable and easy-to-use option for homeowners.

Paint Samples: Benjamin Moore Color Samples - Testing paint colors before committing is crucial in finding the perfect shade for your home. Benjamin Moore offers a wide range of color samples, allowing you to see how each color looks on your home's exterior in various lighting conditions.

Digital Paint Color Visualizer: Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap® Visualizer - A digital paint color visualizer helps you preview different paint colors on your home's exterior without actually applying the paint. Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap® Visualizer is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to upload a photo of your home and virtually "paint" it with various color options.

Exterior Paint: Behr Marquee Exterior Paint - A high-quality exterior paint ensures your chosen color will last and look great on your home for years. Behr Marquee Exterior Paint is known for its durability, excellent coverage, and fade resistance, making it a top choice for homeowners.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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