Exterior Paint Colors



Lighter greens establish a cheery and playful atmosphere. Deeper greens induce warmth and den-like elegance. Eco-consciousness color forecasters tag green as the new “it” color. But be sure to temper your green. A shade too dark and it becomes murky, too light and it ends up looking yellow. Strike the right balance and you’ll evoke a healthy homestead feeling ideal for a country home or forward-thinking urban setting.


We love gray because it’s dependable, sophisticated and soothing. Gray is also very versatile. It pairs well with white for a fresh look and black for a more modern one. Use dark gray shades like slate or cobalt for trim and an über-modern look. We love utilizing gray when highlighting architectural exteriors. Gray and crème is an elegant and classic color combination. Like blue, gray evokes inherent calmness and serenity. Gray is a wonderful backdrop for earth tones and wood. Gray does have a duplicitous nature though. Depending on how it’s used—it can warm you up or cool you down.


White is your get-out-of-jail-free card. You simply can’t go wrong with white. White is the color of purity, clarity, and rebirth. Of course, an overabundance of white can feel hospital-like. So treat your blank white canvas walls to paintings and framed pictures that best reflect your character. Create a “living gallery” of original artwork and photographs. White is the most popular color choice for home exteriors and can augment any interior space as well. Remember white comes in a multitude of hues—from Cottage White to Navajo Sand. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it has to be boring.


Brown creates feelings of warmth and security. Down-to-earth brown and its first cousins coffee and espresso are excellent accents for woods, rattans, and wicker. Window sashes of Victorian homes were often painted darker brown. As well, brown was a frequent flyer house color for Sears and Roebuck bungalow homes of the early 20th century. Use brown cautiously with interiors, too much brown can create a claustrophobic, cave-like feeling.


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The effects of color are often underestimated. We respond to color in both a conscious and an unconscious way. Color holds power. When there’s a house or architectural product that calls to us but we can’t put a finger on why—it’s likely the color. In fact, psychologists say over 50 percent of our initial reactions involve color. Now we even know which colors evoke which mood. Here’s a short primer for you to explore colors and the moods that they inspire:


Yellow produces two opposing moods—happiness and anxiety. Initially, yellow produces joy and hope but if you’re surrounded by yellow for too long it may increase irritability. Because of this yellow may not be the color choice you room in which you spend enormous amount of time. Anxious yellow can be hushed by harmonizing it with other colors.


Like yellow, purple evokes bipolar moods of relaxation and stimulation. Purple is favored by creative-types because it stimulates the imagination and creativity. Purple works well in many space types. Day-dreamy purple is an excellent choice for an artist’s studio. Lavender has been a longstanding favorite color for little girls’ rooms and Tweeners. Elegant, regal purple is also a perfect choice for adult spaces. Purple hues like lilac and deep eggplant are becoming more and more popular city apartments and country homes with sophisticated interiors.


Most of us know that the color red raises strong emotions. Though red is associated with feelings of love, comfort, and sometimes anger (“seeing red”)—overall it creates feelings of strong excitement and intensity. Red is the most dynamic color on the spectrum.   Red’s intensity can be overwhelming at times so it may be best reserved as an accent color.


“Cool blue” has a reputation as a chill-out color for good reason. Above all colors, scientists have found that blue actually produces a calming physiological effect in humans. So, if you have a room reserved for lounging and relaxation consider a soft sky or Cloisonne Blue. Blue also works really well in small spaces, bedrooms, and hallways. Though it seems to be a psychological contrast, studies show that not only are people more relaxed in blue rooms they are also more productive. So blue may also be an ideal color choice for an office space.


More on colors and the feelings they evoke next week…


Some shy away from exterior house colors. Feeling like color is too large of a statement to make on any permanent, public fixture—many choose beiges, bisques, and bone and spite anything that packs a small color-punch. I get it. You don’t want to call attention to yourself. You’d rather live quietly. Mow your lawn on Saturdays. Barbecue on Sundays. You feel like your home is a direct reflection of who you are—and you’re right. However, if you’re on the cusp of choosing an exterior color for your home I’d like you to add another leaf to your decision tree—does your house color match your neighborhood?

The home posted here illustrates my point. This was a 1,700 square feet addition and renovation project on Clay Street in quirky historically-rich Kirkwood. As most of you know, the Craftsman Bungalow is the most prominent architectural home style in Kirkwood. Blue looks really sharp on bungalows and we wanted these wonderful casement windows to stand out. We factored in the artistically-spirited neighborhood and blue was the clear choice. If I had to pinpoint this hue of blue on the color wheel I’d say it belongs somewhere between dusty cobalt and dark pastel. In my opinion the sharp color enhances the definition of the home structure. I really love it. More importantly, so do the home owners.

Next time you choose an exterior home color factor in the personality, history, and feel of your neighborhood. Browse the internet for clues and historical tidbits. Get to know your neighborhood’s personality and the temperament of your street. Discovering the right color for your home can be a fun and interesting journey. And if your exterior color matches your neighborhood you’ll always feel right at home.

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