How to Choose Exterior Colors

The first in a series about exterior color selection.

Even those not inclined toward color design have chosen colors for interiors, even if it was to paint the bedroom black in the throes of teenage angst. Interior colors, in addition, have the advantage of being in discreet spaces, in areas of defined purpose, and private. If we choose to paint our bedrooms black now, no one need be the wiser. And when we rethink our raven walls, changing them back to a lovely dusty rose is a relatively simple, inexpensive undertaking.


Exterior color palettes, by contrast, are notoriously tricky. Even the smallest house is large, it is visible to everyone, and the consequences of bad choices tend to linger. It is simply too expensive and time-consuming to repaint, in most cases. Little wonder, then, that there are very few professional colorists who even do exterior palettes, given how high the stakes are, and how little training there is in the matter. Homeowners are often left with these hard decisions with little guidance, or the dubious advice of a person I like to refer to as “the artistic friend”. The artistic friend (or relative) is almost always well meaning, but often simply reiterates a collection of inflexible “rules” he or she has either acquired or made up over the years. Never use black! Always use black! Never use more than two colors! Always use more than two colors! It's enough to make your head spin.


Unfortunately, or fortunately, there are few, if any, hard and fast rules when choosing colors for the exterior of your home. I offer instead a series of questions and concerns that you might like to consider while making these choices, and with any luck, you'll find the palette that works for you. TigerOx Painting works in the Twin Cities metro, so my comments toward choosing colors are geared toward that location.