We’ve spoken to an outdoor paint expert to make the decision-making process easier to find out her best tips for choosing the exterior hue. Plus, we’ve rounded up some of the best house colour schemes to inspire your selection.
When it comes to creating a beautiful home, colour is an essential reference point. Like artfully applied cosmetics, house paint delivers that vital first impression, working to highlight a building’s best features while concealing its less-than-perfect ones. But painting your exterior is a costly exercise, both in terms of time and money, so you’ll want to choose a scheme that will look great for years to come.
Where To Start When Choosing?
Several factors come into play when planning an exterior colour scheme. First, your home’s setting; every home is part of a wider environment, which will help inform your colour choices. Choosing your colour has a lot to do with the surroundings. If you are close to your neighbours, their homes may impact yours. It doesn’t mean you need to match, but it is good to use similar tones or a contrasting palette to help yours fit in.
Consider Fixed Features
Next, look at the permanent features and existing colours on and around your home that can’t be changed, such as the roof, brickwork, timber joinery or aluminium window framing. The roof and driveway are large areas that carry colour, whether warm-toned brick or cool-toned tiles. The colours you choose need to tone in with these. And finally, the style of the home also needs to be considered, especially if you are in a heritage overlay.
Painting the outside of your home is costly, so from an investment perspective, exterior colour schemes need to have more longevity than the interior. Ideally, you’d want the results to see you through the next decade at least. For this reason, it’s not always a great idea to go too fashion-forward with your colour selections. However, a nod to contemporary styling works wonders to perk up a tired facade.
FAQs About Choosing The Color Scheme For Exterior
While it’s hard to top classic schemes like a warm white, contemporary light greys or even monochromatic, you can easily dress up these safe choices with accent colours by updating the door, a bench or potted plants on the porch.
Helpful tips for how to choose the right exterior house colour:
- View the roofing colour – tiles or Colorbond with your chosen colours.
- Understand the window colour if existing (powder coat) and cannot be updated.
- Will the garden driveway or path pavers affect the overall colour scheme?
- What features would you like to focus on from the front of your home? Fretwork, front door, entrance?
- Are there dominant bricks or stones that you need to work with regarding undertones? Ie. Do they throw brown, grey or red?
- Does your fence colour need updating? You will consider the surrounding fence as part of the overall scheme.
- Do you have an entertainment space in your yard that you would like to highlight and add an accent colour?
Many think of colour in the home as a huge commitment, which is why so many of us opt to paint walls white or neutral shades. But colour is one of the easiest ways to add personality to a space. Whether it’s on the walls, in the furniture, or within decorative elements, colour is very easy to change around should you begin to tire of seeing the same hues.
Begin At The Bottom
When compiling a colour palette, it’s useful to first think about your flooring. Your floor will dramatically influence your colour choices and, in turn, impact how you use textures, tones, accents, and even artwork. Once you choose your flooring, you can work in complementary or contrasting fabric colours for curtains and furniture, tiling, rugs and other styling elements.
Then Move To The Top.
While the traditional white ceiling is really popular, there are no hard and fast rules on ceiling colour. A non-white ceiling can draw the eye up at once, but darker tones can also make a room feel enclosed. One solid tip for home colour schemes is always to use a matte finish when painting ceilings – gloss paint shows up with small imperfections, so it’s almost impossible to get a seamless look.
Bring The Walls To Life.
A good way to unify the colour selection for your house is to use one colour on all the walls. However, if you can’t resist using different colours – particularly for feature walls – then make sure they match tonally. It’s best to avoid clashing colours even if they are at different ends of the house.
Skirt Around The Issue
Skirting boards invariably take a beating over time, so use enamel paint for durability. White always looks great, but the same colour on the skirting boards is a good option if you are using light colours on the walls.
Ensure you don’t select the exterior colour under interior lighting or inside – this can dramatically affect the true colour. To get an accurate impression, selecting the exterior colour outside would be better, but not in full sun. Also, ensure that you look at the colour in a large A4 sample or sample pot and view the wall or fence colour vertically, as the light can affect how the colour appears.
Understand the undertones of any exterior elements of the home which cannot be changed, such as bricks, tiles or pavers. Then use Sample Pots to test your colour selections next to your bricks, tiles and pavers – it is critical to understanding whether the undertones work well together. Finally, and most importantly, don’t rush the process. Make sure you give yourself at least three days to make your final decision, so you get used to a potential dramatic colour change. So now that you’ve got the best advice in the business, here are some of the best exterior colour schemes to choose from.
Pick a house colour you like, and go a couple of steps lighter or darker on the swatch card to find your coordinating hue.
Add A Pop Of Primary Colour.
Use vibrant hues to add personality and accentuate architectural details like the front door, trims, and letterboxes.
Shades Of Grey
From pale to opaque, warm to cool – shades of grey are a popular, modern choice for house exteriors. The colour has longevity and versatility, suiting almost every home style—highlighting architectural details with crisp white colour.
Give your home a natural, calming feel with green hues like sage.
White And Bright
Keep things fresh and simple with a striking all-white exterior. Architectural lines are a must to add texture. You may think it is a safe option, but choosing white for your walls doesn’t guarantee chic. Why? Because there are just as many shades of white as there are any other colours, and they won’t all suit your place. Before choosing your shade of white, note the amount of natural light in your space and the undertones in your decor and furniture and then consult a paint professional for their advice.
You Are Not Taking Your Home’s Architecture Into Account.
Your Pinterest board may reflect your love of the ’70s aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean orange and brown hues will suit the icy blue carpets in your modern terrace abode. Consider your home’s architecture before making any drastic colour decisions. There are other, more nuanced ways to inject your favourite style decade into your space.
Choosing A One-Dimensional Paint Finish
A handful of paint finishes can all do different things for your home. Reflective finishes like Marmorino are a great way to bring light into darker interiors, while matte shades can help to subdue an overly bright space. Do your research; all the main paint players now offer more than just flat paint and carry speciality finishes for a more textured approach to your interior scheme.
Create An Exterior Colour Scheme
While you want your home’s facade to stand out against others in the street, you’ll want yours to make a chic and refined statement. The tips below will help you choose a colour scheme for your front and rear home exterior.
Keep It Personal
There are no hard and fast rules when choosing colours for your home’s exterior. Colours for your exterior are a personal choice and often depend on other existing elements your home has, such as exposed brick. To personalise your home, you can easily add a pop of colour to your front door and play with coloured pots on the decking or verandah.
Three Colour Rule
Never use more than three colours on the exterior of your house – one for walls, one for trim and one for accents. They should match tonally so that they complement each other. Three colours are enough to coat, outline and accent your house.
Beige Is Not Boring.
Neutral colours tend to work best on exteriors. They blend in well with the streetscape, keep the neighbours happy and look stunning when used in the right combination. Many exterior colour schemes are based on natural and earth-based colours. Warm greys and darker charcoal are good ideas, which look beautiful against many bricks, stones, and the garden’s greenery.
Down To Earth
Colours inspired by our own sunburnt country are inherently appealing in any setting. A palette of earthy hues takes its cues from the colours of the surrounding landscapes. Build the look with layers of warm ochres, slate grey and rich browns, incorporating tactile elements of timber, brick and stone. This type of colour scheme is easy on the eye and can add warmth and interest to the stark lines of contemporary architecture. While there’s no rule around the number of colours to include in an exterior house palette, three to four is generally sufficient. Don’t forget to include the colours of the roof, driveway and any other substrates such as brick walls, feature stonework or timber joinery in your number count.
This Newcastle home plays off two base colours, while the grey guttering and roof trim tie back in with the driveway. Build an earthy palette using colours that are tonally similar, or choose colours that are different but played out at the same saturation level or strength. Wattyl’s Red Centre palette, which features a combination of desert-red ochres, sunset purples and rich browns, or Dulux’s Botanical Life palette, are great starting points.
Match Colours To The Era
It always looks great if your colour scheme matches the architecture and era of your home. It’s easy to find inspiration online or around the neighbourhood. But if you want to follow the traditional hues of Victorian or Federation houses, your local council should be able to advise you.
Classic yet thoroughly modern, a simple black and white scheme can deliver a high-impact facade. The most contemporary treatment of this colour scheme is to use generous portions of each colour – 50/50, 40/60 or 30/70 – and apply it in blocks. Use the contrast in colours to visually sculpt the building, highlighting bold architectural elements or different substrates. A less challenging but equally assertive technique is to team white walls with black accents. The high-definition contrast showcases your home’s architecture.
If graphic black and white are too austere for your liking, soften the look with timber, stone or even rusted metals. Black or charcoal paired with white is also a visually arresting choice for heritage-style and weatherboard homes. A popular look at the moment is to have the weatherboards or main colour in a darker grey with a crisp white on trims, windows and features. A vibrant dash of red can finish the scheme and give the exterior a contemporary look.
- Tip: Black and white sound are easy, but natural light can do all sorts of colours externally. Be careful to identify undertones; some whites can be very warm and appear cream when you want a warm white. Blacks can often have a blue or red undertone that is only noticeable when the colour is applied to large external walls.
How Colour Can Trick The Eye In The Home?
Colour selections in the home can do wonders to elevate your space. You can trick the eye into making your home feel larger and cosier. Here’s how.
Make A Space Feel Larger.
When decorating a small space, consider using lighter colours on the wall and ceiling to make the room seem bigger and brighter.
Make A Space Feel Cosy.
If you have a small room but love dark colours, it’s possible to have it all without feeling like you’re living in a cave. First, paint one wall with a dark colour – for example, the wall at the head of the bed works well in the bedroom – and use a much lighter shade of the same colour on the other walls.
Bright, Vivid And Light Colour Selections For Your House
Bright colours work wonders to open up your space and make it feel airier. Shades like white and pastels also bring a cool personality and are ideal for spaces with plenty of natural light.
Pretty In Pastels
For timeless elegance, you can’t go past a classic, two-colour palette. Pairing a muted pastel on the walls with white trim looks clean and fresh and is particularly well suited to weatherboard homes. Likewise, picking out window frames, fretwork, and other architectural details in crisp white conveys a Hamptons feel.
This scheme can work for coastal – or country-style homes, too: look to the surrounding environment for inspiration. We like it light and airy, and the Hamptons palettes of light neutrals and soft blues are classic. But, of course, beachside weatherboards carry blue undertones to echo the sky and ocean. On the other hand, the classic country looks may have grey-green eucalypt-inspired shades sympathetic to their surroundings.
- Tip: The sun can wash the colour out, so you can afford to go darker outside than you would inside. It’s also important to ensure you have a nice sharp contrast between the main wall colour and your trim colours.
Know When To Use White
White makes rooms light and airy with a crisp, clean feel. However, whites can be cool or warm, ranging from a yellow-tinged cream to a bluish arctic white. If you’re in any doubt, choose pure white. It works as the perfect backdrop to everything while adding a discreet sense of style. If you change your mind later, it can be easily painted over.
Finishing Touches In Your Home Colour Scheme
Now that you’ve chosen a colour scheme that best suits you and your lifestyle, you can add in flecks of other hues as a finishing touch.
Keep the budding artist in your family happy by painting a feature wall with blackboard paint. The kids can create masterpieces in coloured chalk that can be wiped off with a damp cloth. Then they can do it all over again!
If you want a fire-engine red feature wall, go for it! Trust your instincts and experiment to your heart’s desire. After all, it only takes a weekend and a few cans of white to return walls to their original state.
The sheer number of colour options can leave you paralysed with indecision: which is right for your home? the test pots are your answer. However, sample pots are not enough to recommend sthe testing exterior colour. Lighting plays a huge role outside and will affect how the colours will look on your home. Simply by painting boards and shifting them around your home, you can quickly see how light impacts the colour over the day. You can also see how surrounding colours from other exterior materials such as brick and tiles can affect the final colour scheme.