Many of you read my Favorite Interior Paint Colors blog post (here) a few weeks ago and I got some really great feedback saying that it was helpful! So today, I wanted to share a general overview about exterior finishes and my tips on how to select the right look for your home. Exterior finishes can be really hard and I get asked quite frequently for my advise on colors, materials, finishes, etc. It can be a lot to nail down and with so many home styles out there, each home is unique in what the needs may be. But, there are some general things to know and reference if you are building or renovating a home… so that’s what we are going to cover today.
Pick Your Trio
“Pick Your Trio” is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind in terms of finishes. The idea is to have a trio of main finishes or colors incorporated into the exterior of your home… you’ll need at least 3 most likely, but try not too have too many more than 3-4. So, for example, in terms of paint you would have a main house color, trim color, and then an accent color (i.e. color for shutters, front door, or other spacial decorative features). In terms of materials you may have brick, siding and cedar shakes…. or maybe its stone, painted brick and siding. It is ok if your plan calls for more than 3 materials or paint/stain colors… but the idea is to use a select variety without using too many elements which might lend itself to making your exterior look too busy.
Note: I do not include the roof shingles into this Trio consideration unless your roof is meant to be a real feature in your exterior plans- for example a cedar shake roof or Spanish style terra cotta tile.
Also… same goes with metal elements… I don’t necessarily count bronze awnings or drain pipes into the trio of the finish elements. These can absolutely add to the look and overall curb appeal of your home though.
Types of Building Materials
Here is a list of exterior elements to consider and my favorite methods in which to treat them:
Brick: natural, white washed or painted. If natural, consider a brick type that is tumbled - meaning less perfect and uniform - with a slightly more dark red/brown tone as to avoid looking too orange.
Stone: natural. Laid in fieldstone or cobblestone method
Cedar Shake: natural (sealed), painted or stained. Cedar shakes will patina nicely overtime if left natural and sealed
Wood Siding: Bevel, shiplap or tongue and groove. Painted - see exterior paint colors cheat sheet below
Drain Pipes: Bronze or copper, otherwise try to match house color as close as possible to blend in. If you have to have downpipes in prominent places on the front of your house, consider using drain chains.
Roof: Cedar shakes are gorgeous. If using standard shingles, Georgetown gray is one of my favorite color options.
Doors (front and garage): Stained or painted. See exterior paint colors cheat sheet below
Exterior Paint Colors
In regard to exterior paint colors there are many different combinations that look amazing! It all depends on the overall look you are going for. Below is are some “cheat sheets” with tips on how to choose your exterior paint color combinations and also a list of some of my favorite paint colors for exteriors. I tend to think that paint colors with more muted undertones make for the best exterior colors - Benjamin Moore’s Historic Colors collection is a great place to start. Painting your front door or shutters is a good way to add a little accent color to your exterior. I also love painting the ceiling of a front or back porch as a subtle way to add some interest. Or Adding some fun front door hardware - like a cool vintage knocker, antique house numbers or antique mailbox is a great way to add a touch of personality! Exteriors are tricky and it is definitely worth consulting an architect or designer if you are doing a large scale renovation or new build, but hopefully this overview will help you feel ready for the next steps ahead in your journey!