Choosing Colours for an Exterior Colour Scheme

If you’re lucky enough to own a home, it is probably your greatest asset. The first impression that visitors get of your property is the exterior colour scheme, so it needs to be carefully selected given the considerable cost of repainting every 10 or more years.
But it is not just the paint colour that has a major impact on the appearance of a house; the garden, lawn, driveway and fences or walls are also part of the overall presentation and ‘street appeal’.
So how do you start the daunting process of choosing colours to use when there are many different options?
Looking at colour schemes on similar house styles will help you visualise your own home repainted. You can also find inspiration on websites and in design-related magazines. Collect photos and paint swatches in an ‘Ideas Book’ to clarify colour combinations you like, which work well together. Then decide what will suit your home.
You’ll generally need to consider a minimum of three main colours for an exterior scheme; one for the roof, one for the body of the building, and one for the joinery. An additional accent colour can be used to highlight window trim, shutters, doors, fences, and architectural features. Undesirable features or elements such as downpipes can be painted to match the colour of the house so they blend into the background.
If you’re repainting an existing home, your paint options may be limited by the colour of the roof, brick or schist cladding, aluminium joinery, and pre-coloured metal spouting, downpipes and garage door. The challenge is to create a cohesive scheme that pulls the colours together.
Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, it’s time to paint out large samples of each colour in the scheme. Hold them proportionately as they will appear on the house, and view them outside in sunlight and shade.
All colours used on the exterior of a building will look lighter in bright sunlight. Whites and off-whites have a high light reflectance value (LRV) and last longer than darker colours because they reflect most of the sun’s harmful rays.
Darker colours have a low light reflectance value and absorb most of the sun’s heat. This can cause the substrate to warp and damage the surface paint coating, so they are less suitable for large surface areas like the body of a house. Dark colours are best used for accent trim and decorative features which can be easily repainted more frequently.
CoolColour paints are an alternative to standard dark paint colours because they are more durable. Due to their technology they reflect more of the sun‘s energy, and therefore help to reduce the build-up of heat.
When it comes to finalising the colours, aim to achieve a well-coordinated exterior scheme that looks visually pleasing, harmonious and timeless, with no one colour standing out and overpowering the balance.

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