July 31, 2012

Exterior Colour Selections


I find the most common question when helping clients with pre start consults for their new homes is how can we be sure our exterior colours will work. You will find yourself trawling through pages of magazines hoping someone will mention the colour they have used somewhere in the article to try and help.
Without actually painting the house 1st you just have to trust that your gut tells you its right for you.
Here are a few tips and my tried and tested rules....to get you almost there.....keep in mind I may give you reasons when not to use these tips.....

#1 I like to work from the top down.
Work out the type of roof first (tiles or tin) if building consider the price difference with your builder to help your decision and then the colour or feel ( you also may be restricted by covenants).
Don't forget if renovating there is also the option of tile resprays to your colour preference ...in both tiles and tin.

Light roof tiles versus dark tin...each option means changing more than the roof.
I have changed the window frames, gutters, timber lintel and garage door.
I have kept the downpipe to point out one of my tips further down.

#2 The 4 Colour Rule
You do not need anymore than 4 colours
 (unless you are thinking Retro or traditional) see rule break number 1,  
Your exterior colours should be 60% 30% 10% with a bonus 10% for personalisation
I always think in general terms.....house, gutters and fascias(the flat section under the gutters) and roof.....
you may also need to consider, feature colours and textures such as timber, stone or metal (doors, garage, fences). this would be your 4th maximum colour or personalisation rule.....If you are thinking of introducing anything else, it maybe time to reconsider the mix or just keep it tonal to the colours you have already chosen.

This charcoal, grey and white with the 4th colour being in the texture of the bricks,
notice how the lights by the garage are in the same colour as the brickwork.

Just saying.

#3 Bricks or Render
Next is your decision  of render or bricks, these need to be the 60% and then we can blend back to this main feature of the home. I find if you don't let either one of these dominate the house visually can appear like there is too much going on.....Once you know which of these will take command you can then start to consider features that will personalise.

For me this looks effective but bordering visually busy.
Yes it will stand out amongst the crowd but there is so many features its hard to find a focus.
2 different bricks, 3 feature render colours, timber door and a mix of vertical and horizontal windows.
The feature has been lost in my opinion.

#4 Sampling Colours
Whatever colours you choose ask for a sample pot of each colour choose 2 or 3 maximum.
 Keep in mind the abundant sunshine outside will lighten any colour you choose so make sure you pick a colour slightly darker than you would usually go for.
Unless of course you are using a designer to choose your colours as they will probably take this into account already.
Always use a few large pieces of card and paint them with your sample pots and place them in different parts of your home so you can see how light and shade can effect the colour.
Your colour will also appear different under eaves (shaded areas) or in winter months

Double the size of these sample areas for real effect

#5 Downpipes
You never need to highlight your downpipes, there will always be enough going on in your facade so that you don't need to add another element. Always paint them the same colour as your walls even when your walls are brick you need to help them blend.......unless its a period home the same colour as the eaves is appropriate. If possible the downpipes should have been hidden at time of planning the overall house but if this is not an option we need to blend.

Left: Blending downpipes with a traditional homes brickwork
Middle: Traditional looks can handle feature downpipes this one is done well to blend with the bricks
Right: This downpipe desperately needs to be painted the same colour as the render.

#7 Bringing it together
Have in mind your driveway, plants and fence as part of the overall look. These can be used to blend in your 20% and 10% colours.
For example you have your render, roof and garage door as your 3 colours but want a timber front door well we may need to add timber fence panels or garden slatting to bring the colours all together and make them work.

The rusted finish on the front of the house is made more effective by adding the street number in a similar finish. The greenery in the plants highlights and brings together the other colours in the house fa├žade.
They have some reddish coloured plants along the driveway but they would have been too much if they were planted at the front also.
Therefore the green is the colour to bring everything together.

#8 Don't be too safe
Be careful not to stay to safe when choosing your exterior colours, yes beige or taupe or white is a great backdrop in render colours but you can sometimes play it too safe and then find your house can make no impact on the world....Ok you may not be wanting to impact the world but a piece of personality is placed on your home when you add extra colours and textures

Dont get me wrong both these homes are clean and simple which can suit certain personalites but had there been a little more colour or texture they would make more of a statement.

#9 In Home or E-Design

I can offer a sit down colour consult if you are in Perth, specialising in New Home Builds or alternatively I can offer an online consult for your Home including colour visuals and mood board to support the flow for your home.

This mood board was created for a group of units that all had the same colouring but offered a point of difference in their internals.
If you would like to know how I can help you,
Please email me for a chat regarding your needs.


  1. Great post with some very good tips, thank you!!

  2. great tips! i definitely didn't play it safe with my exterior choices, but I absolutely love the results!


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