Paint — published on September 4, 2009

Painting for Curb Appeal

Trump architectural challenges and give your facade dimension with color

Curb appeal is not just about turrets or colonnades adorning your home’s exterior; it’s about flaunting what you’ve got. For those of us who didn’t inherit a Frank Lloyd Wright, we have the tips and tricks to give your facade architectural dimension without the architect. Our trick? The powers of paint. Here are suggestions about how to fix up a facade of your home with a fresh coat of paint. Whether you have a bland box structure or intricate detail that deserves attention, this information will help make your home the gem on the block.

How Can I…

Make my house facade more interesting?

If you want to make your home look more visually stimulating, start with painting shutters, doors, flower boxes and porch furniture. When choosing your accent color, make sure to pick one with a mixed hue, like a navy or green with black overtones—the color will change throughout the day, and add a sense of mystery and intrigue. You can make the house really reflect your personality by using colors that change from whimsical to sophisticated all in the span of 24 hours.

Downplay my front-facing garage?

Shift the visual focus. Direct the eye away from dominating garages by painting doors and exterior accents on the opposite side of the house with strong colors. If you have very large garage doors, consider painting them a lighter or darker variant of the main color of your house. This will make the doors look interesting but keep them from dominating the front façade. Remember when confronting this problem, that you ultimately want a house that says, “An interesting person lives here”—not one that says, “Three cars live here.”

Make small windows appear larger?

Make small windows appear larger by painting the window trim a light color to increase the feeling of light. Opt for a color that will contrast from the main body color of your house. Essentially, windows are “the sparkle in the eyes” of every home. People really relate to windows, so it is important to maximize their appearance.

Stand out behind the growth of our landscaping?

To overpower your fauna—instead of letting it overpower you—look for colors that will pop against the natural landscaping (i.e. no shades of green). Gratefully, most colors will complement most landscaping. As a side note, landscaping can be a great way to balance the front of the home or even cover up clumsy architecture.

Manipulate the size?

When painting your home, take into consideration that lighter hues will make a home feel larger, while darker hues downplay a home’s dimensions. For example, is your home too tall? If so, pick a body color in two different shades—the darker for the bottom, and the lighter for the upper level. The darker color will ground the home, giving your home a sense of solidity. The lighter color will pick up where the dark one left off, adding a lightness to the overall look and feel.

Bring it all together?

The last thing you want is a home that has colors that are all over the place. To bring everything together, start with the elements you know you won’t be changing (your roofing, brick, stonework, awnings, and landscaping). Then tackle the issue of selecting the color you will be using the most of (usually, this would be the body color, but on a brick home, it would be the trim). Next, based on intuition and your previously considered criteria, choose your accent colors. Following a distinct process like this will keep you from choosing unharmonious paints.

Written by James Martin

Paint — published on March 18, 2008

Curb appeal can depend on colour

Is ho-hum paint chipping away your home’s curb appeal? Exterior colors can showcase a home’s best features – and welcome potential buyers – if chosen carefully.

Here are a few tips for selecting paint colors that complement your home’s style.

Consider the architectural style. While Victorian-style homes work well with four or five colors, other styles such as Georgian and colonial look best with just a main color and one or two accent colors for the trim, shutters or doors.

Consider the construction material. Wood, brick, masonry and aluminum siding go well with virtually any color. Vinyl siding, however, should be painted to match the original color, although some new paints, formulated to work on this surface, are available in a wider range of colors.

Complement “fixed” colors. Choose a shade that looks good with exterior materials: roof shingles, stone, wood accents or bricks.

Consider your neighbours. The color of your home shouldn’t be the exact shade as your neighbours’; nor should it clash. Don’t forget to take into account the colors and undertones of plants in your landscaping.

Paint — published on March 5, 2008

Choosing exterior paint colours

Give your home instant curb appeal and create a great – and lasting – first impression.

Your house is your public face; if you make a mistake when you paint the outside, the whole neighbourhood will know. Also, in terms of labour and cost, repainting the exterior is a far more involved proposition than doing an interior room. Fortunately, finding the perfect exterior colour scheme really just means doing a little extra homework first.

There are some rules of thumb and a number of new resources to get you started. Many designers offer colour consultations at a reasonable fee or even specialize in this art; check the Yellow Pages or local interior design associations, or ask at a paint store. And both Para Paints and General Paint have created software that allows you to scan in a photo of your home and “paint” it any colour the company offers. If you don’t want to buy the actual software, some General Paint stores offer their service for a fee.

Whether you choose to consult professionals or rely on your own eye, there’s a big difference between interiors and exteriors: in a word, it’s context. It’s not necessarily what you might like – it’s what goes with your neighbours’ houses.

Dos and don’ts

Do test colours on bristol board. Outside light changes during the day and seasonally, and can dramatically affect a colour’s appearance.

Do consider neighbouring houses; your home is part of the overall streetscape.

Don’t use white as trim on a house with unpainted brick; it’s outdated and artificial looking. Rich neutrals that complement the tone of the wall material enhance its natural beauty.

Do paint trim white on a house whose exterior is a neutral or rich colour – it gives a crisp, fresh look.

Don’t paint vinyl siding a much darker colour than its original shade – one or two shades darker is fine, but not more. Unlike metals and wood, which can accept any colour with the proper surface preparation and primer, the increased heat absorption of dark colours can cause vinyl to buckle or warp, ruining an expensive paint job.

Don’t paint your house yourself unless you’re experienced; a professional job is worth the investment.