How to Choose Exterior Paint Colors

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Thursday, April 18, 2013

Whether you're looking to paint a new or existing home for living, rental or sale, sooner or later you will want to paint the home's exteriors. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to choosing exterior paint colors.

Age of Home & Architecture

The first thing to consider is the age of the home. If the structure is over 100-years old, for instance, it's probably best to keep with a modest color palette. As great as modernist colors look these days, they may not work well on a home built in the early 20th century (or late 19th century). The architecture is different, as are the features, materials, angles, etc. Go for something more classic, whether it's an off-white color or some sort of Earth tone.

If your home is a new construction, feel free to experiment a bit more with color and pairings of colors. If the exterior is sleek and modern, color can enhance it or play it down, depending on your desires.

Environment Surrounding the Home

Look around. Is your home in an urban, rural or suburban setting? If you're home is located on a street dense with homes, you'll want to set it apart but not draw too much attention. Don't go for a gaudy look like pink. Choose something that suits your tastes but won't drive your neighbors up a wall. The same goes for homes in suburban settings.

If you live in the country, on the other hand, consider the Oregon foliage and landscapes, and try to play the colors off of them. For instance, don't go painting your home Forest Green when you live in the forest. A Charcoal color would be great in this type of landscape or even a Red.

Living, Renting or Selling?

Some homeowners don't spend enough time thinking of the future when it comes to the paint job. They are, quite rationally, mostly concerned with the here and now. True, one can always repaint a home, but it's a good idea to arrive at an exterior color selection that can satisfy the homeowners' personal aesthetic and style for several years after the initial paint job.

If you've bought a property and home to rent as an additional source of income (investment property), you'll want to paint the home a color that is broadly attractive. The idea is to find tenants, and that means creating a great look that will attract as many potential renters as possible. This doesn't mean the property shouldn't reflect your taste. It can and should do this, but do keep in mind the tastes of potential tenants and select your color accordingly. (Painters and designers are a great resource here—use them.) The same goes for selling investment property.


As noted before, if you're part of a dense neighborhood, be sure that select a color that represents you but won't make your home an eyesore. You can be unique within reason. Again, painters and designers are a great resource in brainstorming exterior color ideas, so make use of their expertise.  

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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