By Naomi Findlay
Have you ever walked past a house and thought, “what were they thinking when they chose that colour?!”.
Your design taste is on show before anyone even steps foot inside your house; it begins on the kerbside. Inside, you have the freedom to express your personality and creativity in each and every room, but your outside colours should highlight the most beautiful features of your home while getting along with everyone else’s.
Before you pick up that paint brush, here are a few tips to ensure your neighbours aren’t running to detox their eyes from a particularly offensive shade of baby blue.
Take cues from the architecture
Your exterior colour palette should feel appropriate to the style of your home – be it a Californian bungalow, Queenslander, Art Deco or modern duplex. Draw on the unique architectural elements – such as the character, details, textures and original colours – to showcase the history of your home.
You can choose to go against the grain, but historically accurate colours will not only enhance the street appeal of your home, they will also enhance resale value. That doesn’t mean you have to adhere to strict historical guidelines (unless your council specifies it), but a Mediterranean colour palette on a Victorian terrace will just look jarring.
Use existing elements
Unless you are planning a major exterior renovation, you should always take the existing details and materials of your home into consideration. Work with the current colour and texture of the roof, driveway and stonework, as these are the hardest (and most expensive) to change. For example, some bricks are a deep red, others a bluish brown; coordinate paint so that it matches the undertones of those materials. If the bricks are warm, stay warm!
Blend in with the environment
The colours of the natural greenery and surrounding landscape should harmonise with the exterior colours of your home – there’s a reason Hamptons style colour palettes work so well in coastal locations! Coastal homes take inspiration from the sand, water and sky with soft shades of white, tan, blue and yellow.
The same thing applies with neighbouring homes. Most home exteriors are neutral for a reason. Your community most likely has some sort of colour scheme already in place; find the balance between being unique in your selection and blending in beautifully with the other homes on your street.
Choose three different shades
Think of your exterior colour scheme as three pieces of a puzzle that come together to form one beautiful façade. Your main colour choice should cover (and complement) the brick/timber/render. Ideally, the windows, railings and roof edgings should contrast against the main colour. If that main colour is a dark grey, then a stark white will frame the home beautifully (or vice versa).
The front door is your opportunity to add a dash of personality and flair to an otherwise understated colour scheme. Just make sure that if you do choose to paint the front door a plum purple, you keep it confined to the door – there’s a difference between creating a little ‘oomph’ and having your home look like a life-sized doll house.
Try before you buy
Never rely on paint swatches alone. Colour shades can vary significantly from the way they appear on a swatch (Jen recently learnt that the hard way– luckily it was just an interior space!). Painting the whole exterior of your home and then realising it was the wrong colour with be a very time-consuming – and expensive – exercise.
Also, remember that different paints come in different finishes – the main ones being high gloss, semi-gloss, satin and flat – which can alter the way the colours you choose will look.
Buy a sample pot and test it on an inconspicuous area. See how it looks in different types of light and under different weather conditions. This way you can determine whether you’ll be happy with the choice for years to come.
If you’re still stuck on choosing the right colours, consider asking the advice of a colour consultant – check out this budget makeover to see how handy a colour stylist can be!
—–Australia’s rapid renovation expert, Naomi Findlay is an internationally renowned renovator, award-winning property stylist and speaker. She’s an industry leader in creating healthy wealthy spaces and creating wealth and profit from renovating property.