How to Choose Exterior Paint

“If you give a mouse a cookie, he will ask for a glass of milk.” Nothing rings more true in the case of us deciding to paint the exterior of our home. It’s not like we necessarily LOVED the orange-brown creamsicle color of our home, but it was not the top priority of things to change. Well, we got this little big puppy named Luna who decided to eat the siding off of our home. No, she didn’t just chew it. She actually ate it. So it goes like this…if your dog eats your siding, you need to replace that siding. And if you are going to replace the siding, you will need to paint that siding. And if you decide to paint the new siding, you might as well paint the old siding too. And if you paint all the siding, you should probably just paint the brick while you’re at it. And when you paint that brick, you should pick a whole new color for everything, including the shutters and the doors. And that, my friends, is how we went from our dog eating our siding to getting a whole new exterior of our home. See what I mean about the mouse and the cookie? Or in our case, a Luna and a piece of siding. Out of control.

As excited as I was when we decided to pull the trigger on painting, I was nervous! How they heck do you do this? What if I hate it? What if my neighbors hate it? It is one thing to pick a new interior color that can easily be changed. It is a whole different story picking an exterior color that is staying, no matter what, because we certainly can’t pay to paint it again.

Now that everything is all said and done…and we LOVE our new hue…I felt like sharing some things I have learned along the way. I am, by absolutely no means, a pro at this. I just hope that it can help some other poor soul, standing in front of all the paint chips, wondering where to start!

{Step One: Find a good painter!}

I cannot stress this enough! Have multiple paint companies come to give you quotes before you settle on someone. Ask around for recommendations from people you trust. When our painter came over, he gave the house a really good once over to make notes about all the prep work, windows, trim, siding replacement/patching, etc. He discussed how important the prep work was and how he was going to pressure wash the house, patch and/or replace siding, fill in nail holes and cracks and even patch our wooden garage door. He talked to us about the type of paint he was going to use, made recommendations for paint colors, and gave us a good timeline of how long the project would take. He was so professional, prompt and had years of experience. Even during the project, he would email me daily to give me an update on what had been finished and what to expect the following the day since I was at work. During a somewhat stressful and potentially pricey project, you need someone you can trust that will get the job done correctly! If you are in the Northwest Atlanta area, I highly recommend Trent Trees for all your painting needs! I have linked his website here if you need him!

{Step Two: Take a good look at your surroundings!}

img_3115Okay, so your paint color is going to change, but unless you are doing a complete overhaul of your home, the rest of your house is not. Make note of the color of your roof and hardscaping of your driveway and sidewalks. Take into consideration your landscaping. Do you live in the woods where greens or browns would blend in but lighter colors would pop? Think about your neighbors home and the color schemes that they currently have. You don’t want to match the house next to yours, but you also don’t want to pick something that clashes with the other homes in your hood. Also, make sure your HOA does not have rules on paint color choices. I took lots of pictures of the outside of my home so I could prepare myself for the next step! As you can see, we have lots of trees and ground cover to take into account.

{Step Three: Pinterest!}

Grab some wine and have a pinning party! Tyler and I pinned probably close to a hundred homes between the two of us when deciding on a paint color. For us, we have a brown roof that was (thankfully!) not going anywhere so we really needed to take this into consideration when choosing a color. Personally, I would type into pinterest “homes with a brown roof” or “paint colors for a brown roof.” This really helped narrow our search. For example, I LOVE a gray house, but with our roof, it really did not look right.

You know how they say, when you buy a red car you start to see red cars everywhere? It’s actually called Baader- Meinhof syndrome for all you nerds like me. Well, you will start to have it. Once we decided we liked a white base color with dark accents and our brown roof, I started to see it everywhere. The best part was, I LIKED it! Okay, color theme chosen. Boom.

Triple Gabled Dormer Windows White house with stone porch steps

I always like houses with porticoes to shelter you from the weather whilst waiting for the door to be answered, it feels so welcoming. I also like screened in porches, to find both on this gorgeous whitewashed cottage is just a treat. Old fashioned day lilies as well. BWE

47 Likes, 2 Comments - Provenance Community (@provenancecommunity) on Instagram: “Newly completed bungalow home at @provenancecommunity! SOLD. We love the gorgeous @bevelo gas…”Images via Pinterest!

{Step Four: White, Blanc, Blanco}

img_2365Paint the house white. Yeah okay, there are about a trillion different “white” paint chips at Sherwin Williams. How on earth do you choose? First, Tyler picked out a paint chip that very closely resembled our brown roof. This helped as we picked up white paint chips because we could compare what it would look like against our roof. We took A LOT of paint chips home. I know it is hard, but narrow it down to about five or six that you think you love. We also did this with the accent color for our shutters and doors. Keep in mind, you can have your paint shop color match to other brands.

{Step Five: Sample!}

Get samples of your top choices and paint them onto your house. I painted two walls along the back of our house so our neighbors wouldn’t have to see our crazy projects unfold. Just like an interior room, you want to look at the paint samples throughout different times if the day. As the sun hits the paint at different angles, the white is going to look different. Also, keep in mind that white is going to be much brighter outside than in an interior room because of the sunlight. For example, the color Alabaster is amazing inside, but outside it was really stark and blinding! When I opened the samples, they really all looked the same, but you can see the differences once they were up on the wall outside.


After I painted the white samples, I painted the accent colors onto a piece of wood so I could hold them up against the different white choices.



Thankfully, great minds think alike and Tyler and I both liked the SAME base white and the SAME accent color. This never happens ladies and gentlemen. I was so impressed.


Our final choices were Sherwin Williams Shoji for the base color and trim and Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore for the shutters and doors.

{Step Six: Let the Magic Unfold!}

Hand over your choices to your painter and let them do their thing! I will be sharing “in-progress” project pictures and “before & after” pictures in my next post…stay tuned!!






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