'Tis the Season for Exterior Painting!
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Updating your forever home, or preparing to sell, painting your exterior is a quick and cost effective way to instantly up, and I mean waaay up, the curb appeal of your home. This post was originally published a couple years ago, but it bears repeating, with a few updates added : )
Paint or Stain: The Easiest Way to Upgrade Your Home's Exterior
In this post I want to show you some examples of how much difference a newly painted exterior makes, pretty much on its own.
The perfectly fine but a little bit humdrum home above was transformed with just a fresh coat of paint and a few low-cost upgrades: shutters and window boxes, new house numbers and door. The whole feel of the house is changed. Who wouldn't want to come home to this?
Choosing the Right Colour for Siding and Trim
The basic white colour that many windows and trim come in (and that homeowners often default to, because it seems deceptively like the surest match) is usually too clean and bright for a brick or stone home. This crisp white looks great with homes clad entirely in vinyl or masonite siding:
But most times, it's too stark for a home with the earthier browns and greys found in brick. The white siding and windows look stark and sterile next to the other elements of the exterior, like on the bungalow below. But this is a perfect example of the difference a simple coat of paint can make:
And, ta-dah! Same house, whole new look:
This is a photoshopped version of 'what might have been' (not by me, I found it like this, uncredited--if you know the source please let me know!) The upper section and the window trim are now a more muted tone that harmonizes much better with the brick. Combined with the darker, more modern colour for the fascia and a new door, planter this home has been hugely upgraded.
Creating a Monochromatic Exterior
One of the most popular and current looks for a home these days is a monochromatic look, especially all dark, perhaps grey or navy, or all light, with an off-white or greige. Homes built a few decades ago often have a section of the exterior that is brick, a section that is stone, and yet another section that is siding. And often, all three of these finishes are in colours totally unconnected each other.
Many homes of a certain age show that age in the chopped up feel of their finishes, so distant from the current more pared-down monochromatic look. Below are a few examples of homes that are in good condition, and probably very solidly built, having been constructed many decades ago in the 'good old days'.
To today's eyes they might seem a bit busy in the composition of their finishes, looking almost cobbled together from several homes:
Painting the brick and siding of these homes in a colour that is close to the tones in the existing stone would really allow that stone to sing as the star of the show, plus the homes would feel more unified and classic. If the stone itself is not a colour that you want to pull from, sometimes pulling the colour of the mortar between the stone will tie it all together very nicely.
Painting your older home all in one tone can unite the finishes, totally update the look and feel, and make the house appear larger and less 'chopped up' visually. This home below is a good example:
Painting both the brick and siding in the same light colour gave this home a whole new lease on life.
Here's another example where painting out the whole house in the same colour, this time a darker one, completely refreshed the whole home, lending it a classic and stately feel:
What a difference, right?
It's not only older homes that can benefit from painting over the brick and/or siding: homes constructed during any of the last few decades might have a very busy brick that's a bit overwhelming; a unifying coat of paint would help calm that business down.
And even if you live in a newer home, you may find it has brick, stone and other finishes in undertones that are not necessarily flattering to each other.
The brick and stone in this house below look great together with a shared pinky-plum undertone, but the stucco on the window has a green undertone that looks like it doesn't belong with the rest of the house.
This is a beautiful home that could be even more beautiful with stucco in the same undertone as the rest of the house.
When I walk around my neighbourhood now, I often see homes whose owners have taken the leap, and I love seeing the transformations, imagining how happy the people who live in these homes must be each time they arrive home at the end of the day: a brand new house! Paint can do a lot of heavy lifting.
More Tips for Choosing Exterior Colours
If you're considering updating your house with paint or stain, take a look at any existing stone in order to pull out the same undertones in the paint colour you choose--it needs to relate to the other surfaces.. Another thing to remember when selecting colours for an exterior is that colours become waaay lighter and brighter when they are outside and painted on something the size of, well, a house. If you're looking for the overall feel of a white house, don't opt for a bright white paint chip; you' be better to go with an off-white or a greige. Once up on your house though, it will read overall as a white, with a bit of softness to it. And always test it in a large section on your home, in various lights, before making the final call!
Also, if your house is all siding, take into consideration your window trim: if it is a stark white as opposed to an off-white or taupe for example, selecting a somewhat fresher colour as opposed to muted or muddier will look best. And remember to take into consideration the colour of your roof, if it is staying, as well.
Cruise your neighbourhood (and the internet) to get an idea of the look you might want; if you have stone, finding an example that has the same undertones in their stone as your own home will help guarantee success.
If you have done these things and are still unsure what the right choices for your home would be, call me! I love a good before and after ; )
Until next time,