How to choose the right colours for painting your house’s exteriors

Request quote

Invalid number. Please check the country code, prefix and phone number
By clicking 'Send' I confirm I have read the Privacy Policy & agree that my foregoing information will be processed to answer my request.
Note: You can revoke your consent by emailing privacy@homify.com with effect for the future.

How to choose the right colours for painting your house’s exteriors

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
by Painters in Johannesburg
Loading admin actions …

Don’t think that just because you don’t see your house’s exterior façade as often as the interiors that your choice in paint colours is not as important. Remember that, unlike interior colours, your house’s exterior look can affect the entire street. And don’t forget that multiple other factors must also be considered, such as landscaping, hardscaping, your roof’s colour and style, etc. 

Here on homify we always aim to make any construction / design task as easy as possible – and painting your house’s outside surfaces is no exception. So, whether you are DIYing it or as considering calling in a professional Painter, let’s see how to go about picking the perfect colours. 


1. Consider the elements that are more difficult to change

Surfaces like roof shingles and the driveway will still remain, unless you’re opting for a full renovation. So, remember these as you browse through paint colours. 

To avoid picking the wrong colours, look for undertones between those surfaces that can make up your exterior’s palette. Are they warm, such as beige and rust, or cooler like grey and blue? Consider choosing paint colours that can tie these fixed elements together in a stylish, visually pleasing way. 

2. What is your home’s architectural style and era?

From a Queen Anne Victorian to a deliciously rustic bungalow, your house’s design style should be complemented by its colour. 

To make it easier, many paint manufacturers can help with their collections of historically accurate colours, which can give you an excellent jumping-off point. Of course you don’t have to abide by these guidelines (unless your neighbourhood rules specify otherwise), but also don’t stray too far from them. 

3. Remember the light

Well of Light Modern walls & floors by HYLA Architects Modern
HYLA Architects

Well of Light

HYLA Architects

The sun moves all day, and that’s bound to alter the appearance of your house. And here’s a tip: daylight / sunlight can drastically turn your exterior colours cool / blue. So, pick what you think is an appropriate colour for your house’s exterior, then go 2 – 3 tints warmer! 


4. Collect numerous paint shades

Free Painting Consultation by Painters in Johannesburg
Painters in Johannesburg

Free Painting Consultation

Painters in Johannesburg

An exterior scheme usually has three major parts: 

• field colour, which dominates; 

• accent colour, which accentuate smaller parts like doors and shutters; 

• and trim colour, which is dedicated to window- and door casings, as well as roof edging, railings, and other trims. 

For a perfect paint job, your trim colour should contrast strikingly with the field colour, even though many designers choose monochromatic colour schemes for a super modern look. 

If you have a dark main colour, consider going much lighter (such as white) for the trimmings. A light field colour can look quite eye-catching when combined with darker trim. And if you want to go bold with accent colours, don’t go overboard – a bright red door, for example, will ensure just the right accent, but don’t go splashing that colour onto too many surfaces. 


5. Try it out (in small doses)

Those paint samples / chips are very close to the real thing, but they are not always 100% identical. And since you’re planning on painting the entire outside surface of your house, you want to get it right the first time. 

We recommend buying the smallest can / sample and testing it on an inconspicuous area of your house. See how it changes with the light and weather each passing day before you commit. 


6. Pick your trim- and accent colours

Floreat Residence Modern houses by Moda Interiors Modern
Moda Interiors

Floreat Residence

Moda Interiors

Once you’ve decided on your main field colour, the rest is pretty easy. But remember that when it comes to trim- and accent colours, less is more. Especially when your house has lots of architectural detail you want to highlight. Never paint those shutters and roof angles, for instance, in different colours. That will lead to the eye stopping at the colour and not taking in the architectural detail you’re trying to emphasise.  

Your safest bet is to work off one paint colour strip for the trim- and accent colours to ensure they work together in a harmonious way. Feel free to venture off it for your front door, but not for any other surface. 

For a light-coloured house, go a few shades darker for the trim. And vice versa if your house has a dark main colour. 

And that’s pretty much how you (easily) pick the right colours to paint the outsides of your house!

Just in time for the year ahead, we are revealing Trends 2020: Dulux’s colors for next year!


Are you planning on giving your house’s exterior surfaces a fresh coat of paint? What colours are you leaning towards?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Discover home inspiration!