Selecting the Right Exterior Paint Colors

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Rip and I have a wonderful client, (and she’s quickly become a dear friend!), who asked us to help her with some interior and exterior projects for her new home. Once we had the initial walk through, Rip and I were both ready to get started.

One of the projects on her To-Do list was to improve the exterior of her house by giving the landscaping some refresh. So, all the shrubs and trees were manicured and the flowerbeds had all the existing pinestraw removed. After all the debris was hauled off, a vinyl barrier was placed in all the flower beds to help keep out growing weeds. Then, several trailer loads of dark brown nugget mulch was placed in all the beds. Having a rich dark brown mulch made all the landscaping just pop!

Next, the entire home needed painting, refinishing, and some electrical work by replacing rusted white exterior can lights with new bronze can lights.

These 1st two photos show the house the day we arrived.  The stucco was a warm beige that had signs of having been worn and weathered with discolorations here and there. The posts were cracked, sun-scorched and rough to the touch. The trim was also a “brownish tan” color, but the window grids that are inside the glass were a light taupey gray. We were hoping to bring more cohesiveness to the entire front appeal for her.



The first step was to get in touch with our painter, Israel Louis, and ask him to provide an estimate to paint all the stucco, all the trim, and refinish 15 posts. (There are more posts in the back where there is a screened in porch and an upper level veranda porch. We will show the before/after photos of the backyard when we have that project completed.)

Rip refinished all 6 solid mahogany doors (and did a beautiful job, too!) Also, after the homeowner had her wood fencing pressure cleaned, Rip re-stained both sides of her fencing to give it a fresh new look. (You will see that in the AFTER photo)  While he was refinishing doors, I came to the house while he was there one afternoon to hold some paint samples against the stucco, the trim, and the garage doors so that I could stand waaaaay back and determine which of 3 colors would work best.

Choosing a paint color for the home is a major decision primarily because if the color selected is ‘wrong’, the cost to correct it is significant. It’s not just a room, but an entire exterior of the first thing you see when you drive onto any property. So, the most important step to keep in mind is this – to never make a hurried decision.

When it comes to selecting the right colors, for example, for this home there were several elements that we needed to consider:

  • We looked at the permanent tile flooring at the front door and all around the house on the porches. The tiles were a deep marbling of grays, browns, and dark rust colors. So, that meant the colors of the house needed to be sure to work with the exterior flooring and not clash.
  • Also, in selecting the right colors it’s important to look at the samples of paint in the sunlight and on a cloudy day. Just lighting alone can make a color look completely different. The color may look like it would work perfectly on a cloudy day, but once it’s a sunny day that same color could look too bright and intense. And if it looks great on a sunny day, but then looks a little dull and dingy when it’s cloudy…then both scenarios are an indication that it is not a color that would work. You want to find the color that looks ‘right’ on a sunny day and on a cloudy day.
  • We also drove around the neighborhood to see houses with color schemes close to what we were considering for our client. Each house stayed within the neutrals of whites, beiges, taupes, and browns. Even the houses with gray tones were still more of a taupey-gray.
  • The other piece to this paint-selection puzzle was the style of her house. It is an Acadian style house and those homes are generally always in the soft neutral-mix of whites, creams, beiges, browns, taupes, and black.

The columns were first filled with stainable caulking in all the deep cracks. Then they applied 2 coats of the selected stain to all 15 posts – English Walnut diluted with mineral spirits. Then they covered all the posts evenly with a clear seal coating in a satin urethane finish.  Semi-gloss or high-gloss urethane would have made the posts too shiny.

The stucco was painted – Stone Hearth #984 (Benjamin Moore)

The Trim was painted – Valley Forge Tan #AC-35 (Benjamin Moore)

The Garage doors and the front shutters were painted – Shenandoah Taupe #AC-36 (Benjamin Moore)

As you can see if you click on the color names, Shenandoah Taupe is just a tad warmer/darker than Valley Forge Tan. They are on the same paint strip of colors when you are using the BM Deck Fan. This is the DECK FAN I use.

The homeowner is so pleased and happy…and that’s why Rip and I love what we get to do each day!


This photo shows the shutters before Rip made her new shutters. They were beginning to rot and were sun-faded so we thought this would be a good time to even provide her with a new style. She liked the look and after he made them, they needed to cure for a month. Then, it was time to paint and hang!


These shutters look so much better!!

I hope this has been helpful and if you are considering painting the exterior of your house – painting brick, stucco, trim, shutters, doors, etc. and you’d like some help, please don’t hesitate to contact Rip and me. We’d love to help you! Simply send an email to:

**The Feature Image is from COLORMAX

Happy Homemaking, Friend!


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lisa rippy

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