Exterior Motives: Painting and Curb Appeal 101
By Lou Manfredini
March 8, 2010
While they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, a house could be a totally different story.
The exterior of your home is an investment. Whether you are a new buyer, seller or holding on to your home, your home’s exterior greatly affects first impressions as well as market value. By building an exterior that you could be proud of and is beautiful to look at, you are maximizing that investment.
As a builder, many of my homebuyers make their decisions within seconds of arriving at the new home. Believe it or not, even before people take that first knock on that beautiful oak or mahogany front door, the decision has been made.
Tackling the Exterior Color:
Both the condition and color of a home’s exterior affect buyers’ impressions. Choosing the exterior colors of your home may sound limiting and a bit overwhelming, but today there are so many choices that your exterior colors can be. And, with a little imagination and some terrific accent colors, you can make your home stand out from the rest of the neighborhood and make Ms. Johnson down the street even more envious than she already is.
How to Choose that Exterior Color:
Many of you may be familiar with the term “Painted Lady, ” which refers to older Victorian homes that can have as many as 25 different colors on the exterior. While most homeowners do not live in a home that may require this type of painting style, it’s very easy to get a beautiful looking home with minimal maintenance requirements as long as you consider the following tips:
- What’s your style? Figure out what you like. The right color choice can make all the difference in the look and feel of your home. Keep in mind that light colors make a house look larger, while dark colors tend to make the house look smaller. Also consider the color of houses nearby and avoid copycat or clashing colors.
- Consider the color combination. We’re not all Vincent Van Gogh when it comes to choosing the most complimentary color combinations, but I recommend applying a clay color to the exterior siding and, instead of using the normal white trim, apply a cameo color to the trim. This is a softer white with a little cream in it. Then, on the sashes of the windows (the part that goes up and down), paint these two shades darker than the siding. This effect gives your home some depth and can be done with almost any color combination.
- Think small accents. They can go a long way in making your home pop out from the rest and make you feel great every time you pull up in front.
- Give it a test drive. Don’t be afraid to test out an area first before you paint the whole home. Spend a little time and money on test cans to make sure you are making the right choice. Also, leave the sample up for a couple of days and view the choices under different lighting conditions, like in the morning, afternoon or evening.
- Consider the grounds. Another thing you should also consider are the materials for your sidewalk, driveway and patio. Whether it is brick, concrete, tar or pebbles, you want the accents colors in your grounds to complement the final color of the home.
- Remember, this isn’t just a beautiful exterior – it’s an investment. Always go with the highest quality paint that you can afford. Avoid “bargain” or discount paints. For a bargain price without compromising quality, price-shop name brand paints at sale time, usually around midsummer, with major paint sales coming just after the 4th of July and again in the fall.