It's House Painting Season

Keeping the exterior of your house painted and updated pays you back in many ways.

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Paint it Green

Now I know that there aren't too many of you out there who get excited about house painting season, aside from my buddy Matt Fox. Because, let's face it, it's golfing, bike riding and swimming season as well. And, all of those activities sound so much more fun. Well, they are, but keeping the exterior of your house in shape pays you back in many ways.

First, paint does help to preserve your home. It's protective coating. Also, selecting a nice combination of colors that might be a little daring can make your home stand out on your street and actually add to it's curb appeal and value. Painting might even get your neighbors inspired to fix up their homes as well, and everyone wins. So, let's talk about selecting just the right colors to enhance your home.

In any decorating project, and I consider fixing up the outside of a home a form of decorating, you start with the givens. In other words, the surfaces you have to work with that aren't going anywhere, like the roof shingles and any brick or stone on the home. Consider them as colors. Are your shingles brown, green or red, meaning from the warm color families, or are they gray or blue, therefore cooler in color. More often than not, brick tones are warm, and many of the stones being used today are cooler. Make those determinations first.

Hopefully, if you have brick or stone, your roof shingles are in the same color temperature. These features can help you determine what color might be best for your home. If you have cooler features, select blues, grays, greenish grays even white for your siding color. On the contrary, warmer features look best with beiges, taupes, browns and warm greens. Black roofs offer the flexibility to use either cool or warm colors.

Not too long ago, Matt and I decorated the exterior of an adorable little bungalow. We knew the owner, whose grandfather had built the home, and he was anxious to fix it up in honor of him. So, we started with the roof, which was a warm light gray, so we knew we would be working with warm grays, gray beiges or taupes, or gray greens.

Our next step was to take a quick look around the immediate neighborhood. There was a white house on the right and a red brick home on the left. Those were two colors we wanted to eliminate so as not to blend in. Next, we took a ride around the neighborhood looking for any other similar styled homes in nice color combinations. Our tour showed us that people weren't being too inventive with their color combinations, so we really wanted to do something unique.

We decided that a 4-color plan would rock the neighborhood and really make this house stand out. The warm gray-green siding color was chosen after patches of four different warm neutrals were painted in various spots around the house. While the guys were painting the house, I took some of the siding color and painted a couple of little house shapes on an old box. Then, I cut out shutters and strips of trim and doors out of quite a few paint chips I picked up at our local paint store. These little mini houses helped us decide if the trim was too light or too bright with the siding and whether a plum colored door was too bold, or added just enough pizzazz. This technique worked so well, I've used it over and over since then with great results.

I should mention that the addition of details even small ones can change your home from dull to dynamic. On this home we added shutters, even beside the front door, which helped give the front door a more impressive appearance. We painted a touch of terra cotta along the sill of the windows and installed wrought iron fencing and a gate to the front door. The landscaping was drastically changed to allow the front of the house to be seen, and these changes added so much style to this home that the neighbors commented about the improvements for months.

To take this one step further, the status, or you might call it the respect for this family in the neighborhood changed with the changes of their home. They didn't live in the old yellow house anymore, they lived in the nicest home on the block. So, don't play down the importance of decorating. It can and will change the way people look at you, and how you feel about yourself.

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