Olivia Ogden with exterior house paint samples

Choose the Perfect Paint Colour for the Exterior of Your Home: How to Sample Properly

By Olivia Ogden
Designer, Ogden Contracting LTD.

Never Choose a Colour from just a Swatch.
Sample the Paint Properly & You’ll Love the Result.

Choosing exterior house paint colours can be intimidating; however, a skillful paintjob is the easiest way to restyle, boosting the curb appeal and sometimes even the market value of your home. To get your desired result/paint colour, there are several factors you must consider and it is essential that you sample your colour choices properly.

Clients often call us to fix poor quality paint jobs. After years of experience, I have created a flawless process to ensure the colour is exactly what my clients envision. I want to share key elements of my process when choosing exterior paint colours, with an aim to help you get the end result you had in mind.

Choose the Perfect Paint Colour for the Exterior of Your Home

Follow this process, to ensure the paint you buy is the colour you envisioned.

1. Planning and Research

Knowing what you want is the first step in choosing the exterior paint colour for your home. Take the time to do your research and create a vision board. Because my background is in fine art, I love using physical materials like paint samples, photos, magazine cutouts, greenery from the yard etc. If you don’t have time for this, utilise online tools like Pinterest.

Pinterest is great because you can add actual colour samples from high quality companies like Benjamin Moore to your board. If you decide to hire a contractor or designer, the vision board will be an extremely helpful reference. Additionally, understanding some basic colour theory is essential as it helps you to understand the relationships and harmonies between different colours/shades. Using colour theory to pair already existing colours on your home with your new colour will assist in visual appeal.

2. Narrowing Down Choices (Things to Keep in Mind)

  • Consider Existing Fixed Colours: When choosing a new colour, take into account the existing colours of your house, such as brick, stone, driveway, window trims, doors, light fixtures, landscape, and the roof. Use colour theory to coordinate these existing colours with the potential new house colour. Find images that compare and add them to your vision board.
  • Landscape Consideration: Take into account the landscape surrounding your house when choosing exterior paint colours. A naturalistic landscape such as a farm, or property with lots of greenery can look stunning with a dominant colour like red or blue, which makes the house pop or may inspire recessive colours that allow the home to blend into the landscape.
  • Architectural Style: Consider the architectural style of your home when selecting paint colours. Researching the style, such as craftsman style, can guide you towards suitable colour combinations that have historically worked well with that particular architectural style.
paint colour and style of house

3. Sample Properly

Avoid the mistake of hiring painters without properly colour testing on the house. You can’t judge a colour from a single swatch. I often hear from clients that hired painters without a designer/contractor that they were surprised with the final outcome, they claim it “looked nothing like the swatch”. We had a client that painted their house, pre-hiring us. They wanted grey but it pulled so much purple it ended up looking like a muted purple easter egg, not what they were expecting. You need to purchase sample sized cans and ensure you swatch properly.

choosing paint samples in a store

How to Sample Properly

  • Buy Sample Pods: Samples are small cans of paint meant for testing. Some people don’t want to buy samples because of the extra cost. Sample pods are around $50-$100 however they save you time and money in the future.
  • Painting: If you put a colour beside another colour, you’ll notice that the two colours pull tones from one another, changing the way you perceive the colour. To avoid this, you need to prime a nice large square, two and half feet by two and a half feet. Let it fully dry (referring to the instructions on the can, usually overnight, some only take a few hours). Within the square of primer, leave a border of about 4 inches (framing the paint sample). See our video on how to sample properly.
  • Paint ALL Sides of the House: Colours change in light, so ensure to paint all sides of your house with a sample.
  • Observe Samples Realistically: Observe the colours for a couple days with various weather conditions, and during different times of day. Look for any undertones or colour shifts before making a final decision.
demonstration of how to properly sample exterior house paint

4. Before you Buy Paint, Talk to the Professionals

Hiring a contractor before painting your house is a great idea for a successful outcome. A contractor brings expertise and knowledge to the project, ensuring that the right steps are taken from the beginning. They can guide you in choosing the appropriate primer and high-quality paint, as they understand the importance of using good-quality materials that result in a long-lasting finish.

Working with a contractor provides the assurance of a professional paint job with honest pricing, and they can address any problems that may arise during the process. Additionally, contractors, especially those associated with reputable brands like Benjamin Moore, have consultants who are well-versed in colour matching, design aesthetics, and the specific considerations of different lighting conditions. Their expertise helps you make informed decisions, ensuring that you swatch colours correctly and achieve the desired result.

Thank You for Reading. If you found this helpful, let me know. Never hesitate to reach out, I could be your first friend in the industry. If you’re interested in reading more blog posts, follow us on instagram or facebook for updates on new posts.

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