As a house painter in San Diego, I talk to a lot of homeowners and offer a lot of advice about paint colors. When it comes to exterior house colors, the style of the home has a lot to do with the colors I recommend—especially if the homeowner has expressed interest in staying true to the style of the home. Some home styles look great with a neutral paint scheme, while others benefit from more bold colors.
Are There “Rules” When It Comes to Exterior Paint Colors?
For some styles of homes, there are definitely some “rules” when it comes to paint colors. For example, Victorian homes will often be painted a dark color and have bright white trim in order to highlight the ornate trim work that is typical for this style of home. Craftsman homes tend to be painted in more muted colors, while beach cottages will typically be painted with light, bright colors.
Some rules are made to be broken, which is why I put the word “rules” in quotation marks. If you want your home to stand out and make passers-by take a second look, a nontraditional paint scheme is one way to accomplish that. A more traditional paint scheme is probably the way to go if you want to stay true to you home’s character or if you’re looking to sell your house in the near future.
In the past, I’ve painted the exteriors of some San Diego homes with colors that I never would have chosen myself, but the homeowners were thrilled with the results. It’s really all about what you like and what will make you happy every day when you come home.
What About Front Doors?
One of the newer trends in exterior house painting is to paint your front door a fun or unexpected color—maybe a sunny yellow or a bright turquoise—while painting the rest of the exterior with a more neutral palette. This is certainly a great way to make your home stand out in your neighborhood—especially if you live in a tract home, where all of your neighbor’s houses have a similar look. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way to liven up the front of your house (and to change again if you get tired of it).
Not every home looks great with a bold color on their front door, however. For example, a Spanish-style home could look odd and stand out in a bad way if you paint the front door a non-traditional color. Similarly, craftsman-style homes typically have stained wood front doors, rather than painted doors.
Certainly, you can do whatever you want with your front door, but if you want to be true to your home’s design and character, there are some traditions you might want to adhere to when it comes to your front door.
HOA Considerations and Homes in Historic Neighborhoods
All of the advice mentioned above goes completely out the window if your home is part of an HOA that dictates what colors you can paint your house. Many HOAs have very specific color schemes that you must adhere to or face steep fines and be forced to repaint your house.
Some HOAs are a little more flexible and allow you to choose colors other than those in the pre-approved color schemes, but they require that you secure their approval first. Of course, if your color choices are too outlandish or don’t fit within the rest of the neighborhood, they will deny your request.
Similarly, if your home is in an historic neighborhood, you may need to get approval before painting your house. If this is the case, you may want to work with a San Diego house painter or designer who is familiar with your style of home and can recommend colors that the committee that oversees your neighborhood is likely to approve.
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