Look to your neighborhood and to nature
First, take a look at your neighborhood and its general style -- is it a classic suburban town? Metropolitan with a modern vibe? Rural and rustic with lots of open space? Your home doesn’t need to be an exact copy of your neighbor’s, but it’s a good idea to take note of the range of colors in your area so that your new exterior doesn’t look completely out of place in its environment. For example, dark red siding might be a perfect choice for an old historic town, but it would look heavy and out-of-place at the beach.
Nature is also full of inspiration and harmonious color combinations. As a general rule of thumb, if colors are found together in nature, they’ll usually play well together in architecture. In fact, in many areas of the country, the homes will frequently reflect the climate of the region. Think of the pastels found in breezy coastal towns, the sandy neutrals and warm hues of the Southwest, and the rustic greens and earthy browns of a mountain retreat. With these guidelines in mind, you can begin to form a general color palette, or at least rule out some options that simply won’t fit.
Use contrast to your advantage
Next, think about the style of your home and any unique architectural features you want to highlight or minimize. The eye is naturally drawn to lines and edges where two contrasting colors meet, so a lighter trim against a medium or dark siding will accentuate features such as gables, corners and columns. By the same token, a softer contrast between the and trim colors will create a calmer, more continuous look and will make your home appear larger.
And don’t be afraid of all white! The combination of white siding with white trim is a clean and classic look that has stood the test of time across many home styles. Try adding dark window frames or a colored entry door to an otherwise all-white home for an updated twist on the traditional.
You can also create a little visual interest by adding shingle-style siding to the gables or upper level of a home with horizontal lap siding of the same color.
How many colors to choose
There’s no hard and fast rule about the number of colors to choose, but many traditional homes have three: a main siding color or body color, a trim color, and an accent color.
First, think about the main color. Do you generally gravitate toward neutrals or something a bit bolder? If you’re not sure what you like, try looking at a variety of homes on and to see what catches your eye and bookmark some favorites. Are you drawn to grays and beiges or blues and greens? Light, medium or dark tones? Warm colors or cool colors?
Once you have a few ideas for a main color, consider trim and accent color options based on how much contrast you want to create. Some siding manufacturers’ websites will have color suggestions and recommended trim options for each siding color, along with images of real homes with their siding.
Don’t forget about your roof
If you’re keeping your roof for a while, be sure to consider how the color will look with your new siding and trim. You’ll likely want at least some contrast along the roofline to highlight the eaves and other architectural elements of the home. For example, if your roof is dark, you may want to avoid a very dark siding color, or at least choose a light trim to break up the similar tones.
Consider hiring an expert
If you’re still having trouble deciding on and trim colors, consider hiring a designer who can provide professional color advice and help you achieve the look you want for your home. Many homeowners will invest over $15,000 on new , and over $30,000 on new siding, depending on the size of the home. Having a consult with a designer can be worthwhile - considering this is a large investment, and can have a lasting effect on your homes’ curb appeal.