ISSUE 4  |  Garden Envy

Vote Now: Pick a Perfect Paint Palette

January 28, 2015 11:00 AM

BY Stephanie Dorfman

A few weeks ago we asked readers if anyone wanted help picking perfect paint colors for a house exterior. Answer: yes! We got more email than Santa in our Inbox.

The first reader to write was Vanessa, who lives in a handsome Tudor-style house in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. She said, “We need to repaint and are trying to decide if we should keep the same colors (seems boring) or go for a dramatic change. I would especially like to have an exciting front door instead of the faux-finished brown that it is now. Thoughts?”

As an interior designer, I love to solve paint dilemmas. After an email consultation with Vanessa, I’ve suggested three paint palettes (see below) for her facade. 

Which paint palette is the best? Help Vanessa choose–vote for the paint palette you like best and tell us why in the comments section below.

Above: This is how Vanessa’s house looks now. The first thing that struck me when I saw the photos was that her lovely windows disappear into the blackness of the current trim paint color. They look like holes! Also, the dark trim around the dark doorway sucks out all the light and life from the facade. 

Vanessa said she wanted a paint palette with more “romance and excitement,” and I wanted to lighten those windows.

Above: I chose exterior colors from Farrow & Ball, a durable line of paint that in my experience stands up longest against the weather without cracking, peeling, or fading.  

Paint Palette No. 1

Above: The walls of the house are Pigeon, the trim is Lime White, and the front door is Pitch Black

For the wall color, I chose Pigeon because it’s a lovely greeny-gray. To play off the body of the house, I chose Lime White because it’s warm. (I don’t like to go too bright with a white trim color because anything you put outdoors is going to look even brighter in the sunlight.) For the front door, I chose Pitch Black, a strong black, to complement the green tone of the walls.

Paint Palette No. 2

Above: The walls are Light Gray, the trim is Lime White, and the door is painted Hague Blue.

To add color to Warm Gray, I chose a dark blue for the front door.

Paint Palette No. 3

Above: The walls are Mole’s Breath. The trim is Off White. And the door is Red Earth. Here I wanted to brighten the dark gray body, so I chose an orange color for the front door. The key to picking an orange is to keep in mind the color of the bricks on the front walkway. I picked an orange to complement (not clash) with the bricks.

I also chose a darker white for the trim because I wanted it to have the same level of contrast against the darker gray wall color. I wanted the contrast between walls and trim to be soft rather than jarring.

Above: Ready to vote? Tell us which paint palette is your favorite and why in the comments section below. Next week we’ll announce the winner–and show you how the winning paint palette would look on Vanessa’s house.

For more of our favorite paint colors for a house exterior, see: