Monday, October 5, 2015

Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

We're getting ready to have the exterior of our house painted, yet again. This will be the third time in 17 years. Does that seem like a lot to you, or is having to paint an old house every five years or so fairly normal? The photo below doesn't show it, but the paint is cracking and chipping pretty badly in spots on the south and west sides of the house. This photo was taken on the north side front porch. We're also having a problem with mildew, so a fresh coat of paint with mildew inhibitor will help.

The last time we painted, we used MAB paint, which was bought by Sherwin-Williams, but I don't think we can get it at our local SW store. So, we're choosing new colors from the SW line. We like the sage green/off-white color scheme we have now, so we'll stay in that family. They suits the Craftsman style of the house, and it will cost less to have it painted in the same colors rather than changing them up. I stopped by the SW store recently for some swatches. 

Here's our bungalow's current color scheme (looks a little greyer in this photo than it actually is) ...

And below are the colors we've narrowed down to for the siding. This photo was taken in the sunlight, so the colors look more yellowy than they actually are (I tried to color correct to the best of my ability). Colors will also look quite different from one monitor to another, but this gives you the general idea.

Left to right: Meadow Trail (SW 7737); Olive Grove (SW 7734); Garden Sage (SW 7736).

I think the closest to what we originally painted the house is Meadow Trail on the far left. Garden Sage, on the right, is a bit lighter, while Olive Grove in the middle is a bit darker, which I kind of like.

We've had the house gently "power" washed to remove the dirt and mildew. The painters will scrape and sand before painting. In some areas, they'll be able to scrape down to the wood, but on the majority of the house they won't. This means there will be bumpy, uneven surface over much of the siding, but that's okay with us. The house is 93 years old. Just imagine how many coats of paint are on it! We don't expect our old house to look perfect. In my opinion, it's the imperfection that gives it character, charm and personality.

This is Sherwin-Williams' exterior historic colors booklet. The second photo shows a Craftsman style house painted in Olive Grove.

The next color palette shows the Garden Sage swatch as part of the "Global Spice" collection. I really like this color, and the trim color, Canvas Tan, above it. 

I'll let you know what colors we choose. To be honest, I will leave the final decision to my husband. As I've mentioned before, he works in the printing industry and has a trained eye for color matching. I gave up years ago trying to argue with him about color (though it was hard -- after all, I am a Capricorn). I totally trust his paint color choices (except for that one mess up recently on his first color choice for the mudroom floor, but we'll let that slide). Stay tuned for more on our exterior house painting project. As always, thanks for stopping by.


  1. I really like your color choices. Once I saw the olive grove in the picture from the pamphlet, though, I thought "too dark, too much" - but that's just me. It helps me to see the paint in use like that - gives me a better idea. I'm sure whatever your husband chooses will look great.

    1. Hi Jeannine,
      I agree the Olive Grove shown on the house in the booklet looks like too much, but I thought it might look cute on our smaller house. My husband doesn't want to go with a dark color because it will make our house look even smaller than it is. And since we're next door to a large, two-story house, we don't want to look any smaller than we are!

  2. I am the worst at deciding on paint colours! I find it so hard going by teeny tiny sample cards. I look forward to seeing your end result!

    1. It is hard to choose from small swatches, isn't it! I am glad my husband is good at this sort of thing. I trust his judgement.

  3. I love both of your choices. That SW brochure looks like it has some nice things in it!

    We have friend who have an old stone house, and for eons their front door was painted in Framboise. It was gorgeous, but they tired of it and it's Sigh.

    Repainting every 5 years? Totally normal, but paint technology is advancing. Hopefully you'll get a bit more mileage out of this coat.

  4. I'm also repainting my 115 year old bungalow, happily changing from the dark grey my Mother kept on it for years. I'm looking at a number of greens, and have found all of the paint companies will sell you a small can of the mixed color (B. Moore is free) so you can test the color. Boy, has that changed my mind on some shades!!

    I'm also leaning towards Meadow Grove, because, like you, I've a smaller house set between two larger homes. My current scheme is the green, cream trim, black shutters (I have the original windows...ugh! Historical districts suck!) and an indigo door.

    Or not.

    Right now, every time my contractor stops by, he says, "You know Jamie's gonna kill you when he sees all those different swatches." If not, he will when he sees the living/dining room walls.


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