As someone whose spouse frequently wanders the home with a fistful of colour swatches muttering incomprehensibly, it’s tempting to say that colours matter more to women than to men. But after witnessing the aesthetic results of her choices on walls, window frames and garage doors, I’ve come to a simpler conclusion: colours matter to all of us, some are just better than others at visualizing the results.
The toughest colour choices are for things not easily undone. You can always repaint a wall, but if you’re beginning the major task of replacing windows, doors or siding, (or selecting them for a new house) you need to get it right. That means consulting experts. To help you with your own choices, I consulted two experts – the people at Gentek who manufacture doors, windows, siding and accessories, and my very own household colour consultant. Here are some answers to common colour questions:
How many colours should I use on my home?
The answer depends on the size of your home and how many details you want highlighted. Many traditional homes don’t have a lot of detail, so three colours is suggested — body, trim and accent.
Newer homes often have more architectural features, so an additional body or trim colour can often be worked in. We’re not talking radically different colours here though: additional trim and body colours should be only slight variations of the others – different enough to notice, but not so they look awkward.
Should trim be darker or lighter than the body colour?
Lighter trim is usually the best choice because the eye is attracted to the lighter colour, and it is usually the trim and accents that you want people to notice. The things you want people to notice last should be the darkest – soffit and eavestroughs for example.
Will a dark body colour make my house look smaller?
It can, but not always. A house will look smaller where there are sharp contrasting colours. This is not always a bad thing. For example, if you have a large wall that you don’t want to accentuate, contrasting colours can make it seem smaller. White trim with a dark body colour really makes it pop, but if you want less emphasis on the trim, a mid-range tone will cut the contrast.
A couple more tips:
- Consider your neighbours’ homes when you choose your colours. You don’t want to stand out too much.
- Take into consideration other colours on your home that you are not changing, such as roof, railings, windows.
- In most cases the garage door is usually not a feature you want to accentuate, so matching it to the body colour is usually best.