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UPKC Exterior Design Elements

Before I even offer color suggestions, I look at these items first.  I’ve blogged about them before, but let’s recap.

Things to pay attention to when choosing exterior colors:

Style of the home

Color of the windows

Color of the roof

Landscaping (rock, pavers, fencing…)

Any brick or stone and their colors

Neighboring house colors

Storm door color (if not planning to replace)

Direction the house faces

These are all extremely important things to consider to get the right colors.  But there are other things to consider as well, things that can make your house shine that go beyond a coat of paint.  If you’re building a house, you’re probably not thinking about the color you’re going to repaint the exterior in 10 years (or less), especially while choosing a roof color, windows, brick and stone, and . There are so many decisions to make when building, thinking ahead that far is not exciting at all, and can in fact, leave you paralyzed with anxiety.

These items are all super important in the process of choosing the right color for your home. But, the basic design of the home is just as important, if not more so. Design Elements are used to create a cohesive look. These elements are not just reserved for a home’s interior, the exterior needs similar consideration.   Here are some Exterior Design Elements that should be focused on when creating a home’s exterior.

Balance, Harmony

Determining the function to create the form

Material, Texture



Garage Doors



Balance and Harmony

But what about color placement? Soffit, fascia, front door, vents, pillars or columns, garage doors, trim, foundation, side lights, gutters, shutters, fence, deck. There are many things to consider when deciding on color placement. There needs to be a balance of color to create the harmony. The shutters, garage doors, and front door painted the same color is a good way to create balance.  Even if just the garage doors and shutters are the same and the front door is painted a punch color, balance is still present (if the garage doors are on the front of the house).

Determining Function To Create Form

Form follows function. This is so important when choosing color. An example would be the main, side, or back entrance of a house. Maybe you’d like the front entrance to feel grand, or the side entrance to blend into the house because you do not plan on accessing it often. Or you envision using the back entrance to your house front he garage exclusively and would like it to pop. Knowing your exterior and your plans for usage will help choose colors.

Material and Textures

These are important items on a home’s exterior and the paint color you choose could highlight those items or make them disappear.  Paint colors will appear different on different materials.  To me, most colors look quite different on stucco than they do on wood.  Using shake shingles, stone, brick, stucco, textured siding, even faux painting are all good materials and techniques to use to add texture to your home’s exterior. Stone and Brick colors can also be limiting.  Gray scale stones look nice with cooler, darker colors.  Beige mixed stones look better with warm colors.  The grout color between the stone also plays a part in the colors you choose.

Roof Color

Roof color can be limiting as well, for example: a brown weathered roof looks best paired with warm colors.  A green or gray roof is better suited to cooler colors.  A black roof looks great with any color.  There are some roofing materials that are paintable, such as concrete or terra cotta. Keep in mind that some Homeowner’s Associations (HOA) will only allow certain roof colors so you may want to check your bylaws.

Window Color

The best colors to use on windows for repaint purposes are white or black.  Any off white, green, or beige colors will limit your body and trim colors considerably.  When we are painting a home with beige windows the first thing I do is color match the windows.  That will give me a baseline for where to start picking body and trim colors.  Windows are also a place to pay attention to the style of your home.  Just as window color can limit your repaint options, so can window style.

Garage Doors

Garage doors are manufactured in so many colors and finishes, styles and materials. They can also be painted, which is something that is always included in our bid unless the homeowner has request otherwise.


Landscaping is like the earrings or necklace you put on to accentuate your final look.  The rock, mulch, even planted items should complement the other design elements to finish your cohesive look.


Lighting is an important for exteriors too.  Though it is definitely a safety feature, lighting can also highlight all the cool design elements you’ve implemented.  The lights themselves should reflect the style of your home. When fresh paint is applied, shabby light fixtures always stand out, just asking to be replaced or refreshed.

I tell people all the time, you have to like what you see when you pull up to your house.  That interaction sets the tone for how you feel when you walk into your house.  If there isn’t balance and harmony on the outside, chances are you’re going to feel that when you’re hanging out inside your house. If you’re having trouble incorporating these exterior design elements to create the look you desire, give me a call 816-500-7759.

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Holt Johnston
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Holt Johnston
March 24, 2016

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