Going bold with unusual colors for your home's exterior

A home's exterior color is an important defining characteristic. Even in Malvina Reynolds' famous 1962 song "Little Boxes," which mocks the identical appearance of suburban tract homes, the boxes are at least distinguished by different hues.

Nevertheless, exterior home colors generally stay within a certain range. The houses in any given neighborhood will have a variety of colors, but they may be limited to a few earth tones.

Choosing an unusual color for your home's exterior can easily draw more attention to your property and give it more personality. However, it may also present some challenges when you try to sell your home.

Homeowners are often advised to stick to neutral tones if they want to repaint their home. Casey Watkins, writing for the interior design site Homedit, says homeowners who want a more unusual color are typically urged to avoid a bold choice, going with something like light yellow or pale green if they aren't thrilled about a boring white or gray palette.

For this reason, you can make your home stick out simply by choosing a common but vibrant color. The colors of the rainbow are good options to explore, and you can experiment with different shades to see how they look.

The color's brightness can ultimately determine whether it is appealing or off-putting. Marie Proeller Hueston, writing for the home improvement professional Bob Vila, says it helps to tone down bright hues such as yellow. Darker undertones work well for colors like blue.

Even colors that might seem too unusual for a home exterior can look appropriately neutral with the right tone. Lindsey Mather, writing for Architectural Digest, says a subdued pink can help highlight flowers and other landscaping features while also pairing well with darker accents such as shutters and light fixtures.

The color's shade can also affect its appearance. Daniel Goldstein, writing for MarketWatch, says brighter colors on a large house can make it seem smaller, which might be advantageous if it is situated on a large lot.

Mixing a variety of colors, such as using different colors for the trim and siding, can also have a striking effect. If you don't want to add too many colors to the home, a bright color for the door can work especially well.

Of course, you may want to go completely against the grain by choosing a bright, splashy color. Some options might include hot pink, lime green, bright purple.

Before choosing a color for your home, tour a few neighborhoods to see what hues appeal to you. Hueston says your choice should complement the home's architecture as well as its surrounding landscaping. For example, a dark green can work especially well for a home situated among evergreen trees.

Make sure you'll be able to paint your home the desired color. Megan Elliott, also writing for MarketWatch, says homeowners associations may restrict the types of color that can be used in the community.

You'll also want to consider the resale value of the property. Kara Baskin, writing for the Boston Globe, says homes with unusual colors are more likely to retain their value in neighborhoods where creative expression is popular.

If it's the one house on the block that isn't a neutral tone, it may be more challenging to find a buyer. Goldstein says many buyers may consider a bright or unusual color to be too jarring, and this perception will hurt the property's curb appeal. Buyers may be forced to consider a price reduction or changing the exterior paint scheme entirely.


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