Give It 100%
They say choose the things that you give 100% to wisely. Not everything little thing you do necessarily deserves all of your time and effort. Things that come to mind are my workout, And eating healthy. Not every day gets 100%.
Something that does need 100% effort but its often short-changed is choosing new exterior paint colors for your house. It is no simple task and I can say with 100% confidence it is time consuming. It is an expensive and long lasting mistake you will have to look at every day and regret for at least 10 years.
Look. Look. Look.
Explore what color direction you want. Look for inspiration in magazines and online. Consider your house style when selecting colors. Start noticing house you see as you drive around town. Don't be afraid to write a letter to the homeowner of a house you have always loved the color of. I have done it many times and the homeowner is always flattered and very willing to share paint colors. I include a self-addressed stamped envelope (S.A.S.E. to all of you Zoom kids) to make their reply super easy.
Sample. Sample. Sample.
Once you have decided on a color direction get some samples size cans from your local paint store. Plan on getting to know the guys at the paint store. It will take more than one trip I can guarantee. The cost of samples will add up, but I assure you it is worth the added expense. Note that paint color chips look completely different outside then they do in your house or in the store. Don't assume you will like it on your house based on what you see on the tiny color chip.
Prep. Prep. Prep.
When you pick up your paint samples also get lots and lots and lots of disposable brushes that will fit in the small opening of the sample can. Either foam or bristle. Your choice. I also suggest getting a can of exterior primer to use as a neutralizing base coat in all the areas you put up sample paint. Colors look very different to your eye when they are seen against other colors. To see them in their pure state it is best against a white background. You will also need a pencil, a paint can opener or screwdriver, a rubber mallet or hammer, drip cloth, and patience.
Finally you are ready to start sampling...
Location. Location. Location.
Choose a sunny location, a shady location and one that you will drive up to and see regularly, like your garage area. You want to see the colors in all lights and be able to judge them regularly as you come and go over the next few days. Each color sample should cover at least a 12"x24" area. Call it three clapboards deep and 24" across.
Patience. Patience. Patience.
In each of your chosen sample locations paint at least a 3'x3' area with two coats of white exterior primer first. Let each coat dry about 2 hours before applying the next coat. This is where patience comes in. Now you are ready to look at the actual sample colors. Paint your 12x24" area on the dry primer section in all locations. Same rule. Two coats. Dry time in between. Observe in sun and shade. Live with it for a few days.
Label. Label. Label.
Don't forget to mark each color on the house with pencil so you can reference which color is which. It all gets very confusing and colors start to play tricks on your eyes.
Try. Try. Again.
You will seldom get it right the first time. This is why you will get to know the guys at the paint store so well. It is not easy. Narrow the main house colors down to two or three and paint over all others with primer. Yes. Two coats.
Trim. Trim. Trim.
Once you have narrowed the main body color down to a few it is time to decide on trim color. Are you going white? Creamy? Tonal? Refer back to your inspiration images. Off to the store to get more paint samples for trim. Consider bringing the paint store guys a treat or coffee this time. Paint your sample trim colors against the body colors you have narrowed it down to. Two coats. Dry in between.
Accent. Accent. Accent.
Don't forget about an accent color for the front door and/or shutters. Say it again. Two coats.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
Flip a coin. Ask your friends. Ask your neighbors. Close your eyes and point. However you need to get it done.
Stress. Panic. Cry for Help.
Hire Go Room By Room to help.