Exterior paint color help

13 Replies

I'm under contract to buy a fixer-upper in a historic neighborhood, and can't figure out what would be best for exterior paint colors and general curb appeal. I'll be ripping out the overgrown shrub, replacing the upper windows and installing a new door. I'll also be scrapping and repainting all of the exterior trim, and at least the lower level brick. The lower level is painted brick, while the upper is vinyl siding. I don't really want to replace the siding since it's in decent shape, but could I paint it to help the house stand out? Any ideas on different paint colors between the upper and lower floors? Below are a couple of pictures showing the front in low/high light situations. Thanks!

Lots of potential there Matt, looks good!

Best recommendation I can give is to get a direction from the neighborhood - what do the nicer, remodeled houses in the area look like? Vibrant, strong colors, or more muted, modern colors?

Also consider your purpose. Probably don't want to go too extreme if it's a flip.

I like Pinterest for ideas. Houzz is good too. Search "craftsman exterior" or something like that. You'll probably go from absolutely no idea what color to paint it, to trying to decide between three or four great color schemes.


Thanks for the advice Kristin! I'll look on Pinterest and Houzz for ideas on craftsman exterior paint colors, and take some drives around the neighborhood to get ideas from other nearby homes. The biggest problem is that I see few homes with different colors on each floor's exterior, but I'm sure with some research I'll find some examples that may inspire ideas.

Anyway to get rid of the 4 windows and just have a wider window? Or 2 bigger windows?

Can you place a overhang on the front steps to match the look of the one over the window on the right?

Agreed drive the black and pick a color you like that is at least 5 houses away. That's how I just picked my exterior color.

My contractor is visiting the house on Thursday, I'll check on the possibility to get rid of the 4 windows and just have a wider window or two upstairs.

An overhang on the front steps to match the look of the one over the window on the right is a great idea, I'll take a look at the costs and see how feasible it is.

Hi, Matt.

What do you mean when you say historic?
I've seen a lot of very supportive folks who work for Historic Preservation, either a department or a commission, or maybe a couple planners assigned to that kind of work.

You may know all this already, but if it's in an historic district, you may need their oversight when replacing windows. Or otherwise altering the streetside appearance. This is nice, because in one city I know, I could literally call up a city guy and he'd say, "You need a three color paint scheme. I suggest x, y, z." Or, "Here are a few painters who have done work in that neighborhood." Then I get an estimate and a couple color opinions.

@Matt T.

If I were doing it, I would go with a red/brown brick color, almost a khaki on the siding with a white trim around the windows & eves with dark shingles.. I cant find a craftsman with this color scheme online..

This is an old enough thread that you may have painted it by now! I wonder what you chose.

I tend to focus so heavily on getting everything clean and neat, and then dress them up later. Sometimes I may just go all white in a case like this, but simply with all details attended to and everything clean and bright, it looks just great! Kristin mentioned this idea of doing what your endgame points you to; I try to stay efficient and add more cash inside the units to make them nicer for my tenants.

If you're still looking for thoughts, I'd look under the vinyl. If it's possible to remove even some of it, I would. (Like just the whole front face). If not, get it scrubbed clean. You can then use white as one of your colors. If you're all done, post up some afters maybe!

It may be possible to cut the vinyl back to expose the original trim around the four upper windows. That will help get old proportions back. This place will look so great with a period door on it and good windows. If you are doing vinyl windows, you may consider white trim around them because it will be less obvious they're vinyl (not old). If so you can still do a bit of color on a small supporting horizontal trim piece above/below. Quarter-round sized. This would be your third or fourth color in a multicolor scheme.

I can't tell: Brown roof? A buttery cream may be your good second color. Blue/gray? Perhaps a similar but lighter cool gray.  

If you paint the bargeboard, you can paint the horizontal strip across that completes the triangle the same color. 

My opinion is you can get away with paining the brick a color other than white but not too dark, creating a hovering triangle.

Much will be determined by what you can do with the vinyl. I would paint metal but am skeptical about longevity of paint on vinyl. Maybe it will buy you "just enough time" and you can do another round of cleanup in five years.

ps. If there aren't tenants there, I pull off all the co-ax and the dishes. Then I require that I am (somebody is) present for any re-install. They routinely place new cable anyways and can be teachable as far as not drilling in woodwork or otherwise making a mess of an old building. So you start fresh and get it where you want it.

I would prime and paint with metal primer the vent and the bit of flashing.

Thanks for all of the advice. Since this is an older thread, we actually started painting the exterior last week and are finishing touch-up today and tomorrow. In the end we decided to go with a dark grey for the wood and brick to try and contrast the white and try and hide as many imperfections as possible (as there were many). I'll post some pictures here in a few days once the exterior is done. I'm not thrilled with how the choice turned out, but it does look much better than it did before.

A little more background, we'r rehabbing this as a rental property in what I would describe as a "C" neighborhood. There are no historic preservation regulations, but most of the houses were built in the 20's and 30's. It is in an inner city neighborhood in Oklahoma City within a mile of some nice, up-and-coming districts where houses are selling for $250-350k, but houses in this neighborhood are still pretty distressed and usually sell for $60-120k. We're doing a complete interior and exterior renovation to get the house in good shape, but the idea we went with on this one is "simple and clean" (and cheap!) so that we could get a good renter in place and hope the neighborhood continues to improve. If it does, we will probably do nicer renovations to the house in the future as rents (hopefully) improve.

Apologies for the delay, but here are before and after shots of the paint colors:

Looks clean, What color is the front door? What are your plans for the Landscaping? I would recommend something tall maybe 3 taller bushes to break up some of the wall right side of the entry.... Are you going to repair the sidewalk?

The front color is Sherwin Williams Greenblack (SW 6994). It turned out a little darker that I had hoped for, but it does look much better and very clean. Will repair the concrete sidewalk to the front porch, had discussed planting some shrubs out front but still undecided on exactly what we're going to do with that.

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