Bob Vila of This Old House fame tells people to "...be kind to their neighbors when picking a color scheme." His house painting advice is echoed by realtors and builders across the country. The color that you paint your house, they say, can affect the value of all the other houses in your neighborhood. That's one of the reasons that many homeowner associations limit house painting color choices for homes in their communities.
While you might feel that house painting is a personal choice, there's a good deal of sense to the painting restrictions that some homeowners face. A garish purple house with Halloween orange shutters on the block can effectively make it almost impossible for anyone else in the neighborhood to get full value for their home if they choose to sell. A cohesive house painting color scheme that's carried on from property to property adds enormously to the appeal of a neighborhood.
In some cases, the house painting restrictions are based on more than just owner preference. On the West Side of one New England town, for instance, is a neighborhood of historic period houses all built in a similar Edwardian style. Owners who purchase houses in the Tatnuck community usually sign an agreement upon purchase that they will maintain a white or gray exterior with shutters in black, green or red - and that they will only use white Christmas lights at the holidays.
So what colors are good choices for exterior house painting?
According to Realty Time magazine, the choices are, in order, white, gray, blue, tan or brown, cream, beige, green, yellow and red. Of those, the overwhelmingly most popular house painting color is white, with over 37 percent of all homeowners stating that if they were repainting a house, they would choose white. While gray is the second most popular color, most realtors would recommend painting your house a pale shade if that's your choice. The reason? Lighter colors brighten a house and make it seem more spacious.
Among the other colors, the favored shades tend to be muted tones, often in 'historical' themes. House paint manufacturers like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams often name their paint colors to cater to that trend. Thousands of houses across the country are painted Williamsburg blue or Colonial green.
If you do want brighter accents in your exterior house painting scheme, advise Realtors, confine yourself to the front door and shutters. A front door that's painted a friendly blue or warm red, they say, puts buyers in a good mood as they enter your house. And who'd know better than the guys that sell houses?