House Design / Lifestyle

Choosing Exterior Paint Colors: How To Make Sure You Don’t End Up With a Pink House

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When Chad and I were first married, we decided to build a duplex. Our builder showed us a board with tiny paint swatches on it. We chose a beautiful brown color (or so we thought). It was a nice warm tone and we knew it would be beautiful. Little did we know – paint on a wall and on the side of the house doesn’t always look the same as it does on a tiny swatch. The plain, neutral brown color we had chosen had pink undertones. When our duplex was all painted, we realized we lived in a pink duplex! (Okay, it wasn’t totally pink – but it was definitely NOT the look we had been going for).

Paint on a wall and on the side of the house doesn’t always look the same as it does on a tiny swatch.

How To Choose Paint Colors

That experience taught us a good lesson – don’t choose a paint color from a tiny swatch. The process we use now for choosing exterior paint colors is pretty simple.

  • Look at Pinterest, design magazines and makeover shows, and drive around and see what colors you like.
  • After narrowing it down to a few favorite colors, get some actual paint samples (of paint – not just a swatch) and paint it on the side of the house.
  • Paint will look different in different lighting and at different times of day. Sometimes colors will be much darker once they are painted. And notice the undertones! (No pink houses – unless that is the color you are going for).
  • Choose your favorite paint colors and go for it.

Our Latest House Makeover

For our current house redesign, the house was sort of an overall beige with pink/peach undertones. The stacked stone matched the house color. Our last house was gray and we loved it, so we decided to go with another gray paint here. After some research, we decided to just paint right over the stacked stone instead of replacing it. We chose white trim with a black front door, black lighting fixtures and house numbers. We can add color to the front porch and back deck through the use of pillows and accessories.

house remodel - outside paint before - outdated beige with peach undertones
Exterior Paint – Before
House remodel - new paint.  Gray with white trim black front door.
Exterior Paint – After
house paint colors before remodel
Exterior Paint Closeup – Before
house exterior paint colors after remodel, redesign/painting.  Gray with white trim
Exterior Paint Closeup – After
Front porch before remodel
Front Porch – Before
Front porch after remodel, new paint, new black door, wreath, welcome mat, bench.
Front Porch – After
Backyard before remodel, old fence and old paint
Backyard – Before
Backyard with fence painted gray, house painted gray.
Backyard – After


The fence was a faded red and was peeling and looked old and terrible. We thought we were going to have to replace the whole fence. But a fresh coat of paint gave it new life.

Exterior Paint Colors We Used

Exterior paint colors for our house remodel - Valspar Porcelain Shale, Valspar Sable Evening, Valspar Paramount White.  Gray house with white trim and black accents.

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What exterior paint colors are you loving right now? Do you have any funny painting stories? Let me know in the comments!

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