What does the color of your house say about you?

September 2018
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What does the color of your house say about you?

Hopefully it is not what Melania Trump’s jacket says, “I really don’t care, do you?”  The exterior of your house is what the world sees. And, it is what you see every day. Does it reflect your personality? Is it inviting to guests or customers if you have a home based business? Does it send a message to others about who you are? Does it make you happy?

When it comes time to paint the exterior, you have a lot of options and some limitations you need to consider.

Let’s start with the limitations. Just as with the interior, you need to consider the “fixed finishes”, the things which rarely change, which for the outside is primarily your roof color or features such as natural stone or brick. Wall and trim colors you select will have to be harmonious with those colors, as well as with each other.

You also need to consider the surroundings. Will your colors go with your landscaping and the view surrounding your house? Will they fit in with the neighborhood? A bright, saturated color may not fit in well with a neighborhood of neutral colors, but may work great in areas where that is the norm.

Do you run a business from your house, such as a vacation rental? What image will the colors project to your customers? Is it consistent with your brand? You may be using photos of your house to attract customers online. Will the photos attract your ideal customer?

Are you selling the home? If so, you may need to narrow your color selection to appeal to more buyers.

Your front door color makes a strong statement. A house with very neutral colors can add a colorful door to make the home unique and memorable.

Color is a personal thing. People see colors differently and have an emotional response to what they see and surround themselves with. People tend to be drawn to different colors based on their nature. Does the color make you feel relaxed, happy, energized, inspired, or depressed? How do you want to feel in the home?

The colors you select may also affect the cost and physical aspects such as temperature. For example, dark colors covering a light house may take more coats of paint for sufficient coverage. Dark colors will absorb heat on a sunny day, requiring your primer to provide a more flexible base. Dark colors may be too “hot” for a deck where you want to relax and stay cool on a summer day.

As a color strategist, I recently helped a Bed and Breakfast owner determine exterior colors and other decorative aspects for the business in a residential neighborhood. The goal was to create a unique but welcoming and relaxing color scheme that would fit into the surroundings (mountains ocean, glaciers), the neighborhood (an eclectic mix of neutral and colorful homes) and work with the landscaping (colorful flowers, primarily in shades of purple dominated by rose bushes with primarily fuchsia blooms. The roof was blue and there were no other fixed finishes to consider. I had previously done Interior Design work for this Bed and Breakfast which helped at least double the income and bookings and helped with branding and attracting the ideal customer identified for the business. Ideal customers were retired professional couples  interested in outdoor adventures, wildlife viewing, bird watching and art.  The current brand was colorful, relaxing,  artistic, and luxurious, but comfortable and down to earth.

Arctic Paradise Bed and Breakfast before exterior painting.

A deep, rich teal color (Sherwin Williams Moscow Midnight) was selected for the walls to harmonize with the roof and surrounding mountains and ocean. It also worked well with the neighborhood which had numerous blue and turquoise houses (mainly lighter shades). The dark color made the colors of all the flowers in the landscaping “pop”, particularly the purples, yellows and reds. It also blended perfectly with the greenery of the landscaping and mountains.

A warm white trim color (Sherwin Williams Alabaster) was selected to highlight the blue and harmonize with colors of the clouds and snow-capped peaks in the surroundings. This bright but warm white with a touch of yellow was selected to provide a nice balance to the cool blue walls. Leaving the cedar trim and decks their natural color, although convenient, would not have worked with the blue. White was also selected for the second floor deck to keep the temperature cooler, as the deep blue walls would absorb  heat. The white deck and trim provided a background for colorful outdoor furniture and plants that were harmonious with the rich teal walls and provided a relaxing sanctuary for the owner.

Forward Fuchsia was selected for the front and back door  to highlight the color of roses in the in front of the house and provide an inviting, unique and fun front door.

Arctic Paradise Bed and Breakfast after exterior painting- Photo, color selection, sign and door design by Northern Lights Home Staging and Design. Exterior painting by Petrosius the Renovator.

A sign was designed using the  the trim color for the background, the wall color for the lettering and two lines in Fuchsia. The sign blends nicely with the balcony, providing the business name without standing out too much in the residential neighborhood.

A metal bird sculpture depicting a flock of sea gulls was painted white to match the trim and placed near the peak of the home to highlight the brand and focus on wildlife viewing for the business.

A sign was designed using using the trim color for the background, the wall color for the lettering and two border lines in the door color.

A new white screen door was placed at the front door with full glass to highlight the fuchsia door. The border was decorated with a unique alcohol ink design to highlight the colors of the door and flowers and add the artistic element of the brand. The front doorknob was replaced with an artistic satin nickel design to replace the older brass doorknob.

Original alcohol ink art done on the new screen door. Alcohol Ink Art and photo by Mary Ann Benoit of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design.
Alcohol ink art done on both sides of the new screen door to highlight the door color. The door knob was also replaced. Art and photo by Mary Ann Benoit of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design.

Even the shed in the back was painted with the new colors, including a fuchsia door.

Comments from neighbors, customers and friends on the new look included that it looks “Bright, cheery and comfortable looking, a beautiful work of art in progress, lovely, beautiful transformation, beautiful use of color, love the door, love the birds, has to be the most charming B&B in Alaska!”

It also has started a wave of comments from the neighbors about how they needed to paint their house too, which over time will help update the look of the whole neighborhood!

The triad of colors were selected and measured to work together in terms of warm and cool aspects, saturation, brightness and a perfect balance of hue families using both the art and science of color. If you are getting ready to paint your house, consider getting help from a certified color strategist. Get your colors right the first time! Make a statement that reflects you, makes you happy and is welcoming to your guests and neighbors.

A bird escaped from the flock! Arctic Paradise caters to adventure travelers interested in wildlife viewing and bird watching. Photo by Mary Ann Benoit.

Featured Video

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Home Staging Tip of the Month  

When staging your home, leave only about 50% of the items in your cabinets and closets that you normally would live with to highlight the available space for buyers. A packed closet for example, will leave buyers wondering if they will have enough room for their things. Pack it up, you have to move anyway:) 
Your closets should NOT look like this!

Interior Design Tip of the Month

 What's Your Interior Design Style?

Bohemian Style- You are unconventional, artistic, carefree, relaxed, and colorful! You like to show  treasures from travels and exotic places. You like your space to be cozy, comfortable, relaxing yet exotic, chic and glamorous!

Get the Look- Colors can be earthy as well as vibrant with jewel tones. Mix patterns and textures, metals and soft fabrics. Try hanging tapestries and area rugs on the walls and add lots of plants and glass. Mix and match natural materials with silks and velvets.  
Fringe, crochet, and macramé, beads, pillows, curtains,  soft throws, colorful pattered pillows, and throw-rugs, vintage and second hand items combine to make a cozy, exotic hangout. 

More is More. Every piece should tell a story!
Design, 3D drawing by Mary Ann Benoit- Northern Lights Home Staging and Design

Color Tip of the Month

Even if you prefer neutral colors for the exterior of you house, let your front door make a statement with color! In the article above, I mentioned how Forward Fuchsia by Sherwin Williams was chosen for the front door to highlight the color of the roses in front of the house. You can get inspiration from colors in your landscaping and surroundings. Add a pretty front door knob to make it even more interesting.

Consider how the color will come across to others. The color fuchsia  has grown in popularity as a branding color signifying high energy, unique businesses.

Never Miss a Great Idea

Check out some of the latest articles from our award winning blog!

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Thanks and stay in touch!

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read my newsletter. I hope you found some helpful information!

I would love to hear from you about some of your challenges related to selling your home, home staging or decorating.
 Mary Ann
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