Complementary Paint Colors for a Limestone House
September 29, 2012 5:40 PM   Subscribe

We have a limestone house that has a small amount of periwinkle blue siding. In addition, the doors (front and garage), window frames, gutters, and various trim pieces are white. Image 1. Image 2. From the street, the house doesn't look that great. Repainting the blue siding should be a relatively easy job, but what color would really look good? Should the white doors be painted to match the new siding color?
posted by steinwald to Home & Garden (26 answers total)
I kind of like the blue with the stonework. But if you would like a change, maybe a soft gray? I'd check it out in Photoshop with the photos you post before making the shift.

And I think the white trim is nice, but you could go with something like dark brown doors if you use gray for the siding. What do you like? Do you like neutrals, or bright colors? Do you want to make it look modern or traditional?
posted by theredpen at 5:48 PM on September 29, 2012

Does it look worse in person somehow? The photos show a neat and handsome house. What about the color of the siding dissatisfies you?
posted by Nomyte at 5:57 PM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think the blue you have now looks nice.

I would stick with grayed or sage-y colors, such a green-gray, teal-gray, sage, gray-spruce, etc.

I like the idea of the trim staying white or off white. Use can make the front door pop by using color. Once you pick a siding color, find something more colorful that compliments the siding color and the stone. You could really be creative here and pick something like pumpkin orange, a shade of red, mustard yellow, etc.
posted by Fairchild at 5:59 PM on September 29, 2012

Another easy way to add curb appeal is to pressure wash your driveway and front steps. Another vote that your house is very charming. Good luck.
posted by Fairchild at 6:01 PM on September 29, 2012

Can we possibly get a shot of the house from the street? I think the blue is lovely, which seems to be a popular opinion. And I have a suspicion that maybe you don't like the way the house looks for other reasons that you can't formulate. One idea might be that the front of the house is a vast expanse of stone with not much breaking it up other than a door and 2 small windows. Planting a tall plant in between the garage and 2nd window might help.

Also, it might help to know your preferences and tastes. Someone mentioned a sage or templeton gray. Both of those would look nice, but are also conventional and traditional. If that's your tastes, then yay! But personally, I'm a bit bolder and I would bick something in the burnt orange/brown/copper family, maybe along the same general color essence of this pine siding.
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:15 PM on September 29, 2012

I like the blue. The white is rather stark. Maybe just change the white to some beige-y color that will blend a bit with stone.
posted by sulaine at 6:38 PM on September 29, 2012

If you really want to change it, I'd say a barn red, and keep the white trim. This would give some nice "pop" and curb appeal. Something along these lines maybe?
posted by OHSnap at 6:48 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

theredpen: I think we would be happy with a more modern look.

Nomyte - I think it is the combination of blue/white/limestone that we dislike. As sulaine mentions, the white is rather stark.

Maybe the solution is to start replacing the white. In order for that approach to work, would we need to completely banish the white, or would it look ok to have a few elements remain white? I'm not sure about repainting the white vinyl windows or screen door.

FirstMateKate: We'll add a street photo in the morning. It's too dark now.
posted by steinwald at 7:08 PM on September 29, 2012

I think a gray-blue or green would look really nice, but I agree with FirstMateKate that changing the landscaping would make a bigger impact. Some taller bushes in the beds close to the house would break up the stone a little.
posted by MadamM at 7:09 PM on September 29, 2012

I'd go with green, in the same sort of sandy color family as the stone, with a darker shade in place of the white, including the door, and a lighter shade in place of the blue.
posted by lemniskate at 7:12 PM on September 29, 2012

Another vote for grey or sage.
posted by cestmoi15 at 7:13 PM on September 29, 2012

For a more modern look, I would go with a beige tone pulled directly from the limestone. There are lots of color matching apps that can help (ex, this Benjamin Moore app) you get a direct match. That would create a coordinated look.

The white I would leave as is because painting vinyl is not a simple task, and your house will look strange if some of the trim is painted but other bits are not.
posted by valoius at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2012

I really like the blue, it was a popular mid-century shade. The white is what bothers me- it seems to make your windows look smaller somehow. I would choose a shade that shows up in your limestone to paint the trim and garage door, something from light tan to sepia to a greyed dark brown. I would be tempted to match the overall tone of the limestone to make the garage door and trim look more intrinsic and less obvious, but I think you could also go light or dark if you prefer. The suggestion of warm grey might be good too, but I would make sure to make it a couple of shades darker than the periwinkle so that it doesn't look like you were trying to match and not succeeding. I'm a fan of emphasizing doors and entry over garages, especially when the drive is the access way to the front door. A glossy sepia or rusty warm orange is my first thought, but you could also do a dark grey.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:23 PM on September 29, 2012

If what you want is a change, I'd paint the siding dark gray (key it to the dark gray in your limestone) and the trim a lighter gray or warm/dark brown (take it a few shades deeper than the tan of your limestone), then add a bold accent color like orange, red, or b&w stripes for the door, flower pots, like this. The darker the siding, the darker I think you need to make the trim so it doesn't look too stark, IMO. More examples of dark exteriors: black exteriors, dark gray with red accents, dark brown exterior with stone, slate gray with golden lighting accents, and a slate blue, just for ideas.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:35 PM on September 29, 2012

That's a very attractive house. The blue, though, is cold. Change it to a warm tan that you pick out of the warmest range in the limestone. It won't "pop" from the curb, but it will be very inviting nonetheless.
posted by bricoleur at 7:52 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bricoleur - would you paint the doors (especially the garage door) the same warm tan that replaces the blue?
posted by steinwald at 7:53 PM on September 29, 2012

I agree with bricoleur; the house is cute, but the blue feels very cold to me. Like FirstMateKate, I'd also go with a copper, burnt orange, or adobe color - something like this, and I'd paint the garage door and trim a warm and earthy tan.
posted by Sal and Richard at 8:06 PM on September 29, 2012

Love the copper idea, and maybe accent with the dark metal brushed bronze finish for mailbox, flower pots, etc. it really helped us to visualize changes by taking a front view pic from the street and using software to manipulate the colors. I just used Microsoft paint and it was pretty quick and easy. We used to flip houses a lot back in the day, and it was much easier to decide on colors after a quick crayon color change. If you have something more sophisticated to use, even better.
posted by raisingsand at 8:46 PM on September 29, 2012

for whatever it's worth: I don't think the blue was all that bad (though the gray or sage mentioned above would look great), but some of your vinyl siding runs vertically and some runs horizontally. That kinda sticks out to me too.
posted by xbonesgt at 9:21 PM on September 29, 2012

I think you've got some great ideas here. I'm partial to the grey options suggested because they'd work best with the stone, which definitely has lovely blue-grey undertones.

You may also want to look at matching shutters for the stone two front windows on the stone portion of the house. It would bring the two parts together and make the windows look bigger. Also a nice tall-ish (but not too wide) plant right to the left of the garage wouldn't go wrong.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 12:07 AM on September 30, 2012

I agree with bricoleur-- the stone has traces of the periwinkle blue of the siding in it, but overall it's a warm color. I think picking up the warmth of the stone (like with a warm beige) will make it feel more coordinated and less jarring. Maybe pick up a coordinating or contrasting trim color from the stone as well-- a slightly deeper warm tan or cool sage for the trim? (My sympathies-- I love working with color inside my house, but I've found trying to figure out the color scheme for the outside to be really challenging. So it's still harvest gold siding and rose brick. Yay for he seventies.)
posted by instamatic at 12:38 AM on September 30, 2012

Re the doors and trim: I would replace the blue first, and then see, but I suspect the white would no longer seem stark once the dark blue is gone.
posted by bricoleur at 6:34 AM on September 30, 2012

A cool color palette includes blue, slate, pink. A warm color palette includes yellow, green, orange, red. You have two different palettes going on which is why I think it doesn't really appeal. If it was me, I would switch out the blue for a sage. You could then accent with copper (for the door maybe.) I think it would really pop then.
posted by eleslie at 6:37 AM on September 30, 2012

I really like it the way it looks now, but if change ye must, a dusky grey or green color would complement the stonework.

Another thing to consider would be framing the garage with some trim work that matches whatever new color you choose as a way to break up that expanse of stonework that is something of a 'no man's land'. It'd add some architectural detail and some curb appeal for relatively cheap.
posted by matty at 11:32 AM on September 30, 2012

Thanks for all the replies! We are going to pick up some color swatches and look at the options.

I think we are leaning towards replacing the blue with a warm orange/brown tone from the limestone, and painting the garage door to match the siding.
posted by steinwald at 4:44 PM on October 1, 2012

just as a follow up - we went with a dark charcoal for most of the siding, and a lighter grey for the trim.

posted by steinwald at 10:06 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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