House painting advice for the colorblind
June 30, 2020 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I need to have the exterior of my new house painted either this year or next. I'd like to change the paint scheme, but I live by myself and I have colorblindness. How do you recommend I go about selecting colors that will not result in something hideous?

Are there consultant services that can help with this? Should I hire an architect?
posted by entropicamericana to Home & Garden (22 answers total)
 
You could hire advice to any degree of expense - or you could look at paint-company leaflets for exterior paint, which have suggested combinations well within current norms for non-hideous.

What style and age is your house? Sunny climate or cloudy?
posted by clew at 10:44 AM on June 30, 2020


Ask your neighbors! Could be a great opportunity to bond.
posted by blue t-shirt at 10:45 AM on June 30, 2020


Oh gosh, you don't need to pay anyone to do this. If you're talking about interior paint colors, most major brands have palettes - sets of colors that are pre-selected to look good together. Here's one from Pantone that puts together palettes of their current color of the year, but they have tons to choose from, as will all major paint brands.
posted by juniperesque at 10:46 AM on June 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Good point about the neighbors. Here’s an example of professional color collections - any combination of colors within one of those sets would look fine together.
posted by clew at 10:50 AM on June 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: House was built in the early 1950s and I guess I would describe it as an early California ranch with a dash of minimal traditional. It's U-shaped with a large front porch in front of a large picture window at the bottom of the U and large windows at the corners. Gabled.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:51 AM on June 30, 2020


Response by poster: Oh, I live in a mediterranean climate, sunny. This fall, I will be planting elms in my planting strip between the sidewalk and street and native species in the front yard.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:55 AM on June 30, 2020


When you go to a paint store, they have strips of paper that show the common recommended color mixes. As long as you stick to colors on the same strip, any of those will be fine in terms of color coordination.

I'm not sure how much you are impacted by the colorblindness but I'm guessing that you might be missing out on the social/emotional associations that go with different colors. Take an assortment. Pick a half dozen that sound like a good idea and then ask others - not just what they like but what associations they have those colors - what kind of house would they expect to be painted that way, what kind of owner might pick those colors.
posted by metahawk at 11:03 AM on June 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


I would be over the moon if a friend asked me to do essentially what metahawk suggests. Or go to the store and look at palettes! Or paint samples on the wall! Or literally anything to do with home decor, frankly. Do you have a friend like me who would be willing to be your color-picker ride-along?
posted by kalimac at 11:11 AM on June 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


(Right, pandemic-modified follow-up to my last answer: I would be equally delighted to do these things over text with lots of photos or video-chat or otherwise socially-distanced.)
posted by kalimac at 11:12 AM on June 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


The website Colourlovers has a forum where you can ask these types of questions. I would also recommend using any number of paint brand apps to take a picture of your house (tip: use photos from different times of day and weather conditions) and virtually "paint" it and get the opinions of others Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap is one app that will do this.
posted by mezzanayne at 11:27 AM on June 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


We painted our house rainbow. We took red, yellow, and blue, and mixed them in the correct proportions with a scale to get a range of ~30 different colors of the rainbow. It turns out the paint shop will also do this service for you.

The resulting rainbow house is guaranteed non-hideous.
posted by aniola at 12:07 PM on June 30, 2020


Are you completely colorblind or partially? The last time I had to pick out exterior paint colors, I looked at houses in a similar but not adjacent neighborhood and noted which house I thought looked the best and told the painters I wanted colors like that. This could be easier with google street view and then you could send the screenshots around to trusted loved ones to voice opinions.
posted by umwhat at 12:42 PM on June 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Not colorblind, but we actually hired someone to do color consultation for our house-about 90 minutes, about $100. In the scheme of a remodel and paint costs it was a trivial amount. I’d previously picked my own colors for a rental exterior and they didn’t work at all with the roof-I’m pretty confident on interior colors esp in contained spaces like a bedroom, but for the larger spaces that are visible from each other and for the exterior, I wanted to get it right. She worked with what we liked and gave us some options and we ended up painting samples of the few we narrowed it down and going from there (settling on the lovely BM Kendall Charcoal, btw).
posted by purenitrous at 12:46 PM on June 30, 2020


Apologies if this is obvious: I know you're worried about something that looks fine to you, but looks bad to many others. But also make sure it looks good to you, the way you see with your eyes and your brain. Because you live there! And even if every single person you asked said "do this palette", you should avoid it if it looks weird or unpleasant to you.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:14 PM on June 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


Just look up "palettes" on google. People have already done the attractive color matching sets for you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:16 PM on June 30, 2020


Dunn-Edwards is a SoCal paint company, and they have extensive archives they like to use to create collections.
I also found this which has more to do with Mid-century Modern than ranches, but gives you an idea of what was on-trend.
This collects palettes from multiple pain manufacturers, as well.
posted by ApathyGirl at 2:05 PM on June 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ask a few neighbors which house on the street they think has the best color. Tell them you want something neutral and classic. Then if a few of them agree, ask the owner of THAT house what color their paint is.

Based on your description, you should probably paint it a creamy warm off-white. Timeless, classic, stylish.

I like the trend of painting mid-century houses black or charcoal, but it will be dated. White houses will always look good.
posted by amaire at 8:29 AM on July 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


(If YOU like the black/charcoal trend, go for it! It looks great.)
posted by amaire at 8:35 AM on July 1, 2020


Many higher-end paint stores have color consultants that you can hire to do this. Even a store like Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore can point you in the direction of someone if they don't have their own person in store.
posted by echo0720 at 4:11 PM on July 1, 2020


You want white/beige/tan. It's classic and simple and sells well.
Neutral tones are on most of the houses for a reason.
Medium to dark shades fade and need repainting faster. The underlying tones are more prominent.

Unless you aspire to being the odd house on the block, run from "colors." They can look good. They can look hideous. This can happen in the same day, under different lighting conditions.

If your roof color is neutral in the brown range, good. White/beige/tan will usually go with similar shades.
If your roof color is neutral in the grey range, good. White/beige/tan will have a pleasant contrast (cool tone roof, warmer tone walls), but not be a bad match.
If your roof color is "colorful" (red, blue, green), good. White/beige/tan will let the roof color take prominence without clashing.

Speaking of roof colors, check the very limited range of colors for metal roofs. Let the experts find your classic color for you.
A brief google-search shows tans and beiges with names like tan/sierra tan, ivory, almond, sandstone/light stone, and champagne. Whites are shown with names like bone white, stone white, pure white, and... white.
Get color chips from a metal roof retailer. You can sometimes get actual colored pieces of the metal. These can be sent to your home.
These can be color-matched at Lowes. I currently have color-matched quarts of the mistints that I am using on bedrooms and bathrooms. This way you will have a color-match sticker on the lid for future reference.
I use Valspar Signature exterior paint, semi-gloss on trim, satin finish elsewhere. Sherwin Williams bought the company in 2017, and both paint lines are available at Lowes. Other paint companies can color-match, too.

If you are hiring, check with the company. They will have advice on which exterior paint to use, and may have guidance on what colors will work with your current situation.
Be especially careful if they suggest covering a dark color without using a good primer coat first. I would not use a two-in-one product, or just a single coat of exterior paint.
Good luck.
posted by TrishaU at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2020


I think brightly-colorful houses typically look fantastic. Colorful houses started popping up in our neighborhood after we painted our house rainbow and I'm loving it.
posted by aniola at 12:50 PM on July 2, 2020


@aniola, I would love to see a picture of your rainbow house!
posted by betsbillabong at 4:23 PM on July 3, 2020


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