Simplifying Exterior Design

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When helping homeowners customize a home’s exterior, remodelers can easily be overwhelmed by the many styles, colors and products available.

May 01, 2000
Exterior design makes a dramatic improvement to this once lackluster house. New siding, dentil molding, windows and a balustrade porch were added. A new roof brings together all the colors used in the exterior redesign, while complementing the deeper-colored trim.


When helping homeowners customize a home’s exterior, remodelers can easily be overwhelmed by the many styles, colors and products available. "We have research that they’re afraid to talk to clients about color," says Angel Spiro, public relations manager for Owens Corning. The following guidelines can give confidence to even the most color-shy remodeler:

1. Shed some light on the situation. When making color decisions, remember that light plays a critical role in how people see color. Unlike interior designers who can use artificial lighting to enhance the color scheme of a room, remodelers must rely on natural light to enhance the exterior. Take shingle and siding samples outside to make decisions instead of staying inside under artificial lighting. Choose colors that look good throughout the entire day - under direct sunlight, clouds and in the dark. Also, view samples from different angles - straight on, side to side - the same way the product would look on the house.

2. Consider the house’s architectural style. This can be a good guideline for what colors to choose. For example, a traditional Cape Cod may look best with a more subtle color combination, while a Victorian-style house may inspire more dramatic color selections.

3. Understand the effects of lighter and darker colors. Lighter colors can make the house appear larger and create an impression that it’s closer to the front of the lot . Yet lighter colors can also make an area seem crowded if houses are close together.

4. A dark color might make the area seem less crowded. Darker colors can also make the house appear as though it is set farther back on the lot, especially with cool colors such as blues and greens. Darker colors will also tend to make a house appear smaller - making a large one seem less imposing - but it can also make a small home appear even smaller.

5. Account for architectural details. If the house has complex angles, using monochromatic color schemes can help bring balance to the overall look.

6. Add visual interest. Choose trim in a color that accents, but does not match, exterior siding to focus attention on areas such as entryways or porches. Also consider using a second accent color as a pinstripe or highlight.

Source: Owens Corning

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