8 Tips for Choosing the Right Exterior Paint Color – And Which One We Chose!

We are currently walking through the process of choosing the right exterior paint color for our home, and my gosh, it is NOT an easy thing to do! But because I am one to research, analyze and research some more, I have come across a few tips that I have found useful when choosing a paint color for the exterior of your home that I would like to share with you all today.

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1. Scour Pinterest for inspiration- Create a folder and save every photo that you love the exterior paint of. Then, once you’ve got a good sampling, look for patterns. Are you drawn to the darker, moodier colors? Or do you prefer the light and bright look? Do you like when the shutters contrast the paint, or do you like them to blend more? Take note of your patterns.

2. Scour again- Once you’ve got an idea of which color family you would like to be in, scour again. We know we want our house to be white, but there are so many different variations of white that we really need to narrow it down. Creamy? Bright? Cooler? Warmer? So many choices. Also, try looking for photos that state what color they used for the paint. I found ten photos that I really liked, all naming the exterior color, and then I got right to tip #3. (To see those colors, go HERE.)

3. Get samples- Go to your local Sherwin Williams, Home Depot, or Lowes and get samples. At Home Depot they’re about $3.50 for a sample can, and this is more than enough to give you an idea. I was worried that the base color at Home Depot would be different than the base color at Sherwin Williams, which might lead to slightly different colors, but after testing them both, rest assured knowing they are the same. :)

4. Buy foam boards and paint- I then recommend you buy foam boards (Target, Walmart, Craft Stores, Amazon) and paint your samples on these boards. This allows you to take the sample-painted boards all around your house to test what the colors look like in different lighting. It was very clear to us which colors we did not like on the sunny side of our home, which was very surprising since I was certain I was going to like a certain color based off of one of the photos I found online. This is a great step to take if you just aren’t quite ready to paint samples on your actual home.


Doing this made it very easy for us to eliminate “Snowbound” as it had a very green undertone being outside, even though we have it inside our home and love it! We were also able to eliminate “Moderne White” right away as it was almost blinding in the sun.






5. Test the exterior– When you have narrowed your choices down even more, and you are ready to take the step, it’s now time to apply those samples to the exterior. This will help you see what the actual color will look like on your home’s exterior surface, which may differ slightly from your foam boards. And don’t be afraid to test a few different areas on your home.





In our case, we knew Pure White was out right away after testing it, as it just looked stalk white on our house. And because I felt like our eyes were still comparing the Pure White next to the Simply White, I decided to paint our two top choices away from the other samples to have a fair comparison. Plus, I painted these ones bigger so they could be seen from the street.

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6. Ask Around- After staring at these two samples for what felt like hours, I was driving myself crazy and decided to ask around. Doing this can possibly confuse you even more, or can possibly bring things to light. After asking friends, I realized that I should also be comparing these colors to our windows so that the two whites don’t clash. Another friend said I should consider what color it might be once it’s “weathered” a little bit, and another just gave me the confidence I needed to finally make a decision.

7. Compare all elements- When comparing the whites against the color of our shutters (Tricorn black) as well as against wooden accents that we will have around the house as well, (wooden window boxes, wooden double doors, and against our wooden swing bed), we decided Simply White is our color. The color also matches our windows best, so we felt like it was the right choice.

8. Go with your gut! Is there one that has always caught your eye? Is there one you keep going back to? Listen to those feelings. They mean something!

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So there you have it. I had no idea choosing a color for our home would be so tedious. But, it’s a big decision! And if you are anything like me, you want it to be right. These are the steps we took when choosing the color for our home, and I hope they help you, too!


  1. Molly Tullis says:

    These are such helpful tips for picking a good color!

  2. The foam board idea is GENIUS! I am so tucking this one away for when the time comes to paint again. It’s such an arduous process, mostly due to my indecision! I really think having a larger sample will help a ton!

  3. These are all really great idea I love the sponge for a fact I tried something like this in the past however I put it on box Yeah Might not have been the best idea. I am the worst person at picking a pink color I literally by 35 samples each time

  4. It has to be tough figuring out a color for your whole exterior, but these are awesome tips!! Thanks for sharing, and I’m glad you found THE color.


  5. I totally agree with getting samples and testing the material out first. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips!

  6. Painting the samples onto a foam board is genius! I’m going to try that next time I paint.

  7. I love to use Pinterest for ideas. Using form for paint sampling is a really great idea.

  8. Sue-Tanya Mchorgh says:

    I never thought of paining samples on foam boards. This is a really great idea!

  9. I love these tips! It is all about that curb appeal

  10. Great tips — especially the foam boards. I’m sooooo horrible at making decisions, mostly for fear I’ll regret something drastic :)

  11. Yes great tips! I went in the home improvement store thinking I was “just” gonna get some white paint for my dining room and was overwhelmed. I did end up with a Dove white but I wish I had done my research first.

  12. I never would have thought about swatching on large foam boards. Such a great way to make larger paint swatches. Scouring Pinterest for tips is definitely a must!

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