Color Conventions for Painting a Home Exterior

See the three colors? The main, or siding color, the trim (white!) and the window (and door) color. It isn’t a perfect system, but will give you a visual of how a painting color scheme can work.

See the three colors? The main, or siding color, the trim (white!) and the window (and door) color. It isn’t a perfect system, but will give you a visual of how a painting color scheme can work.

For a homeowner who is getting ready to paint the exterior of their home, not only can the myriad of color choices seem baffling, but there is also the matter of trim colors and even the mailbox!

So, today we’re going to talk about color conventions, and some ‘rules of thumb’ a homeowner can use to help decide which colors to use.

Even among conventional housing models, there are exceptions within conventions. For example, some of the newer homes in the Valley use as many as seven different colors to address the different areas of the house--all in neutral colors, a point we discussed in this blog.

But, the homeowner who is repainting their home has no reason to mimic the many-layered color scheme unless that’s what they opt to emulate. For the repainting homeowner, there are three areas to be addressed.

The main siding

The primary color of the house is the one most people will see first when they drive up to your home. If a homeowner opts for a new shade, it should be one which they feel looks attractive during the sunniest and darkest times of the day.


Loosely translated, consider the trim to be ‘wood which is not a door.’Soffit, fascia, gutters, and other structural or accent features are trim. If you are struggling to decide if something is considered to be trim, ask yourself if people back East would paint it white! Arizonans tend to stick more closely to neutral colors, a little lighter than the siding color for a complementary effect, or something darker for a more dramatic look. Since some Arizona homes don’t have shutters, some painters will paint an area around the windows in a facsimile of trim.

Doors and windows

Doors, and sometimes windows, exclusive of the trim, are sometimes painted the same color. Using this rule of thumb will, to some extent, depend on the architecture of the home and desires of the homeowner. Also, the garage door may also be painted a similar color, unless the contrast is too great. No one wants a bright red garage door!

Making choices

By taking these areas into account, a homeowner can get a better feel for the types of colors which will play nice with his particular situation. Some homeowners want to keep their house the same color but may want to paint the trim. Or, they may keep the primary color and trim the same, but paint the doors a different color. Or, they may choose an entirely new palette.

As a final note, a homeowner shouldn’t be afraid to take leisure when selecting paint colors, try samples, and even try an app like the one offered by Behr. While none of these options will give you an accurate representation of the finished product, you’ll be able to get a general idea of the finished product.

While there are variations for every situation, understanding the basic conventions will give a homeowner an understanding of how to choose paint colors for their exterior As painting experts, we can also guide our customers through the details and options for their home.

M & B PAINTING, a Father-Son family-run business, has a proven record of Service Excellence in the interior and exterior paint projects. Call us at 623-289-3366 for all of your painting needs!