Thursday, May 6, 2010

Houses in My Neighborhood: Color Schemes



With three dogs needing walks twice daily, I get around my neighborhood a lot.

As I go, I notice what people have done (or not done!) to their houses and yards. Within a five-minute walk of my place, you can see the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The best houses aren't necessarily the ones with the biggest, fanciest gardens. They don't necessarily have the most generous front porches. What makes them so good certainly doesn't correlate to how many cars they can park in their garage.

I think what makes a house's front look terrific boils down to a few things:
1. Color scheme,
2. Plant choices,
3. Seating,
4. Accessories,
and for all of the above, the proper...
5. Scale

Today, I'll take on color schemes:

You can't go wrong with the always-classic trio of neutral/white/black. Whether it's taupe or dove gray or "greige" or some other color, paint the body of the house some very soft, neutral color. Then do all your trim with crisp white, and accent the door with a nice, sharp black. It's classic, classy, and enduring good style:

Here's a terrific variation, below, on the taupe/white/black theme. The body of the house is taupe, the trim white, this time the shutters are black, and the door provides a wonderful pop of red:

In fact, if you have next to no money to redo the front of your yard, I think one of the best--and most inexpensive--things you can do to rev it up a bit is paint your front door a wonderful, unexpected color. This drab little house doesn't have much going for it, but look at that great persimmon-colored door!:

If a taupe/gray/beige house isn't your cup of tea, you can do a livelier color scheme and not have it veer into hideous. Here's a good example. The main body is light yellow, the trim is white, and the shutters and door are periwinkle blue:

Yellow houses can be so cute! Here's another terrific example of a yellow house:

Again, you just can't go wrong with white trim and black accents.

This house below has an unusual color scheme, but I think they pulled it off admirably. The main body of the house is a muted, grayed-back mustard, and the trim is painted white. The shutters and door are a beautiful, eye-catching dark teal:

It takes a deft hand to pull off such a bold combination of colors, but they did it right, imho.

Here's another unusual but successful color mix. The body of the house is a combination of brick and a grayed-back green. The trim around the windows is taupe, and the shutters and trim on either side of the front door are a deep eggplant shade:

I'd get that beautiful front door re-stained and sealed, but it's a small quibble.

Here's another taupe house I love. This one has burgundy shutters and door, which is really cute because the owners are huge USC fans. During football season--and definitely if the school makes it to the playoffs--they fly a huge burgundy-and-gold USC flag on the left side of the entry area. How cute is that--to paint your house to coordinate with your favorite sports team? But they did it right, by keeping the body color of the house verrrrrry muted:

If you're not sure what colors to paint your house, there's a lot you can do to help make up your mind. Walk around your neighborhood and notice which houses you admire. Ask your local paint store what they recommend. At the big home-improvement stores, find somebody who seems to know what they're talking about, and pick their brains. If you've already got a house painter, ask him or her! Chances are they've had the pleasure of executing some beautiful paint schemes.

Because you don't want to just wing it and end up with something like this:


Eeeeek!

Tomorrow, I'll weigh in with my ideas on plantings.

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