Are You Guessing When it Comes to What Colour to Paint Your House?

 In Colour Advice from Heidi

When we are hired to paint the exterior of a house in Vancouver or anywhere else in the lower mainland, if there is a colour change involved, we sample the paint colour first. Even when homeowners have already chosen the colours on their own.

Bold Custom White Rock Home Brought to Life with Interior and Exterior Painting by the Water

Front patio of the White Rock coastal home painted by Warline Painting Ltd.

Why is it so hard to pick a colour for your house?

Choosing exterior paint colours is tough. I personally think it is way harder than choosing interior colours. And let’s be honest, you are going to be living with it for a good number of years, even if you don’t love the colour. Whereas, changing the colour of your bedroom isn’t going to break the bank if you decide it’s the wrong colour.

One of the reasons why it is so much harder to choose exterior paint colours is because natural light brings out all the undertones of a colour. So if you want a blue house but choose a blue that has a purple undertone, you are going to get a purple house. At least that is what your neighbours are going to call the colour. And you know what I think about accidental purple houses from my past article on the subject.

I’ve heard too many times “it didn’t look like that on the paint chip”.

The other reason it can be hard to get paint colours right for the outside of your house is the size of your house. Light combined with the large spans of an exterior wall will make colours seem lighter, so you really need to make sure you are getting the intensity of the colours right.

How to Sample Colours

So how do we sample paint colours on a house at Warline Painting? First, we start with my big samples to narrow down the colours that work the best with the fixed features on a house. That includes the roof, windows, gutters, stone or brick, vinyl siding and anything else that is going to impact the look of the house.

This allows our customer to see how it looks in different light and at different times of the day, as well as against the features of the house.

If you are testing colours yourself use a minimum of a 24 X 22-inch poster board. Paint on the side with sheen. Paint two coats – it makes a difference.

Sampling Colours for Custom White Rock Home Brought to Life with Interior and Exterior Painting by the Water


When you are moving the boards around your house to determine colour, you want to make sure your old colour isn’t showing as the background to the new colour you are testing. Otherwise, you are comparing the new colour to the old and that can seriously influence how a colour will look.

I laugh at how often customers are concerned about how a colour looks on a sunny day. Typically a colour will look it truest in bright sunlight. Yet here in Vancouver, cloudy overcast days are far more common. Look at the colour in sunlight and overcast skies (or shade). Give yourself enough time to mull over the colour in different light (and weather) and at different times of the day.

Choosing new colours for the exterior of your house will be far more successful if you take the time to sample the colour. It’s a small investment in time and money compared to the actual prep and painting to be done. Honestly, do you want to be known as the purple house on the corner?

Side View of Custom White Rock Home Brought to Life with Interior and Exterior Painting by the Water

Siding in Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp (CC-670) painted by Warline Painting Ltd.

Heidi Nyline
Wonder woman at Warline Painting, an exceptional painting company. Loves colour, food, wine, dark rum, beaches, dogs and family. Not in that order.
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