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Fall Round Up - The Best Exterior House Colours for 2012

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

My most popular blogs are always about exterior house colours. I think it's because choosing the right colours for the exterior of your house is very difficult for most people. I've said it many times "You are not likely going to repaint an entire house because you don't love the colour you chose. So you better get it right the first time."

This summer we were busy. We worked on a number of heritage restoration and repaints, as well as a bunch of other residential projects and a few large strata complexes. And I finally got to paint my yellow house. In fact three of them.
So here it is. My round up and top choices of the best colours for 2012.

The Best Brown for Exteriors
I am loving the new Cloverdale Paint Artisan Colour Collection and by far Cloverdale Paint Saddlery (CA-078) was my top exterior colour choice this year. I am not going to admit to how many houses I spec'd in this colour this year. It just kept being the perfect colour time after time. The closest comparison I can make to this colour would be Benjamin Moore Stampede (CC-540). I find it interesting that they both have equestrian style names.
This brown is rich and beautiful without being too red or too green. I paired it with cream, tan, dark brown. In every case this brown did not disappoint. By far my favourite pairing of this colour was with Cloverdale Paint Soapstone (CA-034) and Cloverdale Paint Essential Beige (CA81). Soapstone turned out to be a great trim colour for me this year. Similar to Benjamin Moore Grant Beige (HC-83) but less green undertone. I used it a lot.
For a front door colour I paired it with Benjamin Moore Wenge (AF-180). If 2011 was the year of the Benjamin Moore Buttered Yam (AF-230) front door, 2012 is definitely the Wenge front door. Simply stunning.
The Best Yellow for Exteriors
I did colour consults for three yellow houses this year. I guess I finally got my wish. All three houses were similar in that they were heritage style. One of them was a stunning house down in Crescent Beach in South Surrey. You can see the photos on our gallery and I promise to have more on this house later. As beautiful as it was, it wasn't my favourite. My favourite yellow house of the year was the Ferguson House project in North Surrey. This 99 year old house was in dire need of an exterior facelift and that is what it got.

I really wanted colours to be perfect for this house and I think they are. Once again they are all from the Cloverdale Paint Artisan Collection. The main house colour was Cloverdale Paint Batter (CA115). The trim was done in Cloverdale Paint Birch Bark (CA010) and the shingles were done in Cloverdale Paint Royal Mahogany (CA215). I actually wanted to take the shingles darker and go to Cloverdale Paint Chocolate Raspberry (CA216) but the homeowner wanted to keep it a bit lighter. Both are great colours. That beautiful red sash on the windows, the railings and on the front door is Cloverdale Paint Autumn Maple (CA-228). I really love how it almost looks plum against the brown.

Batter works so well here because it is almost a cream opposed to a really sunny yellow. With this many colours on the house and the homeowner really wanting to use red we had to pick a yellow that wasn't too clean or the house would start looking like candy. Batter worked perfectly. It kind of reminds me of cupcake batter. Yum and yum.
The Best White with Green
Everyone that has worked with me knows I love Benjamin Moore Georgian Green (HC-115). It is my favourite green for interior and exterior painting. Usually I pair it with a white like Benjamin Moore Simply White (OC-117) but this year we combined it with Benjamin Moore Timid White (OC-39) a much creamier white with lots of yellow in the undertone. Oh my was this pretty. We accented it with Benjamin Moore Tate Olive (HC-112) and a front door done in Benjamin Moore Caponata (AF-650). The rich burgundy of this front door tied in perfectly to the deep purples in the garden.
Benjamin Moore
Georgian Green
Benjamin Moore
Tate Olive
Benjamin Moore
Timid White
Benjamin Moore

The Best Cream for Exteriors
I also had the chance to start working with the Sherwin Williams colours this year. I really like their Concepts in Colour fan deck. It has a great exterior colour palette and when I needed to find a good cream colour for the exterior of a customer's house, I had lots to choose from.

What we were looking for was a cream that wasn't yellow, wasn't beige and wasn't off-white. We wanted that light stone colour reminiscant of a Mediterranean seaside villa. Sherwin Williams Grecian Ivory (SW7541) was perfect. It is very close to Benjamin Moore's Lancaster Whitewash (HC-174). It contains the right amount of a green undertone to make this one of my favourite exterior house colours.

I paired it with Sherwin Williams Greek Villa (SW 7551) for the trim and Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (SW6258) for the accents and front door. The results were perfect but you are going to have to wait for the pics of this house. I am working on something special to showcase this transformation.

I have a few more favourites from this summer but you are going to have to wait to see those too. I found a new blue I love as well as worked with the some great greys this year. So what are your favourite house colours of this year?

Posted by: Holly Tedrick
Excellent post! I am painting my house (struggling with color choices). I like the Grecian Ivory/Greek Villa combo. I am wondering if you have any finished photos. Also, what gloss did you use for the front door?

Hi Holly,

Check out our Facebook page at There are photos of this house I just recently posted. I love it too.

Posted by: Ginger Erickson
When you painted exterior doors in Benjamin Moore's Wenge color, what level of gloss did you use? Semi-Gloss, eggshell or Low Lustre? Love that door!


Hi Ginger. We used semi-gloss on this door but I often use a high gloss on front doors for extra impact.

Posted by: Sarah @ReDesigning Sarah
Fantastic post! Love all the colours you have done and will look forward to the blue you are loving now too!


Thanks for stopping by Sarah. The post on blue is coming soon. I promise.

Posted by: Brenda Hyer
I love the Georgian Green paired with Timid White and and Capanato. When painting a ranch style house that has shutters, which of these colors should be used on the shutters?


Hi Brenda,

You could either do the shutters in Tate Olive or in the Caponata. Both would look great. Actually Timid White could work too. It all depends on your house. Feel free to send a photo.

Posted by: Nick Dunse
Great read, we do tons of similar colors here in New England. Very nice craftsmanship on homes as well!

Thanks Nick. I would love to see some photos of the New England houses if you want to share. Its always interesting to see what the similarities and differences are on the two coasts.

Posted by: kristie@thedecorologist
Thank you so much, Heidi, for sharing some fabulous colors! Can't wait to see the reveal of the Grecian Ivory/Greek Villa combo. You are the QUEEN of exterior colors!

Thanks a bunch Kristie. I am waiting on some landscaping on that house before we take photos but I have the entire transformation recorded and it is good.

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