When it comes to exterior painting, many people choose to repaint using the same colors that already exist on the house. But choosing a new color scheme can be fun and exciting – and can give your home a new, updated look.

With the whole palette at your disposal, choosing a new color scheme might seem like a very daunting task at first. Many homeowners who have never before created their own color schemes might be fearful of choosing the “wrong” colors. Experts at The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute have come up with suggestions that will help guide you through the process.

* Consider the architecture of the home. Some architectural styles, such as Victorian, lend themselves to elaborate four- and even five-color schemes. Others, like Georgian or Colonial styles, are better suited to two or three colors. Usually this includes a main body color, and one or two accent colors for trim, shutters, and doors.

* Take note of the material of construction. If your home is made of wood, brick, masonry, or aluminum siding you can paint it virtually any color of the rainbow. If it has vinyl siding, however, be careful! Vinyl siding should be painted only a color that is the same as, or lighter than, its original color. Dark paints tend to absorb the heat of the sun and transfer it to the substrate. Vinyl siding can warp and buckle if it gets too hot, causing irreversible damage.

* Take into account the fixed colors. Make sure you consider the colors on and near the house that either cannot, or will not, be painted. This includes the roof color, and wood, masonry, or stone that will be left unpainted.

* Consider the surroundings. Just as important as considering the fixed colors is also to look at the hues of neighboring homes and buildings -particularly those that are right next door. You wouldn’t want a color that is exactly the same as that on your neighbor’s home, and, conversely, you don’t want to clash with it either. Also, be sure to take into account any plantings that are in your yard (particularly if they flower, or are evergreen).

* Check for restrictions. Some historical districts, newer developments, and townhouse communities have restrictions on what paint colors may be used. To avoid disappointment – or worse – it’s best to find out about these limitations before choosing your paint colors.

Whatever colors you choose, ensure that they’ll look good and last a long time by using only top quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paint. Top quality paints adhere better and have better resistance to mildew, fading, and peeling than do ordinary paints.

After considering these factors, you should have a better idea for your home’s new color scheme.

If you need more help, try The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute’s Web site at www.paintquality.com or consult with the salespeople where you purchase paint.

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