Unlike selecting interior paint colors, choosing exterior hues comes with the added pressure of displaying it to the world -- or at least the general neighborhood. Include pairing the hue with limestone, and the intimidation escalates. Breathe. You have at least a few ways to pick the best color. Sometimes, the color selection is enforced, depending on your locale -- see this as an easy out.
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Being presented with a narrow paint selection enforced by the color police, such as when a homeowners association or deed restriction limits what color your house can be -- maybe you live in a historical neighborhood -- makes your color-picking job less daunting. You're still responsible, however, for choosing a good match for the limestone.
Letting the Limestone Lead
- Look to the limestone for advice; if it's cool neutral mottled gray or blue-tinged gray, for example, it'll go well with similar colored paint, like a silvery gray or pale steel-blue shade.
- If the stone is creamy buff, it pairs nicely with something in the light brown or khaki family.
- Paint trim and any shutters slightly darker for unintrusive contrast, or white or red -- if an allowable choice -- to thwart a dismal gray, monochromatic outcome.
Just because you live where exterior decorating freedom reigns doesn't mean you should release your inner color beast. Show some restraint to appease the neighbors -- or at least for future resale value. In this case, consider not only the limestone color characteristics -- gray, buff or otherwise -- but nearby homes, your roof color and shade trees, for starters.
- Walk the street. If you live in an established area or coastal region, for example, you might see livelier exteriors and opt for robin's-egg blue to extract more of the cool color from blue-tinged limestone. But if you live in a modern development, where black, brown or gray exteriors prevail, you might go with light gray trim and a dark gray body, tying back into pale gray stone, and playing down any blue notes. Be warned that although dark colors work great for making -- particular -- human body parts look smaller, they do the same for house bodies.
- Look at the roofing. If the home's roof is visible from the street, contemplate how its color fits with the limestone. If the roof's shade -- forest green or sunset orange, for instance -- is one you'd like to downplay, avoid complementary color. Color opposites amplify each other. Opt instead to brighten the body with white or off-white paint -- pulled from pale limestone -- to dull the bossier color above.
- Analyze shades. Narrow down your favorite paint color, and then bring a sample-size can home, along with those a shade darker and lighter. Paint sample squares -- 2 or so feet wide -- on the front-facing exterior. This way, you can see how the color works with the limestone and other fixtures and effects, and how it changes with daylight or is affected by nearby shade trees.