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Letting Geography Color Your Home

by Lauren Busser The House Designers Editorial Director

Monday marks the end of summer with Labor Day and while it may be the last hurrah for barbecuing and cookouts, it's not to late to give your home's exterior a little attention by planning to repaint. The good news is that you aren't limited to white, neutrals, or what some call "builder's beige" anymore. You can choose a bolder color and let your home say something about your personality. There are other factors to consider however, such as geographical location and architectural style. Here’s a look at some palettes that will inspire you for your painting project.

There is some dispute about the exact formula that influences color choice but the trilogy is typically architecture, nature, and people who enrich culture. One universal piece of advice when picking out your exterior paint color is to take a look at your neighbor’s home. You want a home that shows off your personal taste but you don't want it to stick out too much from your neighbors. Using the homes around you as a guide can help you make a better-informed color decision.

Valspar Paint American Classics

This American Classic from Valspar Paint® features a beautiful Heirloom Red that fits in perfectly with a New England palette.

In different parts of the United States, housing trends can be as different as the climates. In New England there is a preference for deeper hues like dark grays and greens, reds, and navies. These colors tend to have a historical route and lean towards Georgian or Federal style building. Additionally, it is found that New England color palettes rely heavily on the gray tint of the Atlantic Ocean.

As you travel down the coast to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions you find a mix of Tudor, Craftsman, and Colonial architecture. The Mid-Atlantic offers a similar color palette to New England but with more energetic and sweeter colors. Colors like sage or the varied tones of the river rock also make appearances in homes. In places such as Florida, the Mediterranean and Spanish style homes dominate with red clay-toned roofs and off-white stucco.

Benjamin Moore Grand Spanish Villa

In Florida, you may encounter a Spanish style home with red-toned roofs and an off-white or neutral stucco. The Benjamin Moore® Grand Spanish Villa is the perfect example.

Much like New England, the South also has a rich history. With charming architecture and colorful culture that influence choices you are likely to see lots of home that are brick, but also have rich blues and gray blues, oxbloods, yellow ochres, and light greens.

Moving towards the Midwest, where there are severe winters, homeowners seek homes that reflect warmth and invitation. Beiges, taupes, and creams are popular colors but colors are evolving to richer deeper hues. Earth tones such as wheat, golden browns, and soft greens compliment diverse architectural styles like prairie, farm house, and craftsman bungalows.

If you look towards the Western mountains in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana conjure images of the Wild West. The colors the homeowners choose in this area reflect landscape and history. You are likely to find lots of yellows, ochres, rich sienna browns, denims, rust, golds, and bright greens.

Sherwin-Williams American Heritage

This home from Sherwin-Williams® American Heritage Collection combines a beautiful ochre with a denim. The blue pictured here is called Downing Slate and three browns provide the accents.

Southwestern states are immersed in Hispanic and Native American culture. Homeowners in these states are drawn towards the color palettes traditional to these cultures. Beiges, red-oranges, and terra cottas with adobe style decorate the homes of the southwest. Homes located in the desert regions tend to blend right into the desert landscapes but are enriched by chocolate browns, blazing reds, yellows, and coppers.

Southern California has its own unique palette, and there the exterior palettes tend to be bright and tropical. There are lots of diverse cultures in Southern California but the Spanish influence tends to reign supreme. There are likely to be colors such as tangerine, marigold, pink, and lime greens.

Valspar Paint Mediterranean Eclectic

With lots of diverse colors, homes in Southern California have a varied palette. You are likely to find homes in a variety of colors but the Spanish style reigns supreme. Try the Valspar Paint® Mediterranean Eclectic palettes for more inspiration.

Moving towards Washington State and the Pacific Northwest, you tend to find a monochromatic color scheme with lots of grays, deep blues, and whites. Still homeowners experiment with tans, golds, reds, and various shades of green. With architecture that blends Asian and organic themes you are likely to find bold and subtle colors in the region.

Based on where your home and neighborhood are located you can design an exterior palette that will blend in or subtly stand out. Color choices are as varied for the outside as they are the inside and companies like Benjamin Moore®, Sherwin-Williams®, and Valspar® all offer a wide selection of exterior paints to fit any color scheme imaginable. Whether you are going for historical New England or vibrant Southern Californian colors your home will have a fresh new look and be the envy of all the passersby.