Color Adds Character and Curb Appeal

If you’ve seen my designs, you know I love color! Looking back, some of the homes where I experimented with color turned into the most memorable spaces.

Color IS my comfort zone.


In fact, I live in a two-tone green 1930s Bungalow in Austin, Texas. A quirky, mint green front door welcomes me home each day, and I love it!

It’s safe to say most people live outside of the ‘color’ comfort zone and wouldn’t know the first thing to do with a can of bright red paint. Whether we realize it or not, color evokes an emotional response in all of us. It’s often the subtle hints of color that add charm and character enough to elevate any home from just another house on the block to one that has the right amount of curb appeal. No matter where you fall on the color comfort spectrum, there are ways, small and large, to incorporate color and bring life to the exterior of your home.

So, let’s paint the town!

Add color and curb appeal in 3 steps.painted front door

Step 1 :Let’s take a quick look at the emotional responses common colors.

Orange: passionate, fun, abundance, warmth, energetic

Yellow: optimism, friendliness, creativity, extraversion, confidence

Pink: Feminine, love, emotional, nurturing, tranquil, soft, comfortable

Purple: royalty, luxury, authenticity, meditative

Red: strength, confidence, courage, stimulation, boldness

Blue: serenity, calm, cool, intellectual, reflective

Green: balance, harmony, restoration, environmental, peaceful, growth

Black: sophistication, glamour, sleek, bold, strong

White: pure, clean, simple, sophisticated

Gray: neutral, hibernation

Brown: warmth, nature, supportive, reliable

And here’s the beauty in design: we don’t have to pick our favorite! Different colors speak to us in different days and times of life.

Color chart by Build Direct.

Step 2: Ask yourself these questions.

  1. What mood do you want to feel approaching your home?

  2. Are there any specific colors above that make most sense with the architecture of your home?

Let’s make this fun and DIVE right in.

Here are some ways to add color to your home’s exterior:


For a small splash, start with color at the curb. After all, your mailbox should be an accessory to the architecture. Check out Modbox USA for mid-century style curb appeal.

Front Door

Your front door is the perfect place to add a small splash with noteworthy impact. Did you know that research shows that houses with red doors tend to sell faster? The best part about painting your front door is you can change it whenever you please! From a cheerful yellow to a moody navy blue, the front door sets the tone as people enter your home.

Inspiration: I love this local Austin boutique and their magenta front door!

front door


Enhance the exterior of your home more dramatically by painting the shutters. Consider the era of the architecture here. If your home is Colonial, choose a rich, deep color. For more of a quaint Farmhouse, go for more soft and subtle, while a modern Farmhouse can take on black, white or even yellow or jewel tones.


Trim doesn’t always have to be white or neutral. I love how some of the homes around my neighborhood in Austin have multiple trim colors mixed with a siding color. Details like dentil molding will only further enhance your home if they are painted an appropriate color.


When you are designing your exterior, color is key. I always encourage clients to dream of their home not in terms of the surrounding neighbors, but in terms of what makes them feel at home! If you’ve always dreamed of a coastal style home, the first thing I see is pastel colored siding like this:

DSC 0358

Step 3: After deciding where to add color, you need to decide how to select colors that complement.

Here are some color styles to consider.

One color: Monochromatic

Did you know the “lack” of color is a color decision in itself? Choosing to go with literally ONE color on the exterior of your home is a bold move and one that I applaud; the siding, trim, windows and roof all in one tone. This works well on saltbox architecture, or modern modular homes. I’m currently working with a client that is open to an all almost black exterior…it’s going to be stunning!

all black house

Photo by Philip Ficks

Two colors: Tone on Tone

Tone on tone is deliberately sticking to one color, but finding two shades of that color to work with. Perhaps you use a darker color to give visual weight to the trim boards. Take my house for example!

savannah ga 3

Three or five colors: Odds Always

(Note we skipped number 4). If you’re embracing several colors on your home exterior, always go with an odd number. It just works better (and yes, your front door counts as 1 color!). For modern homes, consider 3 shades. Victorian homes work well with 5 colors.

DSC 0316

And if you’re really daring, like me, paint the porch stair risers or outdoor furniture several colors to create the ultimate whimsy!

Color truly dictates the character your home exterior and curb appeal brings to the street, so don’t be a wallflower!