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How to Select Exterior Paints Based on the Color Wheel

Taking a walk in the neighborhood and bringing along your camera is a useful technique for collecting ideas when planning an exterior house painting project.

Even if you've lived locally for a long time, the act of looking closely at surrounding homes raises your awareness of what fits in your neighborhood and what you like. It prepares you for further color research at your local paint store.

Knowing what you want makes it easier to plan with professional painters in St. Charles. You speed the house-painting process by being able to show them pictures and paint samples. Understanding color wheel combinations also may make it easier to explain your preferences.

Color Wheel Combinations

These days, paint stores provide lots of brochures, including ones showing various ways of combining colors. These materials may include individual paint chips or ones grouped together as a suggested pallet.

Artful combinations of all these hues is based on the color wheel, a tool Sir Isaac Newton invented based on his experiments splitting white light into a spectrum of colors using prisms.

The color wheel consists of three primary colors -- red, yellow and blue -- split into secondary colors by combining equal parts of two. For example, yellow and blue form green. You get tertiary or intermediate mixes when you combine primary colors with adjacent secondaries, such as blue and purple creating blue violet or red and purple becoming red violet.

Mix white with a color and you get a tint. Black or grey added to the same color creates a shade. Tints and shades are particularly important when you decide on a monochromatic color scheme for your house.

Types of Color Schemes

The four main color schemes you may see in exterior paint jobs are monochromatic, complementary, triadic and adjacent. Each one describes a specific way of combining colors based on their position on the color wheel.

Monochromatic exteriors may be all the same color. But it's more likely that they combine two or three varieties of a color from light to dark.

Complementary arrangements tend to be two-color facades based on colors roughly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as a red brick house with mossy green trim.

A Victorian house would be well suited to a triadic color scheme based on three colors equidistant from each other on the wheel. One combination might be lavender, mint green and coral pink.

Adjacent colors are next to or near each other on the color wheel, such as a subtle arrangement of earth tones.

Professional Color Planning

Some paint stores offer color consultation. Color advice is also available through local contractors, such as Prime Time Painting, which have a long history of providing professional painting services St Charles residents rely on.

Contact us today for an appointment. We'd love to see your neighborhood photos and hear your ideas.