The Complete Guide to Painting Your Home's Exterior
Maybe you've seen it happen in your neighborhood: A house you once viewed as blah—or worse, an eyesore—transforms seemingly overnight, all thanks to a fresh coat of paint. "It's amazing what a difference a new color scheme can make when it comes to curb appeal and the market value of a home," says Paula Monthofer, regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors in Flagstaff, Arizona.
First you have to choose a palette, which can be next-level intimidating: You want to commit to colors that you're pretty sure you'll still love in a decade or more, that reflect your personality (at least a little bit), and that make you feel content every time you pull into the driveway. Before you color yourself overwhelmed, read through these shortcuts to finding your home's perfect match. Then your main challenge will be jealous neighbors throwing shade.
Choose Your Hues
The Frequent Front Door Color Swap
"Painting is the least expensive way to make changes to your house—at least when you don't have to pay the painter!" says Tess Gauthier of Bel Air, Maryland, who chooses a new color for her front door every three months and whose husband, Chris, wields the brush. (In lieu of payment, she lavishes him with praise: "He is an excellent painter, has a steady hand, and rarely needs painter's tape.")
Their colonial-style home is white-painted brick with gray shutters, which felt boring after a few years, so Tess started cycling through door colors to perk up the place: orange in fall, red in winter, pink or green in spring, and yellow in summer. The neighbors take notice: "I was out getting the mail once, and a couple stopped their car and said how happy they were I was outside so they could tell me they loved looking at our home," she says. All of which gets her thinking: "What should our next door color be?"
What to Know When Hiring a Pro
If teetering on a ladder in the wind or sun isn't on your bucket list of DIY challenges, find a reputable painting company to get the job done. Search for personal recommendations in a local Facebook group, visit nearby painters' Instagram feeds to view projects they've completed recently, or try proreferral.com, a website run by the Home Depot that matches your project with contractors and streamlines the process of requesting estimates.
As for how much we're talking: The cost of painting a house varies widely by region, as well as home style, size, materials, and condition (and possibly even by season). But Moon's starting figure is $3 per square foot of floor space—so $6,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home. Estimates generally include prep work, paint, and other supplies. Your contractor can color-match paint from any brand you've selected, and you can expect the project to take a couple of weeks (likely longer for large or detailed homes).