Choosing exterior paint colors doesn’t have to be rocket science. Our expert Mark Masica of the Edina Hirshfields teaches us some new things about color that will help you the next time you’re up to your ears in paint chips.
Use the LRV (light reflective value) rating of a color. LRV is sometimes found on the back of the paint chip, but always found in the index of a fan deck. Percentages can be referenced by: 0% = black, 100% = white and 50% = an exact mid-tone. Then choose your colors from there, and take the guesswork out of color choice.
Generally colors look lighter outdoors. The little chip you’re looking at while sitting at the dining room table trying to make a decision won’t look the same outside. This is because of the sheer size, and the amount of light. Generally I suggest people use a darker color outside than their comfort zone dictates, except for yellows.
ALWAYS take your paint for a “test drive.” Purchase a quart of your preferred color and paint out a good size area – a 6 foot square or more. (You can also paint plywood and put it up on the house if you don’t want to paint a section for real.) Live with it for at least a few days, look at it at different times of the day, in different light and solicit opinions.
Periscope your test color. Use a tube left from a used up roll of paper towels, and let your eye judge the color. The goal is to eliminate the colors around your “test” so your eye can see it on its own merit! Tinted paint is not returnable, so make sure of your decision before ordering.
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