Commercial clients often opt for exterior colors that reflect their logo, usually limited to a roster of colors approved by a property manager, or they stick with standard industrial hues. But your residential clients will present more of a challenge and may want your input on their exterior color choices. In fact, if you see a client making what could be an epic color mis-step and don’t offer some well-meaning advice, you’re doing them a disservice. Here are some of the exterior paint trends you can expect for 2014 so you can give your clients relevant tips.
#1 Back to Basics
As we discussed in Monday’s piece on interior trends, classics are enjoying a revival. While the interiors are reflecting this with pale grays, blues and yellows, for exteriors, white, beige and other light spectrum neutrals will be popular this year. You likely already know this, but “white” isn’t one color but an array of them. The same goes for beiges and creams. So which white should you recommend? Largely, it should depend on the trim and shutter colors. Because some whites are closer to a beige and some are closer to gray, you must ensure that you won’t get a bad color vibe between the accent colors and your white. Test patches near the shutters on a sunny exterior wall will give you the best indication of how the hues will play together.
#2 Native Color Schemes
In addition to getting back to color classics, a new trend is to choose exterior paint colors that either complement the customs of the region or that are in line with the architectural style of the home. For traditional homes from seaside cottages to Cape Cod, California paints curated a collection called Historic Colors of America that features 149 shades verified as historically accurate and in use from the 1600s through 1895. Southern style homes work well in clean whites, with barn red for accents and leathery browns and grays layered over original brick. Spanish style homes in natural clay adobe colors have endless appeal and Mediterranean style homes in pale yellows work well.
#3 Attention Getting Entry-Way
The front door of a home is the portal to the living space and a reflection to passers-by of the style of its dwellers. Color expert and founder of Sensational Color Kate Smith predicts bold doors in 2014. Smith foresees a “trend of people painting their doors with exuberant hues as a way of telling the world they’re… ready to move forward, embrace challenges and show their energy through vibrant colors.” For trendy homeowners, recommend violet, plum or tropical blue. Blues and gray-blues, deep mahogany or French gray are excellent choices for traditional homes where the owners want a little kick that won’t send homeowner’s associations into a frenzy. Darker reds complement many styles and exterior colors. Also, the more glass in the door, the bolder you can go with color choice since it will take up less entry-way real estate.
#4 Dramatic Neutral Trim
Benjamin Moore’s breezy blue color of the year “Breath of Fresh Air” will inspire increased interest in colors that evoke the coast. Look for trim and shutters in cool concrete grays ranging from light to darker shades and antique sea-inspired greens. Another trend is to keep accent colors in the same family or drawn from complementary palettes, but to apply different shades to shutters, sashes, porch steps and risers. A good rule of thumb is to keep shutters and sashes in darker hues and to stick to just a couple of shades rather than applying a riot of colors.
#5 Value Added Colors
If you know that your residential client is considering selling their home in the near future or your painting job is to prepare for an impending sale, the colors you recommend should be aimed at optimizing curb appeal and resale value more so than the current occupant’s personal style. Consumer Reports found that conservative neutrals are the safest bet for resale value. National Association of Realtors’ Dominic Cardone says, “White with black trim remains a favorite almost everywhere.” Conservative door and trim colors are also a plus for resale, while dramatic or overly trendy choices should not be recommended.
No matter what colors you recommend, selecting quality exterior paint products that are well-suited to the climate is important, as is properly preparing surfaces prior to paint application. Click here for an in-depth look at surface preparation for exterior projects.