Choosing an Exterior Paint Color


As I write this post, the activity at the house is focused on exterior siding installation, exterior painting and the front door is getting installed. On the inside the drywall is being taped and floated.

I’ve had a lot of angst about my exterior paint color, Sherwin Williams Restful White, wondering whether I made the right choice. So far it’s only painted on the trim, and it’s looking a little yellow to me, but I know that’s partly because of the very cool tones of the Arctic White Hardiplank siding next to it. Hopefully once everything gets painted the same SW color it will look good.

James Hardie siding in Arctic White
siding installation

My plan, from the start, was an all white house with a stone foundation, a natural wood door, and the possibility of shutters added later. I want to live with it a little white and decide if shutters are needed, and if so, where. I originally wanted it to be white brick, but soon realized that would break my budget. So we switched to cement board siding. When I found out that Hardie siding only comes in one choice of white, Arctic White, I knew it would have to be painted. It was just too stark white. My search began for the perfect creamy white. One that worked well with the exterior of the Andersen windows in Canvas.

James Hardie siding in Arctic White
siding installation

I break shades of white into “gray” whites which are cool, “yellow” whites which are warm, and “pink” whites which are somewhere in between. And you really can’t tell which category a white falls into until you hold one up next to another.

Whenever I’m choosing colors I use the paint deck to narrow my choices down to a few favorites and then order larger color sheets from the paint company. Benjamin Moore will to send them to anybody, but the website to order samples is a little hard to find. Sherwin Williams only sends them to designers and architects. In my opinion they should make the larger samples available to anyone, because it really helps consumers make the choice among close colors.

Several weeks ago I did all the color sheet ordering, stared at them for a few days, and then bought 4 colors in “sample size” from Sherwin Williams to try on the house. I put that in quotes because their sample size is actually a quart, which is way more than anyone needs to make a choice. Anyway, I took my samples to the house and painted them on window trim on 4 sides of the house. Most of those ended up being too dark, so I got 3 more samples and painted those on the trim also. They all looked very different on different side of the house, and in different weather conditions.

I chose Restful White because it seemed to me to be a warm off white that worked well with the windows. And I saw that they were starting to paint the siding today, so no turning back! I’ll post a picture when they’re finished.