How to select a paint palette for your home

Paint colors to make your house look good and blend with Atlanta's landscape.

Atlanta only has about 100 sunny days a year, and many of those are hazy.  We have lots of partly sunny days, and our share of cloudy days. But we only have 30-40 days of brilliant, clear, Carolina-blue skies.

And we have clay.  No way around that.

So it makes sense to yield to the inevitable: using a clay color on porch floors and for a painted foundation is the path of least resistance, for after a rain, the floor will have clay footprints and the foundation will be splashed with clay.  Like it or not, terra cotta is almost always going to be a part of the color scheme.

There are many ways to work with it or around it, and most involve using organic-type colors: greige, taupe, sage, cappuccino, fawn, chamois. Chestnut, cinnamon, henna, merlot, spruce, basil. Colors that look like a plant or mineral are most easily used with clay.

If there is masonry—stone, brick, slate—the mortar color gives the best cue for the painted trim color.  Most times, mortar is either gray or tan. Color match it, then go two to three tints lighter. This will always be more harmonious than white. 

Then, choose a siding color to complement, but not match, the masonry.

And an accent color for doors and shutters, and maybe window frames or mullions, too. 

That’s three to four colors to make the architectural details of the house easy to read:

            Floors and/or foundation





Rebecca Ewing Color & Design





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Mary Paguaga June 13, 2012 at 04:59 PM
This is great! I have been wondering for 2-1/2 years what else I can do to work with the clay color that my granite foundation insists on wearing - besides the nasty grey-blue that the previous owners painted. Didn't they learn anything from Sesame Street? (One of these things just doesn't belong)! Rebecca, your wisdom is always timely and spot on; thanks.
Rebecca Ewing June 13, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Why thanks, Mary. When Mother Nature gives us something that won't go way, it seems the only thing to do is work with it. Let me know what you use instead of the "nasty" grey-blue.
Claire Blehr June 13, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I find myself studying the colors of the houses in my neighborhood much more closely since you clued me in to the effects of weather and environment. Love this one! Thanks, Rebecca. Claire
Péralte Paul June 13, 2012 at 05:35 PM
How does that work if you want to have a funky color scheme or you want to be THAT neighbor who wants to stand out? Every neighborhood has one. . .
Rebecca Ewing June 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I'll show a palette or two in the next post, Péralte, for the bold and saucy among us, and how to pull it off without it looking like it should be in Jamaica. The key is to use a "saturated tone" instead of a "bright." There used to be a house in Midtown painted eggplant with ochre trim, and it was fabulous. Are YOU one who prefers funky?


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