Update Your Home’s Exterior with Confidence

By Jennifer Bertrand

Are you scared to give your home an exterior facelift? By asking yourself the right questions and following this quick recipe for gaining exterior confidence, you can pull off the look you really want with much less intimidation.

Questions to ask yourself

1. What do you want your exterior to say about you? Are you going for classy, calm, happy … you get the idea.

As you know, colors evoke feelings. Because my family has gone through so many medical issues, I needed our house to feel light and airy overall. However, I also love dark and dramatic. Later in life, I know my husband and I will have a charcoal and black home. But for now those colors are nowhere near our house!

2. How often do you crave change?

If you find that you like change, it’s all about creating a neutral backdrop. This gives you the flexibility to layer varying accents of color. Now, that does not have to mean beige or khaki. I just designed a space where my neutral was a dark forest green. Just ask yourself, How many different things can I do with this color? For example, with the forest green, it can be paired with charcoal, turquoise, camel, another shade of green, and on and on. So as you pick a color, think, How many variations can I layer into this so I can evolve with the color over time?

3. What is your favorite color?

Envision how you could use your favorite shade as a punch of color in your exterior curb appeal. Fun ways to use your favorite color could include on the front door, the porch, concrete steps, railings, shutters, house numbers, etc. There are so many elements that exist beyond the main body of the house. So, if you play it safe with the main color, take a risk and try something fun elsewhere! I have a designer friend who changes his front door color every six months—awesome, right? Well, that’s a simple change.

Have you ever pinned something to Pinterest and chickened out right before you were going to pull it off? That is the difference between a DIY job and the atmosphere a designer creates: We take risks that scare the average homeowner. If you’ve pinned the same concept in 20 different photographs and can’t pull the trigger, stop wavering and go for it! You obviously like it and just need me to high-five you into doing it! So go do it!

Common questions I’m asked

1. What is on trend in the world of exterior world painting?

Right now I’m seeing a trend in strong contrasts. People are either painting their house all white or dark gray tones.

2. If my windows are white, can I paint the trim around it?

Yes, but it’s a fine dance. Trim should stay white if you have mullions inside of the window (the white crossed trim pieces). However, if it’s just a surround, you can paint the trim; it’s just a little trickier. Search for “painted trim around white window frames” and see if you can find images you like. That way it shows you an end result without putting in any effort. Don’t be scared to paint your trim a color. Some of my favorite houses are simple and clean with a strong trim outline.

3. Does my exterior have to match the interior of my house?

Not exactly, but your home should have a consistent feeling. Like you would expect, I have color inside my home. But on the outside, it’s used in small punches of color that say—in a casual way—we like color.

4. What if I don’t like it in five years?

You can’t live like that. I get it, changing the exterior of your home costs money. But if you live like that you’ll never do anything. If you are freaked out by making a mistake or doing something too trendy, visit a local paint store and ask about classic exterior colors, or chat with a local painting company. They know what colors most people in the area are choosing and which look best on a house.

5. All of the other houses in my neighborhood look the same. Is it bad if my house satands out?

This question depends on who you ask. I am okay if my home is different. If you have a HOA you may not have a choice. But if you do have a choice, it’s okay to shake things up. For me, I’m not a beige or earth tone person unless I have a client who adores that. So I ask you to be true to yourself. Don’t pick things for others. And have fun!

Happy Painting!!

xoxo Jen

Jennifer Bertrand is the winner of HGTV’s show “Design Star” season three and cohost of  “Real Life Design” on cravingtalkradio.com. She resides in Weatherby Lake, MO, with her lovely English husband, Chris, and her happy son, Winston. She has big plans in life to conquer the design world … again.

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