5 TIPS to Testing Home Exterior Paint Colors

5 TIPS to Testing Home Exterior Paint Colors

When you’re painting your home’s exterior, testing paint colors is a must! Follow these 5 TIPS to testing home exterior paint colors. Even with colors in hand and a brick&batten design, we always recommend testing in your environment.  There are so many factors that change the way paint color looks on exteriors… including fixed elements around the house and the final combination of colors you choose. 

Below are the best TIPS for testing paint colors on your home’s exterior:

1st  TIP.

White or light color background/ edge:

Before making your final selection, be sure to test colors on a white or very light surface.  This doesn’t include a poster board….  This is so you don’t end up visually comparing your new color with your current color. To do this, you may paint a white or light color border around the end of your paint.  Look at the photo below.  It’s the same shade of yellow painted on a white background and black background.  The color appears different because of the colors around it. 

2nd TIP.

Isolate a large area:

The bigger the test area, the better. Choose a spot between two windows so the color ends on both sides and it’s easier to distinguish. This will isolate the area make it easier for you to see how the new color will appear. If you paint in the middle of a large expanse area you will notice your old color influencing how you see the new shade.

3rd TIP.

Paint the correct surface:

Be sure you are painting the correct surface.  That means if you are painting your brick, then do your test on brick.  If  painting siding, then test on siding.  Different cladding absorbs paint differently, so the color will look different on different materials.

painting exterior house trim

4th TIP.

Shade up or shade down:

If you like the shade test but just want to see a tad darker or lighter, ask the paint supplier to mix 50-75% darker or lighter.  Anything less than 50% you will not be able to tell much of a difference. 

5th TIP.

Observe and evaluate:

Observe your large swatches of paint at different times of the day.  You will notice different undertones and colors emerge.  You want to be sure that your home looks beautiful during the morning sunrise, afternoon full sun above (which may look like shade on your house), and the evening glow.  In the photo below, you’ll see Edgecomb Gray on a sunny day v. Edgecomb Gray on cloudy day.  It doesn’t even look like the same color.

In conclusion, it’s just as easy to choose the right color as the wrong color!  You want to get it right and testing will ensure your happiness. Follow the 5 tips above to get started and keep you on track when testing paint selections.


If you are interested in validation that you’re on the right track, if you want to SEE what your home will look like before you commit to painting, a new roof color, new windows, etc. or if you just need a fresh set of eyes, our designers at brick&batten are trained color experts ready to partner with you on a home exterior design.