5 Tips for Testing Home Exterior Paint Colors

When you’re painting your home’s exterior, testing paint colors is a must! That’s why we compiled these 5 tips for testing home exterior paint colors. Even with a brick&batten design and your suggested paint colors in hand, 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.

Read on for our top tips for testing paint colors on your home’s exterior.

At brick&batten, we’re the leaders in virtual exterior design. We started this business because we wanted to see what a home we were renovating would look like with a new paint color before committing to the time, effort, and cost of painting — so this is the root of what we do! Learn more about our virtual exterior design services.

Testing paint colors: Painting part of a stucco exterior wall white

#1 // Use a white or light color background/edge

Before making your final selection, be sure to test colors on a white or very light surface. 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 edge of your paint sample.

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.

A person rolling paint on a patch of shingle siding

#2 // 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 make it easier for you to see how the new color will appear. Keep in mind that if you paint in the middle of a large expanse area you will notice your old color influencing how you see the new shade.

#3 // 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. Painting your trim? Test on the trim! Different cladding absorbs paint differently, so the color will look different on different materials.

We always recommend sampling and testing paint colors before committing. Factors such as natural lighting, undertones, and your property’s fixed elements will have a significant impact on how a color will appear on your exterior. Our friends at Samplize offer extra-large 9 x 14.75 inch peel-and-stick paint samples of the colors we love for exteriors. Order your ‘Real Paint, No Mess’ samples from Samplize here.

Painting exterior cladding green

#4 // Compare against a shade up or a shade down

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

Edgecomb on a cloudy vs. sunny day

#5 // 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 above, you can see Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray on a sunny day vs. on cloudy day. It doesn’t even look like the same color.

Home with two different earthy color palette options

Testing exterior paint colors

In conclusion, it’s just as easy to choose the right color as the wrong color! Of course, you want to get it right the first time. Testing will ensure your happiness and make your investment worthwhile. Follow the 5 tips above for the most effective method of testing your paint options or 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, or if you have analysis paralysis and don’t know where to begin with your exterior update, we’re here for you. Our designers at brick&batten are trained exterior color experts. Plus, we have deep knowledge of all of the many other aspects of exterior design — from roofing to lighting to hardscaping. What are you waiting for? Get started on your exterior design project today.