If you want to increase the value of your home, or just want to update it in a cost-effective way, curb appeal is the key — and few projects offer a bigger bang for your buck than siding and shutter replacement.
As a rule, you can expect a 70 percent return on your investment immediately from exterior projects such as shutter and siding upgrades, according to the National Association of Realtors. And the siding and shutter color combinations you choose when you plan your project can dramatically affect the visual mood your house sets for you and the outside world, whether you plan to sell soon or not.
That said, how do you choose the best siding and color combinations for your home?
There are two basic approaches — the scientific approach and the intuitive approach. Using a little of both can help you reach your ideal conclusion.
The Science Behind Siding & Shutter Color Combinations
Professional designers have long known that there’s more than hit-or-miss luck to choosing colors that work well together. Certain color combinations are known to induce warm, calming feelings. Others feel earthy and grounded. Still others are lively and invigorating.
Finding combinations that will tap the kinds of emotions you want your house to invoke starts with the color wheel.
A color wheel shows you at a glance how various colors relate to the three primary colors — red, yellow and blue. The primary colors are “primary” because they can’t be produced by mixing any other colors. They are, in fact, the “root colors” that are used to make all others.
For example, blue and yellow together make green. So, green sits exactly between blue and yellow on the wheel. The same is true of purple — an equal mix of blue and red, it sits directly between them on the wheel. And orange — the perfect mix of red and yellow — sits in its proper place between the two primaries. Colors that are equal mixes of primary colors are called secondary colors.
That’s all great, but how can you use a wheel to help find the best siding and shutter color combinations?
The wheel, as it turns out, groups colors in a way that can tell you, just by their location on the wheel, what kinds of rough emotions they will evoke.
For example, if you’re shooting for a coherent feel, you might go for a selection of analogous colors — the colors that appear between two primary colors on the wheel. Each set of analogous colors will feel relaxing and non-challenging, in a way, because the emotions these combinations tend to evoke feel consistent. But each set of combinations, in general, will lead to a different result.
The analogous span of hues that live between yellow and red, for example, evoke feelings of heat and energy. So, in this range, if you wonder what color shutters go good with Colonial Red, you might choose a muted shade of ochre or Navajo Beige.
Combinations between blue and yellow typically feel earthy and cool. And the shades that appear between blue and red will lead to a coherent set of colors that can express everything from coolness to sensuousness, or both.
Not shooting for a relaxing look? Try jarring the senses with complementary colors instead. Complementary colors are the hues found opposite from each other on the color wheel. They tend to make each other seem brighter, and the combination generally adds energy to your look.
Perhaps because of that, complementary color combinations are ones you might recognize on National Football League uniforms — the purple and gold of the Minnesota Vikings or the blue and orange of the Denver Broncos.
On a house, complementary colors are frequently used to add drama to your look. You might, for example, introduce dark plum shutters to green Mountain Sage siding, or use muted yellow Woodland Cream to highlight the dormers on a Countrylane Red house.
Other Terms You Might Want to Know to Choose the Best Siding & Shutter Color Combinations
A quick trip through a paint store tells you there are a lot more “colors” out there than the ones you see on our little color wheel. So where do they come from?
The answer lies in two words: “tint” and “shade.”
“Tint” is any color with white added to it. Add a lot of white to red, for example, and you get pink. Add just a little, then a little more, and you get any of the thousands of tints you might find in the light red sample section at your local Sherwin-Williams.
“Shade” is any color with black added to it. So, our basic red can turn into Countrylane Red or brick red with a little black added. And so on.
Add tint and shade together, and you get “tone” — a color’s relative degree of lightness or darkness.
Put this all together, and you have the professional designer’s key tools for selecting color combinations to fit any desired mood or effect.
Now for the fun part: using your intuition to select the colors that appeal to you the most.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to do this without a guide, and a Ouija board is not required. Handy online tools can present you with pre-selected siding and shutter color combinations for your choice. The options give you complementary and analogous choices to fit any style of home. You just need to consult your intuition to decide which ones fit you best.
Tools for Choosing the Best Siding & Shutter Color Combinations
One of the best tools for comparing color combinations on your house comes from James Hardie, makers of a high-quality fiber-cement siding that Sunshine Contracting Corp. installs on homes throughout Northern Virginia.
With James Hardie’s Home Color Tool, you can enter your Northern Virginia zip code for an array of home styles that are common to the region. From there, you can choose the general mood you favor — warm, fresh, cool, dark, light or neutral. From there, you can pick your siding color and choose from the tool’s selected list of popular shutter colors and other accent colors. Or, you can customize the look on your own.
With your final click, you get a version of your home’s design, dressed in the colors you and the tool have chosen.
Sunshine Contracting Corp. also provides a detailed design showcase tool that lets you compare siding colors on a wide variety of home styles, shingle styles and roof styles that are common in Northern Virginia. In addition to siding and shutter colors, you can experiment with trim, soffit, door and roof colors to get a sense of your complete future look.
If you like the results your tools generate for you, your work is done and your color palette is set. Just contact Sunshine Contracting Corp. to get started now.
If you haven’t given much thought yet to the type of siding you want, though, you might want to consider the difference between vinyl and fiber cement siding before you choose your colors.
What Type of Siding Should I Get for My House?
In short, vinyl siding is less expensive, running about $1 a square foot compared to fiber-cement’s $2. Vinyl is also light, but it can fade, blow off, become brittle in the cold or melt in a fire. Fiber cement is heavier and sturdier, holds color better and is a better insulator. According to James Hardie, fiber-cement can also gain you about 25 percent more in resale value than a bathroom remodel.
So, there’s a cost vs. benefit choice between vinyl and fiber-cement to be made before you choose your colors. Once you’ve made that basic choice, though, it’s time to compare colors.
Basic color combinations will work with either type of siding, although there are some differences in look and feel and in the specific tints and shades that are offered. To get a sense of the different looks in vinyl siding and fiber-cement siding that are possible, take a look at Sunshine Contracting’s portfolios of photos of vinyl-sided homes and of homes with fiber-cement siding installed. You can also compare fiber-cement looks on a variety of home styles in James Hardie’s photo showcase.
Northern Virginia is filled with graceful suburbs, small towns and farms with a mix of colonial, craftsman, ranch, Cape Cod and farmhouse styles. Let’s take a look at some popular siding and shutter color combinations and why they might work on your house.
What Color Shutters Should I Get With Countrylane Red?
Countrylane Red is one of James Hardie’s go-to red siding tints for the Northern Virginia region. The basic effect is described as “bold, distinctive, warm, inviting,” with a feeling akin to a drive through the countryside. To complement it, consider Avocado shutters to add an earthy balance, or Greige for a balancing neutral effect, like a fine herringbone suit. Black shutters can also nail your look down with a finishing touch of elegance.
What Color Shutters Go Good With Light Brown or Tan?
Monterey Sand is a light taupe that lays a strong siding base for dramatic, yet earthy, color contrasts. Pair it with jet black shutters, white trim and autumn red gables for a striking and classic look.
What Color Shutters Should I Get With Juniper Ridge Green?
As with most shaded greens, Juniper Ridge is an earthy tone that lays a cool, foliage-like base for your siding. You can add some drama, while staying with the country theme, with a complementary shutter color like Autumn Red. Or, you could opt for an analogous darker green tint like Deep Moss for a more soothing effect.
What Color Shutters Go Good With Chestnut Brown?
Like a massive tree trunk, James Hardie’s Chestnut Brown is described as “warm, rustic, inviting, natural.” Pair Chestnut Brown siding with the creamy yellow of Sail Cloth for a relaxing, coherent look. Or, try the steel gray tone of Light Mist for a more elegant finish.
What Color Shutters Should I Get With Midnight Blue?
To soften the icy-sky color of Midnight Blue siding, consider adding a touch of woodsy warmth with Federal Brown shutters, or a relaxing coherence with analogous colors like Forest Green or lighter Wedgewood Blue. For a touch of drama and elegance, go with a rich, complementary dark red Bordeaux.
A New Look With Partial Changes
If your siding is in good shape and you don’t particularly want to change its color, you can still change the look and feel of your house significantly with a change in shutters. Or, you could opt to change the color of your dormers or gables along with your shutters, and leave the bulk of your home’s siding alone. You could also keep the shutters and change your siding. You get the idea. A complete makeover may not be necessary if you just want to achieve a new look.
Here’s a look at a few strategies you can consider to liven some standard existing colors.
My House Is All a Shade of Blue. What Color Siding Should I Get for the Gables?
Blue is a wonderfully cool water/ice color, but too many shades of blue on a house can make you seasick. To instantly brighten your look, consider adding shutters in a complementary Burgundy Red. For a woodsier effect, consider changing your gable siding to a medium green Arbor or a shaded yellow Somerset Wheat. With white trim, the effect will look like a complete makeover.
I Live in Shades of Yellow. What Color Siding Should I Get for Accents?
Yellow is sunny and warm, but too much of it looks more like melted butter than summer sunshine. Consider waking the whole look up with Wineberry red shutters, complemented by closely analogous Autumn Red gables to balance some of the shock. For a woodsier look, consider adding Juniper Ridge green gables or accents. White trim helps to unite a tri-color approach.
My Siding and Shutters Are All Brown. What Color Shutters Should I Get to Brighten Things Up?
Brown is a mix of many colors, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Trees love it — they dress in it all the time. People like it too, but they tend to like it more when it appears with other colors. Try yellow shades on your shutters for a calming autumn effect. Earthy reds like Wineberry, Bordeaux or Burgundy Red will wake things up without breaking the earthy spirit of your general color scheme. And black will add a touch of colonial elegance.
Again, white trim helps to unite multicolor schemes of all sorts, but a darker version of your siding color can work just as well.
My House Is All Green. What Color Shutters Should I Get to Liven It Up?
Green is a classically relaxing color from the blue-yellow set of analogous colors. Generally speaking, though, only a summer forest looks its best in nothing but shades of green. Black shutters can add a touch of elegance, while Burgundy Red will shake things up a bit with a complementary, yet earthy, tone. Shades of yellow could warm your look up, while maintaining its relaxing general effect. And white could definitely brighten things, as long as it doesn’t conflict with a similar white in the trim, windows or doors.
Remember that adding tints or shades that are closely similar, yet different, can make other tints in your mix look dull or just out-of-place, so try to either match an existing trim color with your new accents or go with a more contrasting color.
My Siding and Trim Is All Red. What Color Shutters Should I Get to Tone It Down?
Red is a strong, dynamic color. Too much of it, though, can make you feel like you’re living in a fireplace. If you want to change just the shutters, your three best color choices are white, green or black. White shutters will liven up your look and soften it at the same time, much like a candy cane looks cooler than a flame. Black will add a touch of elegance and tone down the heat of your reds. And green will soften your red siding into more of a woodsy feel, like a tree sporting its early autumn colors.
Choose Your Contractor Carefully
No matter what color combinations you choose for your home’s look, you want to make sure the job is done right. Installing any kind of siding is tricky, but it must be done correctly if you want to preserve your home’s structural integrity as well as improve its looks.
With more than 20 years of experience in the Northern Virginia area, Sunshine Contracting Corp. uses the same crew for every installation. Unlike other contractors who call in different help for every job, our staffing strategy ensures that every job is done with consistency and the highest quality. Because of that, you get a 10-year labor and workmanship warranty with every job we complete.
Contact us today to get your home started toward a new look and standard of quality that will make you feel like you’re living in a whole new place.