5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme

Exposed aggregate driveway in Perth suburb

Choosing the right colours for your home’s exterior colour scheme can be frustrating and exhausting.

It’s not something you do very often — it’s expensive and physically taxing — so, ideally, you’d want to get it right the first time.

The colours of your home define its existence in a streetscape and help create the character of your neighbourhood.

It also helps set the scene for what’s inside the home, helping create a seamless flow of continuity.

This is why it’s important to select the right exterior colours that work harmoniously with your home.

To help make this whole process easier, we’ve listed some key rules to follow when choosing your exterior colour scheme.

Rule 1: Stick to 3 colours

This is one rule that shouldn’t be broken — stick to 3 colours. Choosing anymore than 3 colours and you’ll end up with the witch’s candy home from Hansel and Gretel, unless that’s what you’re after. 

Before you choose your 3 colours, ask yourself, is there an overall theme you want your house to have? Each style will have its own particular colour association.

For example, if you live along the coast then a coastal theme would be fitting, or using blacks and dark greys for a more edgy, modern and contemporary look.

If you want your home to look grounded, opt for a darker colour for the base of the home — this makes it feel solid and grounded.

For any parts you want to stand out more, paint them in a contrasting colour to the main house colour to help them be more prominent. 

Rule 2: Split your home into 3 sections

The entire home can be split up into 3 sections: base, middle and top or roof. This will tie into the colours you have chosen and where each colour will be used. 

The general rule for colours during this stage is 60/30/10, 60 being the main colour you have chosen — typically for the base, 30 for the roof, and 10 for less visible spaces.
This provides a straightforward way of thinking about external colour schemes and how you want your house to look.

Rule 3: Trends aren’t forever, choose wisely

Trends are always changing, so if you plan on choosing a feature colour make sure to apply it in a section you can easily repaint, in case you get sick of it or plan to sell the home.

If you plan on creating a standout feature, we recommend painting the front door to accentuate the entry point of your home. Entry points have become a recent focal point in modern homes, with mosaic backdrops, feature colours, feature doors, and feature garage doors.

Custom garage doors are ideal to complement your colour scheme and architectural style.

Another section to consider are retaining walls, also known as ‘low walls’, in your landscape. 

Rule 4: Create continuity

What homeowners tend to forget is that when it comes to choosing your exterior colour scheme, you’re also choosing the interior. 

What do we mean by this? Choosing a similar colour palette to the interior of your home will create a seamless flow between the outside and inside, a sense of continuity.

This allows your home to feel connected to the outdoors and works wonders for those who have alfrescos or outdoor entertainment areas

5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme

If you find that your external colours are too strong to use inside, consider using half strength versions from a similar palette.

Rule 5: Don’t forget about house materials

Your home’s exterior colour scheme is not restricted to just the paint colours you choose. Consider the natural materials of your home and use their colours and textures to your advantage.

What else contributes to your home’s colour palette? The landscape of course! Don’t forget about decorative concrete driveways, garden beds, retaining walls, outdoor furniture, and front yard privacy options. 

Decorative concrete steppers to your front door, or a low wall landscape in a stand out brick colour, or even natural timber standing fences can transform the entire look of your home’s exterior. 

Quick tips to help choose the right colour

  • Consider the roof — tiles or Colorbond with chosen colours
  • Existing window colours, can they be updated?
  • Do you have a decorative concrete driveway or pavers that can affect the overall colour scheme?
  • What features do you want to focus on? Front door, entrance design, portico.
  • Does your home have any prominent red bricks or stone that require extra work? 
  • Don’t forget to consider your surrounding fence, are they faded? Do they need some work?
  • Do you have an outdoor entertainment area that you would like to incorporate into the overall colour scheme?


Pastels are peaceful.

5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme - pastels
Credit: pinterest

Shades of grey and dark colours are in!

5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme - grey and black
Credit: pinterest

Earthy colours work well with surrounding landscapes and textural elements of your home.

5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme - grey and earthy colours
Credit: pinterest

Simply monochrome with a standout feature colour.

White on white - 5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme
Credit: pinterest

White on white

White on white - 5 Rules to Choosing an Exterior Colour Scheme
Credit: pinterest
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