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Choosing the right paint color can be daunting enough—we know the image of paint swatches and paint samples littering your dining room table all too well—but knowing where to start when it comes to choosing which brands you want to use can be mind-boggling. Some are better when it comes to the quality of paint finish and application, but not all of them offer mold-resistant finishes, if you’re looking to paint your bathroom, for example. To make selecting your paint brand(s) easy, we’ve broken these best paint brands down into 10 categories, from best value to best coverage and beyond, so you can find the best paint for your particular project. You may need to get a few of them too, based on the needs of the job and what it is you’re painting. (Yes, there’s a best paint that’s specific to ceilings!) Shop our best paint brands right here. 1 Best Coverage: Behr Marquee

$43 AT HOME DEPOT

With a 100% one-coat guarantee, Marquee is a fantastic choice when it’s time to cover old paint. Though it’s not the cheapest option, it’s great when you’re looking to save on home renovations because you’ll use less paint. Bonus: It’s stain-resistant too. 2 Most Durable: PPG Diamond

$28 AT HOME DEPOT

Scrub away—this paint’s high-quality finish won’t budge. Consumer Reports raves about its scrubbability and surface smoothness, meaning fewer touchups over the years. Better yet, it offers a lifetime guarantee, so it’s great for high-traffic areas like hallways. 3 Easiest Application: Sherwin-Williams Cashmere

$88 AT SHERWIN-WILLIAMS

This buttery paint glides on smoothly and doesn’t leave uneven streaks or stippling like some other paints. All in all, the application is super easy and the coverage is strong. Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://f7375651368771d96dfe1de6372e0677.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html https://f7375651368771d96dfe1de6372e0677.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html 4 Best Zero-VOC Paint: Behr Premium Plus

$33 AT HOME DEPOT

This Greenguard-certified paint is not only low-odor, but it’s durable and mildew-resistant too, making it a great pick for any room in the house. Consumer Reports favors its great coverage and scrubbability as well. 5 Fastest Dry Time: Ace Royal Interiors

$28 AT ACE HARDWARE

This quick-drying paint offers excellent coverage for the cost and can be color-matched to virtually any hue you choose. While it’s not the best choice for playrooms or areas frequented by pets, it’s a great paint for the price. 6 Best Kitchen & Bath Pick: Glidden Interior Premium

$24 AT HOME DEPOT

Thanks to its mold- and mildew-resistant finish, this is our favorite paint for high-moisture areas. Plus, it’s easy to clean—spattered sauces and cosmetics are no match. Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://f7375651368771d96dfe1de6372e0677.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html https://f7375651368771d96dfe1de6372e0677.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html 7 Best Chalk Paint: Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint

Now 43% off $11 AT AMAZON

This soft matte latex formula is a great choice for a distressed look. Ranked the number-one chalk paint on Amazon, it goes on smoothly and wipes clean with soap and water. “So little goes such a long way,” says one Amazon reviewer. “I’ve done multiple furniture pieces with two coats and still have half a can left!” 8 Best Ceiling Paint: HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

$36 AT LOWE’S

A built-in primer in this paint hides stains easily, while a thick consistency prevents splatters to make cleanup time a breeze. “The results were, beyond question, notable,” says a reviewer. “This ceiling paint left us with a stunningly even white ceiling. Thoroughly satisfied.” Advertisement – Continue Reading Below 9 Best Value: Benjamin Moore ben® Benjamin Moore $43 AT BENJAMIN MOORE

While it doesn’t offer the smoothest application or coverage, Ben is still a quality paint for the price. As a paint-and-primer duo, it does offer great value for a zero-VOC option. 10 Best Cabinet Paint: Valspar Cabinet Enamel

$54 AT LOWE’S

Specifically made for cabinetry, this latex paint offers the coverage of oil paints, sustainability of a low-VOC paint, and convenience of an easy-to-clean, water-based finish.

If you’re unable to embark on a home renovation in the near future, there’s an easy way to give your space an entirely new look: a fresh coat of paint. Not only is painting affordable and a fun activity to complete with your family — the right color can address a range of design flaws. Want to make a small space feel cozier? A dark paint shade, like brown, could work beautifully. Need to give a bathroom design scheme an airy vibe? A crisp white can get the job done.

For inspiration on picking a great color for your home, we’ve rounded up some of the top paint brands and shades that designers and experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute recommend. Here, you’ll find go-to options for a slew of spaces, ranging from bedrooms to kitchens. Before you grab your paintbrush, scroll down for a look at the best interior paint colors. Urbane Bronze

best interior paint sherwin williams urbane bronze

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Of course, Sherwin-Williams would choose Urbane Bronze — a nature-inspired brown shade — as its 2021 Color of the Year. The rich hue is perfect for giving just about any space a cocoon-like feel.

SHOP URBANE BRONZE Babouche

best interior paint farrow and ball babouche

Courtesy of Ariel Okin

If your interior is in need of some cheer, Farrow & Ball’s Babouche is the perfect pick. Interior designer Ariel Okin especially likes it for kid’s rooms. “It’s a zingy, happy yellow that gets its name from the distinctive color of the leather slippers worn by men in Morocco,” Okin says. “I love using it as an accent color on millwork (think: trim and doors) for a fun pop of unexpected color in a playroom or children’s bedroom.”

SHOP BABOUCHE Strawberry Red

best interior paint benjamin moore strawberry red

Courtesy of M. Lavender Interiors

Bring a jolt of personality into your space with Benjamin Moore’s Strawberry Red, which designer Mark Lavender chose to transform a playroom. “We used a satin finish to provide a modest sheen to enhance the exterior lighting into the spaces,” Lavender says. “We felt this sheen provided the best ‘glow’ without being too shiny.”

SHOP STRAWBERRY RED Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://4b16884e75a1be4f18b4563aaed998de.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Snowbound

best interior paint sherwin williams snowbound

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

When it comes to versatile white paint colors, it doesn’t get any better than Sherwin-Williams’ Snowbound. Kirsten Krason of House of Jade Interiors likes to deck an entire room in the color. “We like to use the same shades throughout for the walls, trim, cabinets and ceilings,” she says.

SHOP SNOWBOUND Aegean Teal

best interior paint benjamin moore aegean teal

Casey Durkin

Believe it or not, teal shades can lend a calming vibe to an interior. “It’s a beautiful paint color in a bedroom, library, office space or even on cabinetry,” says HGTV star Breegan Jane, who’s partial to Benjamin Moore’s Aegean Teal. “It awakens a carefree, soothing sensation that would be pleasing to almost anyone.”

SHOP AEGEAN TEAL Bombay Pink

Interior Paint - Valspar 2020

Valspar

Taking a cue from nature’s everlasting beauty, Valspar rounded up 12 gorgeous hues that bring the serenity of the outdoors to any room. Described by paint experts as “a mature pink that is confidently cheerful like a spring sunset,” Bombay Pink is best dressed with gold accents.

SHOP BOMBAY PINK Naval Blue

Interior Paint - Sherwin-Williams 2020

Sherwin-Williams

Much bolder than the other paint colors on this list, Sherwin-Williams’ 2020 Color of the Year is a rich, statement-worthy navy. While classic and cool, this deep hue combines the power of nature with a timeless confidence straight from Art Deco designs.

SHOP NAVAL BLUE Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://4b16884e75a1be4f18b4563aaed998de.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Calming Green

Interior Paint - Behr 2020

Behr

Even when the weather outside convinces you otherwise, this “calm, gracious, and balanced” green inspires you to get out in nature and embrace all that it has to offer. Considered “nature’s neutral,” Behr’s paint, aptly called Back to Nature, achieves the meadow-inspired color by the combination of light and dark greens.

SHOP BACK TO NATURE Light Pink

Interior Paint - Benjamin Moore 2020

Benajmin Moore

Lighten up your space with Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Color of the Year. A unique alternative to classic white or beige, First Light is the “backdrop for a bright new decade.” But if you prefer something with more personality, opt for another one of their 10 inspiring picks, including a pure grey and a rich blue-green.

SHOP FIRST LIGHT Porcelain Blue

Interior Paint - PPG 2020

PPG

To help make 2020 your most restful year yet, PPG named Chinese Porcelain this year’s Color of the Year. Inspired by the sky and the sea, this perfect blend of “cobalt and moody ink blue” aims to take people away from their screens and stresses of everyday life.

SHOP CHINESE PORCELAIN Best Overall Regal Select Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore store.benjaminmoore.com $54.99 SHOP NOW

Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select is a great all around. The nice, thick paint goes on easily, which provides impressive coverage that will last. It’s also extremely durable and cleans easily, so it earns high marks across all areas. You won’t be able to find it at retailers like Home Depot, so your best bet is to shop for it at paint or specialty stores.  Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://4b16884e75a1be4f18b4563aaed998de.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Runner-Up Signature Valspar Valspar valsparpaint.com $4.50 SHOP NOW

Valspar Signature paint was the runner-up in our tests, so it’s a solid alternative to our Top Lab Pick. Not only did it score well in our stain removal tests, but it has good coverage and finish quality, too. Our consumer testers thoughtthis low-VOC paint plus primer looked good overall, but there was some room for improvement when it came to the evenness of its coverage.  Best Value ben Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore store.benjaminmoore.com $39.99 SHOP NOW

Benjamin Moore’s ben is a good value for the quality of the paint that you get. Not only is the paint and primer duo affordable, but it also contains zero volatile organic compounds, (or VOCs, a.k.a. gasses). It also comes in three different finishes: eggshell, flat, and semi-gloss, so you still have plenty of options for painting without breaking the bank.
Best for Kitchens and Bathrooms Interior Premium Home Depot Glidden homedepot.com $19.98 SHOP NOW

Glidden Interior Premium paint is mold- and mildew-resistant, making it a smart pick for high-moisture areas like kitchens and bathrooms. When we tested it, the paint dried fast and seemed unlikely to fade. It also cleans easily and was good at resisting stains, so splattered food and makeup messes are no big deal.  Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://4b16884e75a1be4f18b4563aaed998de.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Sponsored by West Elm

The return of modern classics

What makes a classic? Think timeless style, versatility and durability. Our newest generation of furniture is sleek, sophisticated and ready to evolve with your home.See More Best for Bedrooms Natura Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore benjaminmoore.com SHOP NOW

Testers didn’t find much wrong with Benjamin Moore Natura paint. Along withzero VOCs, it has fade- and stain-resistance, making it an attractive option for bedrooms or living rooms. It also had great coverage — making it a great pick all around. Just note that we found it a bit messy to apply. Best for Laundry Rooms Paint & Primer In One Behr Behr Premium Plus homedepot.com $28.98 SHOP NOW

Behr Premium Plus paint has everything you’d expect from a premium paint, like stain and UV resistance. It is low-VOC and resists the growth of mildew, so it’s suitable for laundry rooms, bathrooms, and other spaces that may be damp. Best for Beginners Accolade

Pratt & Lambert amazon.com $50.95 SHOP NOW

With great coverage, easy stain removal, and a fast dry time, Pratt and Lambert Accolade paint is easy to apply. Its resistance to mold and mildew makes it a great choice for kitchens and baths. In our testing, its performance was slightly sub par in holding up to wear and tear, so avoid applying it to high-traffic areas, like a narrow hallway, stairwell wall, or garage. Advertisement – Continue Reading Below https://4b16884e75a1be4f18b4563aaed998de.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Best for Large Rooms Duration Home Sherwin-Williams Sherwin-Williams sherwin-williams.com $52.49 SHOP NOW

When we tried it, Sherwin-Williams‘ low-VOC Duration Home went on smooth with little-to-no splatter. It held up to stains well, and the paint didn’t fade during our accelerated UV tests (which means it will probably keep its color in a sunny room). Our painted samples stood up to abrasion, too. We found this formula offered great coverage area and quality, so a gallon should cover as much, if not more, than many other paints. Best for Accent Walls Aura Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore store.benjaminmoore.com $34.99 SHOP NOW

Benjamin Moore Aura paint is definitely on the more expensive side, but you do get what you pay for. Testers loved its appearance (it’s particularly great for bright colors in small areas!) and how easy it was to apply. It scored excellent for stain resistance, but avoid scrubbing too hard because it wasn’t great resisting abrasion. It’s also another low-VOC paint, and it’s suitable for high-moisture places like your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Best for Covering Old Paint Marquee Behr Behr homedepot.com $38.98 SHOP NOW

Behr Marquee interior paint is a great pick if you’re looking to save during home renovations. It’s very good at hiding old paint because it has great coverage. There’s even a guarantee that it’ll hide imperfections in just one coat. The acrylic-based paint is also low-VOC and easily accessible at Home Depot (where it can be tinted to over 200 colors!). 

We ask a lot from house paint. It’s not only expected to give our home a new look but also to withstand freezing winters, blistering summers, soaking rains, and a daily bombardment of UV radiation without cracking, fading, or peeling.

Such miracles don’t come without expense and effort. For the best results, you need an exterior paint that’s packed with high-quality resins, pigments, and additives, as well as a clean, smooth surface for the new finish to stick to. Making this investment in material and labor will virtually guarantee that you won’t have to drag out the ladders again anytime soon.

Modern advances in paint technology—specifically the arrival of all-acrylic formulations—have made the task of finding a top-shelf product fairly simple. Just look for “100 percent acrylic latex” on the label. You’ll be getting a paint that remains flexible, breathable, and colorfast far longer than paints made with vinyl resins or acrylic blends. And because it adheres tenaciously to most surfaces, you can use it with confidence on wood, vinyl, metal, and masonry.

Vitals

What’s it cost? A gallon can range from $17 to more than $100. Higher-cost paints have better-quality ingredients, which help ensure long-term durability.

Hire a pro or DIY? Anyone can brush on paint. But doing an entire house is a big job. If you don’t have patience for prep or a yen to climb ladders, hire it out.

How much care? When siding and trim look dingy, a wash with detergent, a scrub brush, and a garden hose can restore a paint job’s good looks.

When to paint? The best time is when temperatures remain between 50 and 90 degrees and the humidity is low. In these conditions, paint should brush out and dry properly.

How long will it last? That depends on the paint and what it’s applied to. Two coats of top-quality paint over primed wood might last 10 to 15 years. Two coats on stucco can hold up significantly longer.

What’s in the Can?

Proportions vary, but the basic ingredients that go into most exterior paints remain the same.

Solvents: Quick-to-evaporate liquids keep binders and pigments in suspension.
Pigments: Powdered minerals and man-made colors give paint its hue and opacity.
Additives: They control dry time, leveling, and mildew, among other things.
Binders: These resins coalesce to form the paint film after the solvents evaporate.

Comparing Acrylics

Paints made with 100 percent acrylic resins rank as the best all around, but, as these three Benjamin Moore products show, the proportions of ingredients, coverage rates, and dry-film thicknesses can vary significantly. This information is found on technical data sheets (TDS), which all manufacturers provide at no cost online.

Decoding the Lingo:

Solids: All the resins and pigments left behind after the solvents evaporate. A higher solids ratio may indicate a good paint if its resins and pigments are of high quality.
Dry-film thickness: Each paint is formulated to attain a certain thickness, measured in mils, when brushed or rolled out. One mil is one-thousandth of an inch, about one-quarter the thickness of human hair.
Coverage: This number goes up as the film thickness goes down. Use it to calculate how much paint you need to buy.
VOCs: The abbreviation stands for volatile organic compounds—solvents that adversely affect our lungs and air quality. Federal regulations limit the amount of VOCs to 250 grams per liter in exterior flats and 380 in glossier coatings.

Shown: Exterior-grade acrylic paints have outstanding durability, whether applied to siding or trim. Similar to shown: Guacamole (siding) and Delicate White (trim) in Olympic Premium Exterior with DirtGuard Technology, about $20 per gallon; Olympic Paints & Stains

Comparing Acrylics: Good

Ben

Type: 100 percent acrylic
Sheen: Flat
Solids (by volume): 34.5 percent
Dry-film thickness: 1.3 mils
Coverage per gallon: 350 to 475 square feet
VOCs: 44 grams per liter

Price: about $40 per gallon

Comparing Acrylics: Better

Moorlife

Type: 100 percent acrylic
Sheen: Flat
Solids (by volume): 42 percent
Dry-film thickness: 1.9 mils
Coverage per gallon: 300 to 400 square feet
VOCs: 47 grams per liter

Price: about $40 per gallon

Comparing Acrylics: Best

Aura

Type: 100 percent acrylic
Sheen: Flat
Solids (by volume): 46 percent
Dry-film thickness: 2.1 to 2.9 mils
Coverage per gallon: 250 to 350 square feet
VOCs: 45 grams per liter

Price: about $65 per gallon

When to Use Oil-based Paint

With the advent of easy-to-use water-based paints in the 1950s and greater restrictions on high-VOC solvents, the use of oil-based paints in the U.S. has been steadily shrinking. Even so, oils have a gloss, smoothness, dirt resistance, and hardness that no latex can match. So it still makes sense to use them in certain outdoor applications: doors, wrought iron, and trim, as well as details that will be touched, closely examined, or that deserve a standout shine. Oil’s toughness also makes it ideal for porch floors.

Shown: Dusky Blue in Porch and Floor Enamel, about $65 per gallon; Benjamin Moore

New and Unusual

Here are some specialty coatings to consider, and a few that deserve some extra caution.

No-fade paint: NeverFade (shown here, about $90 per gallon; NeverFade) contains Kynar Aquatec, a water-based resin guaranteed to resist UV degradation for 15 years. Must be applied by a company-certified contractor.
Natural paint: Linseed Paint (about $160 per 0.85 gallon; Solvent Free Paint) has no solvents, petroleum, VOCs, or toxic ingredients. Three coats should last 50 years. Made from an age-old recipe using only boiled linseed oil and ground-up minerals.
Waterborne oil: Eco (about $50 per liter; Fine Paints of Europe) is an oil paint you clean up with soap and water. More flexible and fade resistant than regular oils but not as smooth. Not for use on porch floors.
Gelled oil: In the can, Trim & Door (about $20 per quart; Glidden) has the consistency of mousse, so it won’t drip, yet it levels out to a beautiful, even shine.
Self-priming paint: It’s sold as a step-saver, but then it might take more coats to get the right opacity and sheen. About $25 per gallon from various manufacturers.
Liquid-vinyl siding: This thick coating, sprayed on by a pro, is warranted for 25 years or more, depending on the franchise that applies it. At $3.50 to $5 per square foot, it’s double the cost of a professional paint job.
Solid-color stain: Sold widely as an easy-to-apply coating with a perfectly flat sheen. Forms a thin film that allows underlying texture to show through, but it’s not as durable as paint. About $30 per gallon from various manufacturers.

Paints for Masonry

Any coating that goes over brick, stone, or stucco has to allow water vapor to pass through it. That’s why oil-based finishes must be avoided; they trap moisture, wreak havoc on mortar, and quickly fail. Choose one of these three options instead.

Acrylic: High-end house paints (above, over brick) do allow moisture to escape but need an alkali-resistant primer to protect them from cement’s high pH. Similar to shown: Stellar 249 in C5200, about $60 per gallon; C2 Paint.

Lime: An ancient coating formula of slaked quicklime and mineral pigments gives masonry a rich, old-world look. Its velvety finish wears off easily and needs to be reapplied about every five years. Products such as Pit Lime Paint (starting at about $50 per gallon; Unearthed Paints) can be ordered online.

Mineral: Instead of resins and solvents, mineral paints, such as Quartz Guard (about $90 per gallon; LimeWorks.us), use silicates, which chemically bond to masonry to form a completely breathable, extremely durable skin. Two coats should last 50 years.

Pick Your Sheen

A paint’s gloss, or lack of it, is not just about aesthetics. It also affects how a paint performs and, therefore, where it’s applied.

1. Satin/eggshell: Best for siding because it’s a low-reflective finish that’s good at hiding surface imperfections. It has a slight gloss, so it stays cleaner, is more easily washed, and stands up to abrasion better than flat or matte paints.
2. Semigloss: This shinier sheen is easier to clean, more durable, and more moisture resistant than a satin or eggshell paint. Best for trim, particularly on windowsills, which take the brunt of the weather.
3. High gloss: This resin-rich formula is resilient and dirt-repellent, and adds richness and depth to colors. It also magnifies surface imperfections and requires skillful application. Use it sparingly; best for shutters, doors, and surfaces you touch or come in close proximity to.

Similar to shown: Serious Gray (siding), Extra White (trim), and Wild Current (shutters) in Duration, about $70 per gallon; Sherwin-Williams

How Much to Buy

To calculate how many gallons you need for siding, measure and add up each wall’s total square footage, including windows and doors, and divide by 90 percent of the coverage rate printed on the can. For trim paint, use the equation at left.

Safe Stripping

Peeling or flaking paint must be removed. On houses built after 1978, you can attack it with sanders, scrapers, or chemicals, as well as with heat, using a device like the Speedheater Infrared Paint Remover (about $600, Eco Strip), shown.

But on a pre-1978 house, the paint could contain lead, and heedlessly assaulting it will be harmful to you, your family, and your property.

When in doubt, test the paint, either with LeadCheck swabs, available at home centers, or by sending a sample to a lab, such as PRO-LAB.

If the results are positive, your safest option is to hire a contractor who is trained and EPA certified in proper paint-removal procedures. (To find a pro in your area, go to U.S. EPA.)

Taking care of lead paint on a house is a pricey process, but there are no shortcuts when dealing with this toxin.

How to Get a Long-Lasting Paint Job: Prep

Paint adheres best to clean, dry, sound surfaces. First, wash siding and trim to remove dirt and mildew, then scrape and sand loose paint down to the substrate or a smooth base layer. (Warning: If you suspect lead paint, see “Safe stripping,” previous.) Replace or repair rotted or broken siding or trim. Fill holes or divots, and caulk open joints.

How to Get a Long-Lasting Paint Job: Prime

Primer grips the surface and gives it a uniform porosity. Use primer over unpainted wood siding or a chalky surface. It’s not needed over sound paint. For best results, stick with primers labeled “exterior” or “interior/exterior.” All oil-based primers and some water-based ones stop “bleeding” of red cedar and redwood. Coat knots with a pigmented shellac, such as BIN.

How to Get a Long-Lasting Paint Job: Paint

Stay in the shade as much as possible. Start at the top and work down. Do the siding before tackling the trim. But if a wall is mostly trim, as shown at right, paint that first. Keep a wet edge as you work to avoid leaving lap marks. Postpone painting if heavy rain is likely within 6 to 8 hours after paint is applied.


Pro Advice: “If spray painting, always back-brush or roll the wet paint immediately after it’s applied. By doing this, you’ll ensure that the paint is the correct thickness and is worked into every corner, nook, and cranny.” —Rich O’Neil, Masterwork Painting & Restoration

How to Choose the Right Color

Use your house and its surroundings as your guide.

House: Pick complements to colors that already exist on your home, such as a honey hue on a cedar-shingle roof, red on a brick foundation, or gray on a stone stoop.
Neighborhood: Survey your block. Painting your house a tropical turquoise among a sea of gray and beige will make it stand out—in a bad way. A muted blue or green would be a better fit but still distinguish it.
Landscape: Play off nature. A light green, for instance, might be just the ticket for a property thick with trees and sun-dappled shade, while a dusky ocher would complement the sun-scorched deserts of the southwest.
Weather: The farther south you go, the more intense the sun. So use bright, saturated colors that won’t appear washed out in the harsh light. In wintry northern climates, where the landscape is leafless and the sky is gray for much of the year, cooler hues prevail.

Multihue Schemes

Use a varied palette to call out your home’s best assets or to help create interest on otherwise plain facades. Here’s how:

Consider the components. Think of your home as the sum of three parts: the body (siding), the trim (window and door casings, fascias), and the movable elements (windows, doors, and shutters). Give each part its own color. Entry doors in a separate accent color add drama to the facade.
Highlight levels and textures. A change in siding from clapboards on the first floor to shingles on the second or in the gables, for instance, is an invitation to introduce another body color. Accent colors can also play up banding, half-timbering, and other decorative trim, such as the turnings on the eaves brackets seen above.
Make good use of darks and lights. Dark colors are perceived as weighty, so they work well on a foundation or a lower story to anchor a house to the ground. Lighter hues on an upper story draw the eye up and set off the roof and its shaded eaves.
Go online. Using paint-company color selectors, upload a shot of your house, then drag and drop swatches to create a desirable scheme. But before you invest in gallons, brush sample colors on primed 2-by-2-foot medium-density fiberboard panels and view them against each side of the house to make sure you’re happy with the hues.

Historic Color Palette: Queen Anne

This exuberant late-19th-century style made full use of the earthy color choices newly available in mass-produced paints.

Shown: Georgian Brick (second-floor siding), Monterey White (third-floor siding and porch trim), and Fairview Taupe (window and rake trim) in Aura Waterborne Exterior, about $65 per gallon; Benjamin Moore

Historic Color Palette: Shotgun Cottage

This distinctly Southern architectural style favors fancy trim and colors such as tan, gray, and white, set off by dark shutters.

Shown: Spun Gold (siding), Cinema Screen (trim), LaFonda Geranium Red (shutters), and Surf Spray (porch ceiling) in Duramax Exterior, about $40 per gallon; Valspar

Historic Color Palette: Bungalow

This simple house style from the first third of the 20th century is characterized by bold trim and architectural details, such as eaves brackets. At the time, body colors tended to be muted autumnal shades of brown, green, and gray.

Similar to shown: Thomas Point Light (siding), Antique White (trim), and Peach Clay (windows and brackets) in Glidden Exterior; about $20–$40 per gallon; Glidden

Historic Color Palette: Colonial Revival

Pastel siding with light trim predominates, in keeping with the serene demeanor of this restrained, classically influenced style.

Similar to shown: Calla (siding), Ultra Pure White (trim), and Congo (shutters) in Behr Premium Plus Ultra, about $33–$36 per gallon; BEHR

Historic Color Palette: Cape Cod

This offshoot of Colonial-style architecture from the 18th century is often painted with bold reds, oranges, and yellows, not just white.

Similar to shown: Redrock Canyon (siding), Post War White (trim), and Winter Balsam (shutters) in Fresh-Coat Exterior, about $40 per gallon; California Paints