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by Sally Zimmerman – taken from PWC March/April 2010

Don’t be afraid to go a little darker with the (exterior) body color; choose from the mid to lower end of the fan deck strip.  Body colors at the top of the strip are too pale to carry the massing and scale of a whole house and are better suited to interior use.  Likewise, pastel tints can give clapboards and shingles the look of vinyl siding.

Trim color needs careful consideration.  White trim contrasted against a mid-toned body color represents the safest and most enduring color combination.  For best results, avoid bright whites, and opt instead for off-whites, creams and ivories that mimic the golden, linseed-oil look of long-banned white lead paints.

Another timeless approach uses monochrome rather than contrasting colors, with a lighter and darker shade of the same color on the house.  To do this, start from the mid-point on the fan deck strip.  Select a body color one shade darker, and a trim color one shade lighter, than the middle color.  Keeping at least one shade between trim and body color assures sufficient contrast in the scheme.

For a truly monochrome look, but one that was popular up through the 1900s, try switching to a darker trim on a lighter body color.



Sashes, shutters & doors
The Trials of Trim