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By Sally Zimmerman, taken from PWC, March/April 2010

When the three-color scheme goes astray, trim color placement is usually to blame.  It’s easy to identify the window sash and siding, but trim can be misleading – especially if the house, like most, has seen alterations.

Sometimes, it looks as if there are too many trim elements, and they end up timidly painted “out” in the body color, sacrificing visual impact and organizational clarity.   Other times, there is an opposite temptation to layer on additional trim colors, yielding a disjointed and fragmented result.

Without a clear sense of what constitutes the trim and how it creates a unifying frame for the house, the overall scheme suffers.  How to identify the trim elements?  Simply subtract the siding, or body color, from the color scheme.  What’s left is trim, unless – as one of my paint history colleague says – it moves (sashes, doors, shutters) or you walk on it (porch decking, stair treads).

Making it Work
The Rule of Three
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