Choosing the color of your home’s exterior is not an easy decision. It’s also important to get it right. Trust me. I’ve recently repainted my cedar siding and halfway through I had to put a stop to the painting and changed color.
If you want to save yourself time, stress and money from a do-over, you should get the color right from the start. However, this is easier said than done especially if this is your first time choosing paint colors.
Here are my tips on how to choose the best exterior paint colors for your home. Below you will also find a list of the best Benjamin Moore gray exterior paint colors for your home.
How to Choose Exterior Paint Colors for Your Home
When choosing exterior paint colors for your siding, don’t make the same mistakes I did! Below are tips on how to choose exterior paint colors based on what I learned from first hand experience.
Walk Around the Neighborhood for Exterior Paint Color Ideas
When deciding on an exterior paint color for your siding, you should do some research. Walk or drive around the neighborhood and get exterior paint ideas. I found this helpful when deciding the general house color.
I was on the fence between a gray exterior and a white exterior. Looking at homes gave me a sense of what is appealing to me. It was a good way to kick off my exterior paint color search. I was able to narrow down my exterior paint selection to gray.
Use Paint Samples to Test Out the Exterior Paint Color
When I was at the paint store, I debated whether or not I should spend the extra $ for paint samples when I was able to get free paint chips from the paint store. I was so indecisive, even though I narrowed down my exterior paint selection to gray, I still had 8 color candidates!
Since I had cedar siding, my home was to be painted with Benjamin Moore Arborcoat paint. The Benjamin Moore Arborcoat paint samples were $10.99 each!
It’s not cheap, I had to pause and think if it was worth it for me to spend almost $100 on paint samples!
I ended up buying the paint samples, which in hindsight, I’m glad I did. After seeing how the paint samples compare to the paint chips, I would never rely on paint chips alone. It’s hard to see how the color will look on your siding with paint chips alone.
This is especially true if you are painting over an existing color, you don’t know how the new color will look on your siding. I suggest you buy paint samples of the exterior colors that you like and have them painted on your siding to see what it looks like.
Make sure to paint a large area on your siding so you see it better. Also, have the sample painted near your trim so you get a sense of the color contrast between the siding and your trim.
Exterior Paint will Look Lighter than the Paint Chip
When you are in the paint store looking at paint chips, you should know that in general, the actual paint will look lighter than the paint chip.
Somehow because the paint chip is a smaller surface area, it will look a shade darker than when it’s painted on the entire house.
This is also the reason why it’s important to paint a large area on your siding with your paint samples because that will give you a more accurate sense of the color.
Beware of Exterior Paint Undertones
If this is your first time choosing exterior paint colors, you should be aware of undertones. Grays tend to have undertones of green or blue.
I wanted a gray exterior color with a slightly blue shade. After mulling over my 8 gray candidates, I finally selected a color. However, when the painters painted it on my house, instead of the light gray I was envisioning, my house was baby blue!
I did not anticipate the blue undertone of the paint color to come out so strong. It’s hard to tell when you are looking at paint chips or a small painted area so I suggest you do some research. Read up on reviews and find out what kind of undertone your paint color might have.
Exterior Paint will Look Different Depending on the Time of Day
When choosing an exterior paint color, you really need to look at the color at different times of the day. The color will look different when it’s a sunny day versus an overcast day.
Exterior paint undertones will be visible in varying degrees on a sunny day versus an overcast day. For example, a light grey color exterior paint with blue undertone will look different in the morning versus later in the day.
In the early morning light, the light grey exterior paint I selected was the perfect light grey shade.
Then as the day progressively got sunnier, the blue undertone in the exterior paint started coming out and my siding paint looked silverish baby blue. On an overcast day, the grey exterior paint color turned a deeper shade of light blue.
When picking your exterior paint color, don’t rush it! I suggest giving yourself a day or two to see how the paint samples look at different times of the day.
Fall in Love with the Color
You need to fall in love with your exterior paint color. This is so important! If you have the slightest reservation then don’t choose that paint color. Follow your instinct on this!
Save yourself from making the same mistake I did! I had to have a do-over which cost my thousands of dollars! I should have followed my instinct.
When I first saw the gray color painted on my siding, my first thought was it was slightly too blue and it’s too light. I then justified it with reasons why I like the color and convinced myself to go with it. That was a big mistake!
After 2 days of work and over half my house painted, I had to pivot and switch paint colors! So remember, you have to fall in love with your exterior paint color. That is what you will see every day when you come home so you better love it!
Best Gray Exterior Paint Colors for your House
So what are the best gray exterior paint colors? We asked Wilton, Connecticut-based contractor, Daniel Aravena from Twin Oaks Home Improvement for his exterior paint color recommendations.
Over the years, Daniel has painted the sidings of homes in the New York suburbs of Westchester County (New York) and Fairfield County (Connecticut). From his experience painting homes, these are the most popular Benjamin Moore gray exterior paint colors in the New York suburbs of Westchester and Fairfield County.
Coventry Gray (HC-169) by Benjamin Moore
Conventry Gray is part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic Color collection. Coventry Gray is a dark gray color with slight blue undertones. I painted my house in Conventry Gray and I love it!
Smoke Embers (AC-28 or 1466) by Benjamin Moore
Smoke Embers is part of Benjamin Moore’s Classic Color Collection. Smoke Embers is a gray color with a slight brown undertone. It is a beautiful classic gray color.
Ozark Shadows (AC-26) or Gray Huskie (1473) by Benjamin Moore
Ozark Shadows is also known as Gray Huskie. Ozark Shadows is part of Benjamin Moore’s America’s Colors. If you are looking for a gray color without the blue undertones then Ozark Shadows is a good choice.
Stonington Gray (HC-170) by Benjamin Moore
Stonington Gray is part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic collection. Stonington Gray is a light gray color with a slight blue undertone. If you are looking for a very light gray shade, then Stonington Gray is a good choice.
Shoreline (1471) by Benjamin Moore
Shoreline is part of Benjamin Moore’s Classic Color Collection. Shoreline is a gray color without the blue or green undertone. It is very pale gray color, almost white in certain light.
Comparing Benjamin Moore Exterior Gray Paint Colors (Coventry Gray vs. Gray Huskie vs Smoke Embers)
It’s a good idea to paint samples of your top colors side by side on your siding. I narrowed down my Benjamin Moore exterior gray paint selection to three color finalists (see photo below).
The top left siding is painted with Benjamin Moore smoke embers. Smoke Embers has a taupe and brown undertone. It also has the lightest shade of gray of the three color finalists. The bottom left siding is painted with Benjamin Moore Gray Huskie or Ozark Shadows. As you can see, Ozark Shadow (Gray Huskie) is a gray color without the blue undertones. The right siding is painted with Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray which is a beautiful gray with slight blue undertones.
I ended up selecting Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray since I was looking for a gray with a blue undertone. Smoke Embers came in second for me because I like that it is a paler gray but I did not want a gray with a brown undertone that’s why I selected Coventry Gray.
Selecting Exterior Paints for Cedar Siding
Cedar sidings are beautiful but will require more maintenance than vinyl siding. You will need to restain your cedar siding once every 5 years.
If you are restaining cedar siding, you can still use the above recommended Benjamin Moore paint colors. You will just need to get it in Benjamin Moore Arborcoat exterior stains.
Benjamin Moore Arborcoat exterior stains come in varying shades from translucent to solid. When choosing colors for Benjamin Moore Arborcoat stains, you can select from any Benjamin Moore paint colors.
This is important! Don’t restrict yourself to just the few colors on the Benjamin Moore Arborcoat brochure!
I didn’t know this at first and thought I was stuck with just the colors on the brochure which was limited. The truth is, you are not restricted in choosing from just the Benjamin Moore Arborcoat color palette.
You can even choose paint colors from Benjamin Moore’s interior paint colors. Just ask the paint store to custom mix it for Benjamin Moore Arborcoat stain.
Final Thoughts on Choosing Exterior Paint Colors
Choosing the perfect exterior paint color for your home is a major decision. Take your time, do your research, buy your paint samples, and look at the paint samples at different times of the day. Watch out for undertones!
When choosing exterior paint colors, make sure you love the color. Listen to your instincts! Remember, you will come home to it every day so you need to love it.
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