Should exterior trim match the siding or window grids?

mitri89December 20, 2009

We're wanting to use a tannish/clay color for the siding, but we're not sure if the trim and guttering should be white or tan. We had originally been thinking tan for everything with black accents(shutters, front door and carriage lights). We've seen other houses around here with that combo with the same brick we picked that we really like. However, our window grids are white and all the other houses we've seen with that combo have tan grids. Would it look better for us to do white trim with the tan siding, since our grids are white? Or would that be too busy?

We'll also have 5 10" tapered columns and railing on the front porch that will need painting too. I would love any input you can offer.:-) Thanks!

Upclose shot of brick to show a truer color ~ It's a mostly red brick with just a little tan, cream and dark gray mingled in.

Here's an upclose of the box window where we've tested a couple of spots with tan vs tan/white. Kind of hard to see, since the primed color is a creamy tan color. The paint we used is a SW custom mix to match gutters we like in that color called pebblestone clay. The white is SW Dover White.


And... last pic :-) A local house I snapped a pic of as color inspiration. We have the exact same brick as them...

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Lori A. Sawaya

I know the white window sitch - like yours - matters a lot to some people. A few color designers really try to sway away from the white window choice if they can. But, usually, white windows are cheaper. The bronze, tan, or light beige color options can carry hefty *upgrade* price tags. Not to mention the fact that standard sized white windows are often kept in stock and other colors have to be special ordered and can have long lead times.

My point of view about white window trim is a lot like what I think of various shades of gray interior carpeting -- I choose to ignore it. I choose not to let achromatic factors like white window trim or gray carpet with negligible undertones influence an entire color scheme. Because... in the end I know they will visually roll into the overall color scheme and *adapt*and play nicely with the other colors.

If you're in a position to choose custom colored windows that can be precisely crafted into an exterior color scheme, then that's great. If you're not and for whatever reason you end up with white, I wouldn't hyper-focus on the white and would proceed in whatever color scheme direction I wanted to.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 6:28PM
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So which do you think would look better on our house? All tan siding, trim, guttering, columns, and rails? Or tan siding with white trim, guttering, columns and rails? I'm having trouble visualizing which would look best.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 8:02PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

The trim custom color matched (paint) to the gutters is a good plan. The singular factor of the windows being white isn't a good enough reason -- or enough of a reason -- to paint all the trim on the house white.

Would be nice if the siding contrasted in the way of value - meaning would be nice if the siding were the *same color* just darker or lighter by several shades than the trim/gutters. It's also okay if the trim/gutters are the same color as the siding and blends together. It's a preference. Taking the opportunity to use contrast at the trim/gutter & siding point can help define your home's architecture and contribute to better curb appeal -- like I said, matter of preference.

If you're columns are going to be more than the current post-like shape, I'd paint those the Dover White. If not, they should be the same color as the trim. Actually, if you end up with beefier columns than what I see in the pix, they could be the custom tan color too. I happen to prefer white on columns and that would be a way to repeat the white window trim.

Doing so -- arguably -- messes with the standard 'rules' of color hierarchy for exteriors. Treating a classic element like a column in a classic color like a white trumps the hierarchy thing -- from my color point of view any way.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:18PM
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Thanks Funcolors! That was helpful. I discovered the SW Color Visualizer last night and have played and played with that. It helped us to see that we definitely prefer for the siding and trim/guttering to contrast. Just the opposite of what we thought would look best before we could "see" it. All the same color, at least how we were playing with it on our house on the color visualizer, looked very blah. Making the trim much lighter and even white looks better on our house I think. I was even able to add in beefier columns and rails similar to what we'll have, and I like those being white too regardless of what color the trim is. Just trying to decide if I like the trim/guttering the same white as the columns, or if it looks best to have the trim colored but a much, much lighter shade of the siding. If I could figure out how to post a picture of what I did I would, but I'm not able to right click on it and save it. Anyway, we're getting closer. Thanks so much for your help.:-)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 2:21PM
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