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Choosing exterior paint colours (+ house update!)

We probably didn't quite do this in the right order, but I guess its one of those things that you can deliberate over for so long you'd never get anything done!  This is the story of how we eventually decided what colour to paint our second-hand house.

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house

We chose our roof colour over a year ago now.  I was determined that it would be something light, and as we were limited to the colourbond colours, we eventually chose Paperbark  (with Evening Haze a close second).  Its pretty unusual to see a light roof, but it makes a huge difference to the amount of heat absorbed by the house in summer, so it was very important to me.  Pete and I were up in the roof cavity in winter doing the insulation before the roof was replaced and it was pretty hot even then, so I hate to think how hot it got in summer (previous roof colour was dark red).  Now we have a light roof and insulation, and the house is surprisingly cool even in summer.

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
the Colourbond colour range

We chose our rainwater tanks before the roof, so that the plumber could get started, and as we were sure we wanted to use green somewhere on the house, we chose Pale Eucaplypt. So with two colours used so far - Pale Eucalypt and Paperbark - we needed to finalise the rest of the house colours.  As I said, it probably would have been smart to have the colour scheme thought out before we started ordering materials, but I'm sure it will all come together.  Pete was originally quite adamant that the rainwater tank colour must also be used on the house, but I think we've come to an agreement now that we don't need to use Pale Eucalypt on the house, as we really couldn't find a nice combination.

Typically it is recommended to use only three colours in an exterior colour scheme (with natural wood or stone being a potential forth colour).  These should be one for the roof (Paperbark), one for the trim and one for the house cladding, with natural wood decking and steps as our optional forth colour.

this is what it used to look like

Most modern houses have a dark roof and a light colour cladding, so its been really tricky to find an example of a contrasting colour to go with our light roof.  A darker colour would have probably looked effective, but being an engineer, I approached things a little differently.  I had a chat to a couple of female engineers at work and they brought up the same issues!  A darker colour will tend to fade, so would need to repainted earlier and the darker colours actually tend to crack and peel earlier as they heat up more.

I did not want white paint.  The house was a very pale blue, and all you could see was the red dirt.  Our area is known for particularly sticky red dirt and I didn't want to have to wash the house to keep it looking nice.  It needed to be a colour that would not show up the red dirt.

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
Tapestry Beige and Jaspar - haven't finished the handrails though!

We had a few test pots and tried some different colours.  I spread out the paint colour samples and tried every possible combination, but I kept coming back to the same idea.  Using our interior paint colour on the outside as well (its called Tapestry Beige).  We tried some on the outside when we were done painting a room inside and it looked good.  Even though its not much darker than the roof, I'm happy that we found a nice light colour that will not show up the dirt.

While we originally intended to use Pale Eucalypt for the trim, we changed that to Jaspar - another Colourbond colour.

For the two weeks over Easter my parents stayed with us and we all worked hard to get the house painted.  Pete sanded everything and didn't get to paint until right at the end.  I did the high walls and Dad did the lower walls - everything had to be washed, primed and painted.  Mum very patiently sanded and primed tricky windows and then finished off with the trim colour on the window sills and doors.

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
me painting up high

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
Pete got to paint up high too, right at the end

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
Dad washing the veranda walls

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
Mum painting a door

eight acres: choosing exterior paint colours for our secondhand house
and we all went out for lunch to celebrate 

We didn't quite get everything finished.  There are some fiddly bits left, the handrails and posts on the veranda and a few doors and windows.  We also need to replace the decorative freeze on the front of the house and the awning over the window.  But everything that was sanded at least has a coat of primer and will wait until we have time to tackle it again.  We also made some progress in the kitchen - the walls are primed, the gaps are filled and one coat of ceiling paint done.  And we collected all the fittings for the bathroom (apart from the vanity, but including the tiles).  Our builder started working on the mezzanine floor in the shed and in the bathroom, and our plumber hooked up the two rainwater tanks to the shed (no more temporary downpipes!) and did some preliminary work in the bathroom too.  The bathroom should be finished in the next few weeks and we are not considering what to do about flooring in the rest of the house.

It feels like we've made a huge amount of progress in a short time and that the end might be near.  What do you think?  Have you chosen exterior paint colours?  How did you decide?

the kitchen so far

all the fittings for the bathroom are ready to go!

two new rainwater tanks plumbed into the shed guttering


  1. So exciting to have some much now done you are really making progress. On our shed we did go for a dark roof colour for NZ but over there you can get away with it a bit more. We chose a light wall colour and have chosen tanks to match the wall colour. We hope to replicate the colours from the shed onto the house but that is a little way off yet.

  2. That's some big jobs to get ticked off the list. Extra hands always help. I envy your accessibility to bring tanks in though. We need more, but have a steep driveway. We're procrastinating making decisions on that score. ;)

    But you guys are getting so close to moving in. I bet it will be a relief to put all the big house modifications behind you, and just get back to working on the land. :)

  3. Colour choices...this instantly creates the ministry of war at our house!

  4. You got heaps done! I think you deserved your lunch out!

  5. yay! I love seeing your parents! and great work. i've always wondered why light colored roofs arent more of a thing. yay you guys!

  6. looking good!
    i just chose normal silver roofing when i had my roof done, corrugated iron. haven't even thought about exterior colours but inside will be off white & probably a coffee or similar in trims, when i ever get back to painting.
    thanx for sharing

  7. Looking good! I think the end might be close. Exciting.

  8. I loved this post! And I loved seeing your house. It took me forever to choose house colors and like you, I wanted a light roof and coordinating colors for siding and trims. You are so right that it makes a huge difference and how encouraging it is to have the house look fresh and pleasing. Good job.


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