paint color

Stunning Paint Colors That Will Make Your Brick Exterior Beautiful


Need Some Design Inspiration For Your Brick Exterior?

Are you ready to breathe some new life into the outside of your home?  I’m guessing the exterior of your house is feeling a little tired but you’re not sure how to repaint to make the best of the brick you already have going on.  Getting some guidance from a professional designer is the right next step!  There are a few basic design theories and practices that can take a brick exterior from boring to knockout and I’m going to walk you through them.  There are a few things to think about when choosing paint colors for the facade of your home if you have brick to work with so that you can make a good plan and take action in the right direction.  Let’s get started - it’s going to be amazing when you’re finished!


1. Exteriors Look Great With a 3 Color Combination

A general design rule of thumb is that exteriors look best with a combination of 3 colors.  This gives a good balance between, one, the main overall background colors and, two, something that can be a bit bolder without overwhelming the house.  For most people, the goal is for it to be cohesive and gorgeous with just a bit of ‘oh, that’s stunning!’ wow factor.


Main Color

The main color is what would normally be the central siding or stucco color.  This is sometimes called a field color.  This would be a nice, rich tone that you can live with for a long time or that is neutral enough for resale down the road.  This color tends to be the biggest financial investment as well, so it makes good sense to go with something that can serve as a nice background for years to come.   You can dramatically change the look of a good neutral main color by changing up the ‘quick and easy’ accent color in places like the front door or shutters, so choose wisely here.  This is the time to consider the architecture of your home and of your neighborhood and to take a good look at heritage colors.  These tend to be mature colors that have stood the test of time and are not likely to go out of fashion anytime soon.    You also want to think about whether you want to have your home color be cohesive with the rest of the houses in your neighborhood (mostly, the answer is yes!)  You don’t want to be ‘that family’, right?   Unless you do want to be, then go for it – whatever makes you happy!


Secondary Color (Or Secondary Grouping)

The secondary color is often seen in stonework on the front facade, like field stone, slate or the brick we are talking about today.   The secondary color might also be the trim of the house – fascia, gutters, window trim, railings, etc.  If there is not a lot of stone, I tend to let that sit as a ‘near-neutral’, a ‘secondary-secondary’ color because you kind of do need and want a separate trim color in a lot of cases.  Some houses will use a paint color for the trim that matches the stone and that can work as a ‘secondary team’ also.  This grouping of secondary colors should not take up a huge amount of the area of the house facade because you don’t want your stone and trim to compete with the main color of the house but you want to have more of this neutral color than your accent color.  This color is great to break up the facade of the house visually, highlight architecture (like windows, gables, flower planters and porches), and give some depth or balance to what can sometimes otherwise be a large, flat rectangle.  You wants lots of contrast between the secondary and main colors in most cases.


The Accent Color

A bright, bold or eye-catching color might be perfect for the front door but would be a bit crazy on the entire house, which is where that third color, the accent color, comes in.  This is the place to go a bit bolder and choose something that will make a statement if you like.  It can also be the place to, finally, show some personality in the exterior colors or to just use color to evoke some feeling.  The accent color doesn’t need to be a bright red door that announces your style to everyone who passes by, it can also be a deep charcoal paint on the shutters or a soft butter yellow on the porch floor.  This is the place to create some style.


2. The Perfect Ratio For Exterior Paint Schemes

There is a design theory of the perfect ratio for these 3 colors:  60:30:10.  This provides the main color, a secondary color and an accent color.  Use this ratio, it is your friend!

So, to use this information with a brick exterior, you need to use the brick as one of your three colors.  Depending on the amount of brick, this will likely be the main or secondary color (in combination with another secondary color... I think I should trademark ‘secondary-secondary’ - it's catchy, don't you think?)


3. Determine the Tone of the Brick on Your House

You also need to take your own brick’s tone into consideration before starting to look at other colors.  There are likely variations in the colors on the entire area, as well as within each brick, but the overall brick can be red, coral, orange, pale peach, grey, or even purple toned.  Taking a digital picture and looking at it from far away can help figure this out if it’s not obvious right away.  It can also help to have a photo when looking at colors.  And make sure to hold your samples up to your brick and take pictures of the whole grouping together to get a different perspective of how the colors will look together.


4. The Architecture of Your House Needs to Work With the New Paint Colors

Consider the color of other architectural features.  If they are permanent or you just don’t want to change them right now, they need to work well with the colors you are choosing for the facade.  Look objectively at these areas:  the roof, window trim & mullions, railings, stucco, vinyl siding, flower bed or planter building material.  Some of these things you might want to paint your main or secondary color, but some are just going to soldier on as-is, so you are going to have to work with them.  You should always be able to work around things that can’t be changed and it’s sometimes surprising just how different things can look with the right paint colors around them... so, yes, there’s even aesthetic hope for that ugly roof you’re saving up to replace!


5. Make Sure Your Landscaping Will Also Look Great With the New Facade Colors

Landscaping plays an important role as well.  The colors of dominant shrubs, flowers, planters, and trees near the front of the house should also be looked at objectively.  If you have, especially, some mass plantings of bold colored flowers along the house front, you are going to want to ensure that either your paint enhances or harmonizes with these or that you are willing to transplant them elsewhere and replant something that will be gorgeous with the colors you have chosen.


Free Resources to Help You Make a Great Exterior Color Scheme Plan!

I’ve created a little free printable for you to test paint samples with – it’s available for instant download in my free Design Resource Library along with a saveable, printable version of the tips outlined in this article.  Check them out - hopefully they help make your paint-choosing process a little easier!


Grey Matter: How to Choose the Perfect Grey Paint

Neutrals are the quiet backdrop to a vibrant life and over the last few years, grey has been launched to the top of the style list.  Beige has been steadily nudged off the palettes of interior designers and what a rich transformation it has been!

Grey was once thought to be harsh, dreary and often ugly, but now the paint world has been flooded with a gorgeous, rich grey palette with so many great choices.  Paint manufacturers are really bringing their A-game to the park when it comes to greys and I couldn’t be happier about that – there are some amazing grey tones out there right now!

Grey has steadily developed a reputation for being sleek, stylish and sophisticated and it is well deserved.   With undertones of brown, blue, purple or green there is an outstanding amount of gorgeous paint colors to sample and coordinate with.   I’m pretty convinced there is a perfect shade of grey for every room.

Here are a few fabulous greys I’ve been loving lately!

Pale greys in any undertone

These colors are a sleek, updated alternative to white or beige.  They make a room feel airy and open without being stark.

Light greys with a blue undertone

These paints can look like they are almost a softly reflective silver in a room flooded with natural light.  Very bright, fresh and clean feeling.

Mid-tone greys with a warm undertone

Choosing a grey with a brown undertone can create a stylish, mature warm space.  The warmer shades of grey maintain their sleek style without being at all cold or harsh.  These tones are my first pick for northern hemisphere homes where the natural light appears blue when bouncing off snow.  During all those months of a snow blanketed world, we need a little warmth inside!  Be careful not to steer too far into the brown undertones if you are wanting a grey rather than a taupe.

Mid-tone greys with a purple undertone

This tends to be a softer, more feminine color and often makes a space feel more casual and warm.  Greys with purple undertones tend to be much less formal than a classic stark grey with black undertones.  This color can bring some maturity to a space without being harsh.

Rich greys with a blue undertone

These greys are very bold and cool and lean the most toward classic grey with black undertones.  This color is perfect for a heavy, masculine, calm space or a room that needs to be visually cooled down.  It can provide much needed balance from things like lots of south-facing windows or warm finishes (wood flooring or warm-colored stone).  It can balance and ground things really nicely.

Dark toned charcoal greys

This is a bold range of paint colors but these gorgeous, rich colors are so rewarding.  A deep, rich color on the walls with pure neutral undertones can be striking, sexy and enveloping.  You will feel grounded and calm in a space painted the right dark shade of charcoal grey.  I am a huge fan of this color range for bedrooms – these colors tend to be just right for a restful sleep and a quiet mind at bedtime.



Plunge In: My Top 5 Paint Colors for Deep, Moody Walls

Color is a metamorphosis of a space; it is absolutely a complete game changer!  There is nothing you can do to your space that will have more impact than simply painting it.

A great color can influence a person at the deepest level.  It can be calming, inspiring, energizing, comforting, revitalizing.  There are so many reasons to just go for it – plus, it’s the best use of money you will spend on your room transformation (and it doesn’t take much money, either!)

A rich color just turns up the volume on all of those great things; it makes a statement.  A soft color whispers , which is just fine in most spaces but sometimes you need a little bit of energy!   Plus, a pale, non-committal color can be a little... boring.  Even an ugly, sad beige says something to you daily, whether you like it or not (and, sadly, what it usually says is something along the lines of a tired, drawn out whine... and you deserve better than that!) 

Going dark and turning up the intensity is a bold move so you want to get it right.  You need to avoid just being loud and obnoxious - you want the right amount of pigment with the right amount of depth.  Without some maturity, your colors sway drunkenly into ‘fast food joint’ or ‘college girl bedroom’ faster than you can snap the lid back on your paint can.  Let’s stay on the luxurious, amazing side of bold color, okay?

If you have the cajones and are ready to plunge into some real color, here are my top picks for bold, inspiring paint colors that say something great:

The Best Wall Paint Colors for a Restful Bedroom

Choosing the right wall color for your bedroom is kind of a big deal! 

Your bedroom is the most intimate, private space in your home and because of that it tends to be almost a physical representation of your inner self.  How you feel when you are in that space sets the tone for the rest of your day, which is why a restful wall color is so important.  Sleep and restoration are vital to our well being but there are also some other things to consider when choosing a wall color.  There are a few things to consider when choosing a wall color that will make your bedroom your favorite place in the house.


The colors that are best for a restful bedroom provide a rich, calm, neutral backdrop to the space. 

These paint colors are all a good balance of warm and cool, which is important as you want this room to look great in the dim light of an evening lamp as well as in the morning sun. 


Remember the importance of the Psychology of Color

To say that color affects mood is a subtle understatement – color absolutely shapes our emotional state.  The space where you go to recharge needs to have a color that fits well with what’s most important to you.  (Bedroom goals, anyone?) 


There are the three main aspects I think about when choosing a bedroom paint color

There are three things I think about when choosing bedroom paint colors and though I try to make sure that a color will work for all three areas, I know that everyone has a different priority so I focus on one area first.  For example, it’s possible you want a really cheerful bedroom and that is your priority, then I would say go for a color that nails that, but just take a moment to think of the other areas and make sure it’s not a total clash.  If you can find a color that feels right in all of these scenarios, you’ve nailed it. 

Is it Cheerful & uplifting?

Is it Peaceful & calming?

Is it in line with your relationship goals - romantic, sexy, feminine, masculine? 

(I know, I know, but it’s important!)


Think of your room as a palette of colors

After painting the walls that perfect neutral, layer 3-5 colors, textures or patterns throughout the room for a cohesive look.  This is the time to get bold with your colors if you want to, or to really play up a soft monochromatic look.  By creating the neutral backdrop and layering in several ‘louder’ colors or statement pieces, you will have so much more flexibility and your space will feel so much more polished.  Put samples of the color palette together, including the furniture and flooring colors, before you start adding in bedding, accessories or art to make sure the colors are going to fit together in the style you’re hoping for.


Here are my picks for the best wall paint colors for a restful bedroom

Use this list as a starting point.  Print it out and take it to the paint store, gather some samples and see what you love.  Lighting conditions are the most critical factor in how paint looks in a room and whether it will work or not, so paint a few samples and test the color out in all the lighting conditions the room will normally see.  Most importantly, just go for it!  Get started and find something you love – you deserve a restful bedroom!

Grab your free printable cheat sheet below to get started! 


Sweet Little Bonus! 

Check out these happy printables in every color of the rainbow - they print at 8x10, perfect for framing and hanging in your newly painted bedroom!



The Best Wall Paint Colors To Go With Honey Oak

If you are surrounded by honey oak in your home, you are in the right place for design help!

Are you living in a home that is filled with outdated oak and it’s just not feeling like you?  Most of my clients that approach me with this problem are feeling a little stuck: they are awesome people that have great taste and style but for a whole bunch of reasons, they are having to create a beautiful home around the oak that exists there.  All they want is a house that makes them feel happy when they walk in the front door, oak and all, starting with the paint color.  Is that even possible?


I get it:  try searching online for ‘oak kitchen’ or ‘oak trim updates’ and the inspiration and advice is pretty dismal.  Standard advice is to either rip it out or paint over it.  This isn’t always practical or even what everyone wants.  The more a person searches, the worse you start to feel about your house.  Any photos you can find seem to be mostly really ugly and, well, depressing stock photos. All you want is a simple update, without a major renovation.  The good news is that yes, it is possible to do and I can show you how.  Paint is the easiest and least expensive things you can do in a home and the best part is that it is one of the biggest game changers.  Can you choose a gorgeous paint color that makes your home beautiful updated and lovely, without touching the oak?  Yes!


The Three Steps (and one bonus step!)

I have helped clients to tackle this problem so many times and I can guide you through the process as well. There are 3 steps to navigating choosing the right paint color (and one bonus step), so let me help you to work through them!

1. Accept the great parts of the oak in your home (and there are some!)

2. Understand a bit about color theory

3. Take a look through all of these color suggestions and try a few out at home.

4. Bonus: I have an entire ebook on this topic, so consider buying the Living With Oak: 2019 Design & Style Guide to let me take you step-by-step through setting up a plan to updating more than just the paint in your home.

Step One: Why work with the oak?

There are some great things about oak in a home and though, yes, it can be painted over or replaced with MDF trim or a new white kitchen, there are a lot of reasons to leave it be and work with it!

Oak is a rock solid wood – it’s durable and practically bullet proof.

It’s warm – those warm tones are earthy and look great in a lot of spaces.

Oak is also ripe with wood grain that really stands out, even when painted, so it has a very natural, patterned look that never looks manufactured or ultra-modern.

Even if the only reason it’s staying put is because you don’t have the time, money or desire to replace it right now, it absolutely can look great in your home by surrounding it with a great wall color and surrounding it with things that are more in your taste – things like furniture, art, lighting, new hardware or updated counters will all help give a new look to the space and put all thoughts of ‘outdated oak’ right out of mind.

Step Two: Color Theory

When it comes to updating a house, you better believe the oak can absolutely be toned down & styled to look good with a fresh wall color.

There are two main ways of working with any existing element in a home: it can either be enhanced (used as a focal point) or downplayed (neutralized and camouflaged). What we are going to focus on is the idea that oak, which just boils down to an overwhelming amount of a yellow-orange color and lots of texture, needs the rest of the room to balance it out. It needs to be downplayed, neutralized and camouflaged.

To achieve this with paint, either we are going to create a harmonious palette that is similar to the oak, or we are going to create a contrasting palette that incorporates some opposite colors. Either way, we are going to pay attention to those subtle undertones so that the oak looks it’s best.

Here are the two directions to transform your honey oak trim, doors, or cabinets with wall color:

1. Neutralize it with a complimentary color

Oak can be neutralized a bit by using colors around it that are on the opposite side of the color wheel. So, for orange oaks, this means something with a purple or green tone. Does it have to be a loud, obvious purple or green? Nope! There are undertones to a lot of soft, neutral colors like warm greys and creams. Yes, the oak is going to stand out: it’s going to sit among a contrasting color like a piece of art sits in a mat and frame. That’s okay – let’s be honest, it exists, it is there and you can’t make it disappear, but you can trick the eye into feeling like what is there is a little less “loud oak” and a little more “neutral warm wood”. Think of a gorgeous redhead wearing a soft lavender top – beautiful. Redhead wearing a harsh yellow shirt? Not so flattering.

2. Blend and camouflage

If you surround the warm oak with another warm color, it’s going to blend in and look purposeful. A soft, warm neutral paint with orange or yellow undertones can make a space look harmonious and help the oak fade in a little. I would go with a natural, earthy color here, not anything too harsh. The look of warm oak is very natural and can sit very nicely with colors pulled from nature. Be careful not to choose anything too bland here as you do want your space to have some energy to it and avoid harsh black-greys as they generally just don’t work well.

Step Three: Color Suggestions for 2019

Color styles and trends are always evolving and while I believe that a foundation of good design is timeless, I still thought you would be inspired to see what I’m loving for pairing with oak in 2019.

For a printable version of this cheat sheet complete with all the paint codes, along with my oak paint finder tool and the original 2016 paint color cheat sheet, sign up for my free design resource library for instant downloads.

Step Four: Bonus step!

There is so much to unpack about updating oak in a home (and yes, it’s totally possible!) and paint is only one aspect. The problem with looking for design help online is that a lot of information is, well, a little sad. If you are looking for real, inspirational, down-to-earth design advice about taking your home from where it’s at now, to updated and stylish, maybe my ebook is just what you need to get started. Check it out below and see if it’s a good fit!


Free Printables!  Cheat Sheet & Paint Finder Tool

I've created a free printable cheat sheet to help you choose the right paint to go with your honey oak and a printable paint finder tool!  Please save them, print them off and take them to the store with you when choosing paint samples for your space!  They are both available for free, instant download in my Design Resource Library.