Red is a popular hue for a variety of exterior home color palettes. But before you rush out to buy a can of your favorite red paint, get inspired by these tips and ideas.
Understand the shade of red
Red, often referred to as a warm color, is an incredibly diverse hue. Generally red is considered an energetic color, but its emotional and physical characteristics vary with the lightness or brightness of the color. For example, a spicy hue with an orange undertone looks and feels much different than the more relaxing burgundy tone with brown underpinnings.
Because of their architecture, some homes have a distinct style that's complemented by a particular lightness or brightness of paint -- think Victorian, for example, or midcentury modern. Others are a bit more fluid and can adapt to a range of paint hues -- cottage-influenced homes, to name type. That means that the hue of red you choose can't just be about your favorite color but how that color affects the style of your home.
Landscape decisions will influence the shade of red you choose, too. A cottage-style garden might allow you to choose a red that's more playful, while a traditional home will demand a straightforward red and complementary colors.
Exterior color schemes that work well do so because of their reliance on a few color wheel rules. Those tones that are next to red on the color wheel -- orange and purple -- are called analogous and considered good color matches. Those that are complementary, or opposite from each other on the color wheel -- for red, that's green -- are also nice exterior color combinations.
A color combination rule
However you choose to use red, the goal of your exterior facade combination is a unified scheme that complements your home and boosts your curb appeal. One way to do that is to rely on the 60/30/10 guideline, which helps delineate how much of each particular color to use in your home. The dominant color should take up 60 percent of the home's surface space, while the secondary color -- typically trim -- uses 30 percent and the accent color uses just 10 percent.
Remember: A single color in a small swatch has less visual dominance than one that covers a broad swath of space.
Monochromatic red color scheme
With a very deft color hand, red might work as a monochromatic color scheme. Do this by varying the hue slightly for accent and trim colors. This color scheme works well with specific architectural styles -- clean-lined and contemporary, for example.
Use red as an accent or secondary color
Red as an accent color is an oft-used way to integrate the color into an exterior facade. That might mean using red on a door or shutters or as trim. For a muted color scheme, using red as an accent color is a good way to add liveliness or direct visual attention to a particular architectural feature. Red used this way might also add brightness to an exterior, or offer a toned-down companion to other rich colors -- think deep green and a warm gray.
Remember that your home's exterior color combination must also take into account the color of the roof or the existing stone. Those hues become part of the 60/30/10 rule, too.