If you are renovating the exterior of your home (or just building a new one), this is something you need to read.
The number of materials on the market can be quite daunting. From wood to cement board; vinyl to stucco; not to mention all the different stone options! Stone veneer, manufactured stone, faux stone, and of course, natural stone. Then there’s brick, metal siding, etc. See all the choices? And this is just skimming the surface.
Besides choosing materials, don’t forget you have to decide on colour, material placement on your home, not to mention lighting, doors, roof, etc. It’s just overwhelming to read all of this, isn’t it?!
Well here are a few tips that I learned on my first exterior home design…
Your Colour Palette
Choosing your colour palette first helps eliminate a lot of frustration. So begin here before heading to the stores. There are only a few core colours to choose from – red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, beige, grey, white, black. Choose 3 – the primary colour, secondary colour and the accent colour.
- Primary colour forms the majority of colour (approx.. 60%) on your home; usually the front of the home, and partial walls.
- Secondary colour complements the primary colour (or is several shades darker or lighter); it may blend together (beige/brown) or form a stark contrast (white/black).It could be on the garage doors, partial walls, columns, gables, etc.
- Accent colour forms a minor part of the design; for example the fascia, corner posts, gable accents, gutters, window headers/aprons, railings, etc.
The best way to begin your colour palette is to look at homes you love and and follow their colour schemes.
Selecting materials is a difficult process but if you choose what you want before you go to the showrooms, it will help you considerably. Go back to the homes you love. What materials do they use? Stone? Brick? Vinyl? Wood? Is it full stone you like? Is it brick and board-n-batten?
This choice is also going to be guided by your budget so do some research prior to choosing. And besides the material costs, consider labour as well. It is more expensive for a mason to lay brick than it is to install board-n-batten, for example.
Once you choose your primary, secondary and accent material, relate it back to your colour palette, like this…
So at this point you know what materials you are looking for and in what colours. Right? Right.
Doors To Your Home
The front door and garage door are important to the overall look of your home and add to the character you are seeking. And not just the design of these doors, but the materials as well. It might be in your budget for wood carriage doors for the garage and a custom wood front door. Or maybe faux wood fiberglass design is more your budget.
There are a lot of options out there so the basic guideline is to match the design features of each to balance the look of your home.
Window Selection for Design
The two main windows that create a distinct ‘look and feel’ are wooden frame windows and aluminum windows. Wooden frames denote a classic, traditional ‘look and feel’ while vast aluminum frames give the appearance of a modern and urban aesthetic. Vinyl, fiberglass and composite are more common and can be customized for originality (such as grills).
So if you are looking for a specific character for your home, consider the window frames (and inserts) as part of the design.
Light Up Your Home
Choosing the right type of lighting can be a matter of safety as well as design. Ensure your home is lit up on all sides; pot lights in the soffits is an easy solution.
Your front entrance should be well lit so consider sconces and a pendant light. Lantern lighting is a popular choice and tends to go with all designs.
Last but not least: The Roof
The roof is not part of the design that you typically think of when creating the look of your home. But get it wrong and it could ruin the look of your home. Whatever material you choose – asphalt shingles, steel roof, cedar shingles, etc – ensure that the colour goes with your colour palette or stands out as a design feature.
A Few More Tips
Do not be afraid to ask for actual samples and colour samples. Collect all the materials and see how they all go together. If you are nifty, try using the computer to create the design. Colouring pencils work well too.
Always ask the professionals the pros and cons of materials or if there are any special considerations you need to know for installation.
If you are investing in custom made doors/columns, get references and see their work.
Lastly, once you choose materials, make a note of the supplier, manufacturer, brand name, item number, collection, and finish/colour so you can double check at delivery time.