In 1671 Sir Isaac Newton revealed to us the connection between color and light. Ever since that time one thing has been true. Just knowing that there is a connection doesn't make it any easier to choose colors. What makes it easier is knowing how that fact may impact the colors you choose today.
In my last post, The Colors Matched When I Picked Them Out. Why Don't They Match Now?, you learned how color can change under different lighting conditions. Now let's take that idea a step further and talk specifically about how to think about light as you choose your exterior colors.
Your exterior is illuminated by sunlight, the brightest of all light. What that means is that a color you select in a store or inside your home will look lighter when used on an exterior. This is especially true of a roof, which in most cases fully bask in the sunlight.
When selecting colors indoors, try a shade or two darker than the color you have in mind. The more intense the sunlight the more the color will be washed out by the light. In the Southwestern states exteriors are mainly warm neutrals or, go to the opposite end of the spectrum, are brightly colored. The reason is that exterior colors in that area must stand up to the intense warm sunlight in the area.
In most areas of the country the sunlight is not that intense but it still is a factor in how the color appears once on your home. Even less intense sunlight will still washout the color.
In the northeast and Midwest the light is cooler. Colors that are slightly grayed are favored by most homeowners for their appealing appearance in the local light. Most of the colors in just about any paint company's line of historic exterior colors fall into this range.
Other factors that can impact the quality of light and thus the color are the change of seasons, weather, the quantity and proximately of trees, and light reflected off the water if the property is waterfront.
I hope these additional tips help you to "see the light" as you select the colors you will use on your home's exterior.