In this age of COLOR, your home can be quietly radiant on the outside as well as the inside, reflecting its neighbourhood and setting, and greeting your everyday with a subtle but pleasing reminder of how you personally view the world when choosing colors for your home, it's important to consider areas that are already finished, and can't be readily changed.

Several months before you intend on painting, do research. Walk around the neighborhood a bit to see what other colors are being used for siding and trim. If you find a color scheme you especially like, knock on the door, compliment your neighbor, and maybe they'll tell you the colors. Try to pick a color that will blend in with your surroundings, but with a few accents. With well-placed color choices, your home can still stand out in a tasteful manner.

Next, pick up exterior-paint color card that offer color-combination suggestions. They are put together by our color experts; take guesswork out of combining colors. Pick up a few magazines or even books on home styles that feature lots of color photos. Now, find a comfortable spot and start spreading everything on the table. Cut up the paint brochures, rip out magazine photos and create color schemes you like.

A month before you paint, start evaluating your house. What are the surfaces made of? Shingles, brick, stone and tile are things that won't be changing in color, so your color scheme has to work with them. Now shuffle through some of the colors you're thinking about for the siding. Stand back by the street, and picture the color on your home with the roof, or the brick, and between your neighbors' homes. Take the color up close to your house, and consider it against any surface that will stay. Once you have the siding colors narrowed down to two or three, purchase liters of the paint colors you prefer.

To ease color selection, begin with colors suggested by your roof and masonry.
Light colors will make your house seem larger. Dark colors or bands of trim will make your house seem smaller, but will draw more attention to details.
Consider the color schemes used inside your home. Exterior colors should harmonize with the interior.
Don't clash with your neighbors! Choose colors that coordinate with the buildings around you.
To emphasize architectural details, outline them with an accent color that contrasts with the background.
For some accents, consider using darker or lighter shades instead of changing color.
Use darker colors to emphasize shadows and lighter colors to show projections.
Avoid extreme contrasts. Choose colors that are related.
Study color samples outside, but never in direct sunlight. Bright sun will distort the color.

About few weeks before painting, get some exterior shade card up onto your home. Cut and put chips of all your siding colors on the front, next to the brick or stone, on the side, in areas that are shadowed and those places that get full sun. If you've selected trim colors to go with the siding, add those as well. For your front door, add an accent that gives your home real curb appeal. Then, look at your home in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, because the colors will change as the color of the sunlight changes.
Photocopy a sketch or photograph of your house. Use watercolors or colored pencils to try color combinations.
Before buying large quantities of paint, buy liters of your selected colors and paint one area of your house.
Take your time... be creative...