Love to use bright colors on your exterior? Know this before you get too carried away with pale green or yellow dreams.

By Zoë Gowen
August 16, 2017
Blue Cottage House in Georgia
Credit: Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn/This Old House

After countless trips to the paint store and spending a sizeable amount of money on paint samples, I had my exterior white and green color palette all picked out. Sherwin-Williams Creamy for the best non-blinding shade of white that would also work with my pre-existing, less than ideal, reddish colored roof shingles. Since I was going for the clean, but cheery look, I really wanted a happy green exterior paint and Sherwin-Williams Chartreuse was the ideal yellow green paint. It was subtle, but joyful – like the perfect whispery pop of sunshine for my exterior. I met with my painter, calculated how much paint I would need (a budget buzz kill, by the way) and had him help with the finishes. Another thing we disagreed about – he wanted semi-gloss for the shutters and doors, I wanted full on high-gloss for a more modern look. Two weeks of testing swatches, meeting with the painter, and I was off with what I thought was a very prepared list of paint to buy. Until, that is, I was encouraged to rethink my green front door color.

According to the very knowledgeable man at Sherwin-Williams, I couldn't use Chartreuse as an exterior paint because it has a yellow base. Any exterior paint with a yellow base immediately begins to fade. Persistent, I questioned his theory. He then cited the popular drive-thru seafood chain, The Shrimp Basket as evidence of using the wrong yellow. I did a drive-by and he was right. The Shrimp Basket looks like it needs a new paint job.

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Alternatively, I chose a slightly deeper, not based-in yellow green front door color, Sherwin-Williams' Sassy Green. It has been a year, but the color still looks as fresh and good as new. I went with an oil finish and insisted that the painter brush rather than spray the door. I love the gloss and the visible brush strokes.