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

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.