The porch paint ideas you choose will have a big impact on your home’s overall appearance and curb appeal. If you have a front porch, it’s likely one of the first thing guests and passers-by will notice about your home, so if it is looking worse for the wear, a paint job will be a big upgrade. The back porch, on the other hand, is often the site of warm-weather entertaining, parties, and events.
Because there’s so much riding on the look of your front porch ideas (no pressure!), we went to the pros for advice on creating an inviting, beautiful, and functional porch, all with the help of a little paint. The paint ideas, below, run the gamut from practical advice and insider insight, to color theory and more.
Porch paint ideas
These porch paint ideas are an effective and cost-efficient way to give your home exterior a facelift, whether they are for front or back porch ideas. Use the expert advice to get this element of the paint colors for the exterior of a house just right.
1. Highlight an architectural element with paint
How you decorate a front porch should highlight its positive attributes. If you’re lucky enough to have a front porch with an exciting architectural feature, like the curved entry ceiling, above, paint is the perfect way to give it the attention it deserves. A contrasting color, like a deep, warm gray on a white porch, will set special features apart.
The porch above is from a home by Swan Architecture.
2. Skip the porch floor paint
If your front porch flooring is looking worse for the wear, it’s tempting to just cover it with a coat of paint. Don’t do it, says Matt Mosher, co-founder and CEO of Dzinly, a home improvement platform focused on exterior design that helps people visualize what upgrades will look like through online renderings.
‘Installing flooring materials that require any type of painting should be avoided. Even the best paints have a difficult time handling ongoing foot traffic,’ he explains. ‘Furthermore, flat surfaces are more susceptible to water absorption. As the material absorbs water, it oftentimes causes the paint to peel.’
3. Embrace Southern tradition
Have you ever noticed that so many porch ceilings are painted a pale shade of blue? It’s not a coincidence, it actually started as a tradition in the southern U.S. There are a few theories about where it originated, including as a way to help repel bugs, to keep bad spirits away, and draw the eye to the sky.
‘The quaint blue porch ceiling helps to visually extend daylight,’ says Arianna Cesa, color marketing and development specialist at Benjamin Moore. ‘To achieve this iconic look, check out Palladian Blue HC-144, Yarmouth Blue HC-150, and Clear Skies 2054-70. These colors often pair best with more neutral hues to let the ceiling be the focal point in the palette.’
4. Choose a contrasting porch paint color
When painting a porch, why not highlight it with a color that will help it stand out? Similar to calling attention to an architectural element, painting your entire front porch a different shade than your siding will make it the defining feature of your home’s façade.
5. Camouflage ledges and windowsills
When considering porch paint ideas, it’s important to think functionally, too.
‘Regarding porch design, avoid creating any type of ledges in your trim work. Even the smallest ledges are a bird’s paradise,’ says Mosher. Instead, paint them the same color as surrounding walls or pillars to help them blend into the background.
6. Complement the landscape
If you’re having a hard time choosing a color for your front porch, take a hint from your front yard landscaping ideas, and the other materials on your exterior, says Cesa.
‘Are there pavers or some sort of stonework? Do you have colorful landscaping? What color is your exterior, trim and any other accents such as outdoor furniture? Be sure to look at the whole picture and all of the colors in your exterior’s palette to ensure color cohesion,’ she says.
7. Test colors to find the right shade
Just like if you were painting a room in your home, you’ll want to test out your top paint color contenders before making a commitment. Even if you have a go-to paint color or your mind is set on a certain hue, the lighting your porch gets during the day will affect how it look. This is of particular importance for small front porches or cottage porch ideas, where the right colors can enhance the feeling of space.
‘Your porch is the ultimate “outside room,”’ says Cesa. ‘Before you start looking for the perfect patio paint color to extend your outdoor spaces, consider how much sun it gets, since light and time of day affect how a paint color casts. The best way to choose a porch paint color is to sample your options and view them throughout the day to choose a color with confidence.’
8. Match the door and ceiling
Take a cue from designer Jean Stoffer, and paint the ceiling of your front porch to match your door. In this case, the Michigan-based designer chose a true black to contrast her home’s brick façade and white trim.
9. Go for a monochrome porch scheme with a pop of color
If you tend to prefer neutrals or live in an area where most homes are painted a subdued color palette, there’s no need to get overly creative with your front porch paint scheme (especially if you’re considering a bold paint color as one of your front door ideas).
Instead, continue the color palette of your siding and trim work onto your front porch, and go bold with your front door color.
The porch of this home, by Swan Architecture, matches the white siding for a seamless look, while letting the red front door shine.
10. Layer creams on whites on greys
‘For someone who loves color, I am a major fan of porch paint ideas that use different tones of white and cream alongside grey and black – there’s something incredibly soothing about the combination, and it’s so easy to accessorize with accent colors when you want to switch up the scheme from spring to summer to fall to winter,’ says Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens‘ Editor in Chief.
What color is best for a porch?
The color you choose for your porch should complement the color and style of your home. The hue doesn’t need to match your house, but it should be in along the same spectrum (i.e. don’t choose a warm white porch for a cool gray house, or a bright blue porch for a sage green home).
The style of your home will also clue you in about the best paint color for your porch. Traditional Victorian or Queen Anne-style homes lend themselves to experimentation with color, while farmhouses can be suited to colors like pale green, butter yellow, and brick red, or simple neutrals like white and gray. Colonial homes are contenders for warm white, blue, and gray, while contemporary homes look best with steely black, bright white, or a small pop of a bold accent color. For a small front porch, try a shade that contrasts the rest of your home to help it stand out.
Remember, too, the warmth cast by your front porch lighting ideas – this will affect how your porch paint colors look at night.
Looking for a few colors to start with? Arianna Cesa offers these front porch color suggestions from Benjamin Moore.
‘For warmer color palettes, some favorite neutral colors to consider for the porch are Opaline OC-33, Simply White OC-117, and Hazy Skies OC-48. If your preference is for cooler hues, check out White Wisp OC-54, Metropolitan AF-690, and Silver Gray 2131-60. To make a statement on your porch floor, opt for more saturated hues like Georgian Brick HC-50, Kennebunkport Green HC-123, Normandy 2129-40 and Iron Mountain 2134-30,’ she says.
What kind of paint do you use for a porch?
‘Generally a flat sheen presents best on the outside of a home because it helps reduce reflection,’ says Matt Mosher, co-founder and CEO of Dzinly, a home improvement platform focused on exterior design that helps people visualize what upgrades will look like through online renderings. ‘On a front porch though, it is important to consider the wear and tear it will be subject to from use. Therefore, a less absorbent sheen such as satin or eggshell should be considered for items such as pillars and walls around a porch that may be subject to heavy traffic.’
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