Fence colour is so important to your home’s overall curb appeal. Did you know that fence colour should relate to the exterior colours on your house? Here’s how to choose the right fence colour by looking at lighter and darker options rather than trying to match.
I am currently creating module 15 for my Exterior Masterclass all about What Would Maria do with THIS Fence, Porch, Patio or Deck. Because it makes no sense to get the exterior of your house just perfect and then just put up a random orange stained fence that doesn’t relate. Or a deck or porch that in no way relates to the house colours.
Here is a great example.
Add Instant Curb Appeal with the Right Fence Colour
My lovely follower Stella wants to refresh her fence with a stain to make it relate better to her house. Right now, it is a faded warm wood tone. It’s not as bright orange as some examples I have seen, but it doesn’t connect at all to her house.
She’s wondering if the colour of weathered wood and stone, a green grey like Fawn Brindle, would work best but she’s not sure.
Well the ONLY way to know is by painting up a large test board. In my curated collection of large painted samples, you can find Fawn Brindle in my SW Foundation Collection here.
She could also leave it alone and let it weather naturally (here’s mine, below), and it would end up very close to the same colour.
There is no shortcut for proper paint colour testing when choosing colour for your exterior. Even it it’s just a fence. Look at how MUCH fence she has in the above photos. It’s such a bit mistake not to give it due consideration.
A large painted test board of the colour needs to be compared directly to the stone to see if it will relate well, like this testing example (below).
ALWAYS properly test your colours using a large painted sample with white behind it. It’s the ONLY way to see if the colour is right. Notice the above sample is also BESIDE the brick, not plunked directly on top of it.
Here is her house below again. Can we guess here if Fawn Brindle is the right answer for her fence? No, not without proper colour testing.
Sherwin-Williams 7640 Fawn Brindle
However, there is another important angle here. You can see that her siding is painted a similarly mid-toned grey with a green undertone that looks like it leans more towards a French Gray (a green gray that is a bit cooler and more blue. SW 7016 Mindful Gray is a good example).
Sherwin-Williams 7016 Mindful Gray
The stone appears to have a range of green greys and violet greys. But, the foundation is especially violet. So, we have quite a lot going on within a very tight tonal range. And, it’s when colours are tonally similar that they really need to relate perfectly so they don’t look off.
Unless we are repeating her exact siding colour on the fence, adding yet another, slightly different, mid toned warm green grey here would be a mistake.
The foundation paint actually looks more violet than the siding. To eliminate some conflict here, I would paint the foundation the same colour as the siding.
And there is another reason Fawn Brindle would not be my first choice. It would lack CONTRAST. Everything will blend and that will create a DRAB look. And that’s not what we’re after, is it?
So what would I suggest then?
There are two good options, as I see it.
Fence Colour Lighter Option 1: Paint the Fence White to Match the Trim
Painting a fence white can create connection with a house with white trim and creates a fresh, cottage look in the yard and garden. Here is what her fence would look like painted white to match the trim.
Much better right? I love the decorative white fence that encloses my vegetable garden in the backyard. It looks fresh with greenery and lots of white flowers. We added some clumps of daisies here since it’s early in the season and her plants haven’t filled in yet.
The timbers retaining the foundation planting looked too distracting in white so we made photoshopped them the dark grey from option two to help them settle down.
Fence Colour Darker Option 2: A Dark Grey Fence for Contrast
My white fence is vinyl, so I won’t have to upkeep a white stain. And I can understand that for that reason, white may not be the top choice. So there is also the option of creating contrast by going dark. In this case, a warm dark grey ties in with the roof colour.
Fence stained Sherwin-Williams 7048 Urbane Bronze
I like this look too. It offsets the green in the landscape beautifully and makes the house look fresh. Contrast creates a sense of lightness.
You’ll notice that we also made the pergola or shade structure in the backyard white to match the trim in both options. I think Urbane Bronze would get a bit heavy overhead. And really, that structure looks more like an extension of the house.
Stella, you will need to test Sherwin-Williams Urbane Bronze if you want to try it. Paint up a large test board and look at it with your house. Pay attention to how it looks with your roof. And if you want to try option one, for a white look for one that matches your trim colour as closely as possible, again you’ll need to compare a test board to samples to your trim.
Don’t forget to coordinate landscaping with your fence colour.
The next step is to integrate your fence with your landscaping by adding plantings to soften it. Hiring a good garden designer is the best money you will ever spend on your exterior. MaryAnne White is my go-to landscape designer because her aesthetic matches mine.
Did you notice that I added some daisies to the fence colour pics – little landscaping details make such a difference overall.
Someone who has been doing design for over 30 years KNOWS what works and what doesn’t. That’s the person who will save you money everywhere! She can design your garden online via eDesign. It’s how she did mine!
Image above and below from renoguide
In the end, we ended up with three colour options, the same colour and options for both lighter or darker.
Which one would you choose?
If you have any questions about fence and patio colours that you would like to see featured on the next module, please take some photos of your house and yard, tidied up and in even light to be considered.
Here’s one that will appear in the upcoming module below for example:
Stay tuned for the new module to see what I’m suggesting for this house. Hint: it will NOT be grey.
Another reader wants to paint her porch, she knows the reddish brown isn’t right:
These are the real-life examples I’ll be covering in the 15th Module of my Exterior Masterclass; What Would Maria Do with THIS Patio/Porch/Fence/Deck. If you want to learn how to choose the right colours for your clients or for your own home, you can purchase the online class here.
If you have a dilemma like this, please clean up the area (you’ll have a higher chance of being considered) and send photos to my Ask Maria email here.
And if you need help choosing exterior colours this Spring, see my Exterior eDesign packages here.