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Before and AfterExterior Colour

Choosing the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) Shed Colour

Wondering what colour to paint your shed? Here are three guidelines to help you decide what colour your shed or outbuilding should be. 

Todays post is super fun because it’s also about my Sister/Mom’s Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

First, let’s talk about outbuildings.

When I did a search for the question (what colour should my outbuilding be), the first advice, right at the top, was this:

“In general, a great rule of thumb when choosing what color to paint your shed is to go with a lighter, more neutral color for the base, and a darker accent color to make the door and window trim stand out.”

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that there’s mostly no such thing as a ‘rule of thumb’ when it comes to choosing colours.

The minute you think you’ve found a rule when it comes to colour or design, you’ll be confronted with a colour problem and and break that rule instantly.

As you should.

The mark of a good artist is that you have good instincts.

And the designers/artists who attend my live training generally arrive with good instincts/spidey senses and what they need to get better at is explaining WHY their advice is correct.

But I digress.

How to choose a shed colour.

First, let’s discuss the three guidelines for helping you choose the right colour your outbuilding or shed:

1. If your outbuilding or shed is visible with your home, the colour should coordinate.

If you can see your house and your outbuildings at the same time. They should coordinate. This goes for a barn as well.

Since I live in the country, I drive by many, many homes with barns surround them and most in no way relate.

And they are NOT beautiful yet.

I will get into this in greater detail in my Exterior Masterclass 15th Module: What Would Maria Do with THIS Patio/Porch/Fence/Deck (and outbuildings too). You can register and get instant access to all 14 modules immediately. This module is coming up May 15!

2. Or, here’s how to choose a shed/outbuilding colour if you don’t like your house colours.

If you don’t like the existing colour of your house and you need to paint your shed and you don’t want to look at your house colours (that are bad), then I recommend that you choose colours to move everything FORWARD.

The full tour of my 500 white tulip garden is coming for Mothers Day!

Here’s what I mean. I inherited my pale taupe vinyl siding house colour (above), and I have two outbuildings in my backyard: my studio and a garden shed.

And, I’m really happy that the previous homeowners simply chose white vinyl siding because I’m not a big fan of my taupe house. Although it doesn’t bother me enough to change it right now, because I’m too busy enjoying my garden.

3. And, maybe your shed/outbuilding is out of sight, so it doesn’t matter what colour it is.

This is the situation with the goat shed in my Mom/Sister’s backyard.

For those of you who don’t know, my mom and sister’s family own property two minutes away from me and my mom built a carriage house behind my sister’s house.

When they bought the house, they inherited an old goat and a ewe. Over time they both passed and the old shed sat empty for a few years until they adopted three Nigerian Dwarf goats last year!

Midnight and Max are brother and sister. They often bully Robin and push him around. We worry we need  a fourth goat so he has his own friend. 😉

Here’s a look at the goat shed before:

The other day my Mom called me from Home Depot and said, “Hey Maria, I’m here and I might as well get some paint for the door, can you give me a colour?”

To which I replied, “Mom, we stare at this shed everyday, let’s discuss the colours with everyone first.”

The existing red of this shed happens to be a faded version of what every house in Finland is painted.

That or a rich yellow.

Or both. Like this one (below).

Kurikka, Finland

Since the goat shed was already painted red and just needed a fresh coat, I thought perhaps the door should be yellow, as a nod to our Finnish heritage.

Then there’s the existing green corrugated plastic that isn’t changing as well.

Ok, so here are the colour options… I thought I’d put it out for a vote!

Here is the shed with yellow doors and fascia.

Then a here it is with green to coordinate with the corrugated plastic.

The problem with these two shades of red and green is they are way too close to Christmas colours.

Then William said, “Can we make the attached shed yellow too? And Markus added, let’s make the steps leading up to the roof green!

Here’s the before again:

I think we all liked this shed colour combination the best!

This year, the kids and my Mom added the steps so the goats could get up onto the roof and they LOVE it. They are up on the roof all day long!

They’ve never fallen once and not landed on all fours! It’s amazing how sure footed they are. It makes me feel sad for all the goats who never get to climb!

William & Markus

Here’s a short video I put together just for fun! We all need some joy right now!

Let me know which shed colour you like in the comments below!

If you need help with your exterior colour scheme, check out my eDesign packages here.

Related posts:

My Sister Elizabeth’s Fresh (But Still Tuscan) Kitchen Makeover; Before & After

Refresh of my Mom’s Kitchen and Sitting Room; Before & After

My Nephews HomeSchooling Room: Before & After

22 pins


  • Millicent says:

    So fun and colorful. Looks like a great combination!

  • Anita says:

    How fun — option 1 — yellow door, red building, yellow on the roof line

  • YaleMichMom says:

    I vote for Option 3, 1, 2, in that order. The yellow is WAY too much fun not to include it in the scheme, (goats are fun so have some more fun) plus you mentioned it’s a nod to your Finnish heritage. I love the idea of the extra yellow on the attached portion and highlighting the goat steps in green. I was in Sweden a year ago March. I was beside myself with all the deep red houses, and even some bright yellow ones, that contrasted against bright blue sky and the brightest sun and snow I’ve ever seen. Sublime!

  • Lorri says:

    I am emotionally unable to vote for a shed color UNTIL ROBIN GETS A FRIEND! 😢

    Side Note: There’s a tourist attraction in the Georgia mountains called “Goats On The Roof”.

  • Rebecca says:

    Of the ones pictured the red and green. I think I would like to see the option of a yellow door with the red and green. In other words the roofline world all be green.

  • Paulette says:

    Yellow doors and fascia!

  • Adele says:

    Red, green, and yellow add-on. The building are already quirky so I would just go with that vibe. It is fun and joyful!

  • Ellen says:

    I vote for William’s color scheme! What a fun post Maria! I can tell you are a fun and much loved auntie!

  • Bonnie Wood says:

    Hi Maria! I always enjoy your posts and this one was an especially fun one to read and hear a little more about your family.

    Coming from a fellow designer’s perspective, I loved your first choice because that great yellow offered a true focal point. The second choice would work also if you added the yellow for the door. I do like addressing that green corrugated plastic. As for the third, the yellow no longer worked for me as it divided the focal color (yellow) in two opposing areas confusing my eye by chopping up the structure. Hope this helps. Good luck with your decision.


  • Pam says:

    Option 3 and enjoyed the video!!

  • Sarah says:

    Number 3 looks so fun! Not number 2, the Christmas colours- no, no.

  • Dianne says:

    Maria, what a fun project! My favorite version is the one that you said you all like best. However, seeing your nephews standing next to the building gave me an idea! How do you think it would look if you paint the steps, plus one or two other small accent areas, the color of blue of your nephew’s coat? Possible other areas: “Frame” the whole door OR the two windows (?) in the door with a band of blue, and also put a small touch of blue somewhere on the shed, and/or possibly along the roofline?

  • Nicole says:

    Number three is quirky, happy and fun, I just love how it brings all the disparate parts together. It makes me smile to look at! I would be delighted to see this in my backyard every day. And adding the rail at the bottom of the corrugated roof on the lean-to was brilliant, for safety and more goatie terrace space!!!

  • Julie says:

    Option 3. GOAT goat playhouse!

  • Fran says:

    It appears you have a budding color expert in William! I like his idea best of all. 😊

  • elle says:

    What fun! I like the last option the best, with the goat steps green and the door and right side shed both yellow. It is great to have this nod to your Finnish heritage. I also love the stumps / sections of tree trunks for the goats.

  • elle says:

    Also, your white garden is lovely. The curving beds are so inviting.

  • sandi davis says:

    Maria…My vote is choice #1: Red with yellow doors and fascia. LOVE the goats!

  • Nicole Foran says:

    Definitely, the last picture works best. The yellow is offset and the green shelves is a great blend with the existing piece that is there.
    Overall…best choice!

  • Nancy Guertin says:

    the third one with the green steps and yellow end, then option 1

  • Carrie TCE Dallas ‘18 says:

    Thank you for the video—I love how active goats are. I smiled all the way through. I vote the last version —with yellow shed, etc.

  • A-L says:

    I agree with the others, option 3 is the best. I never would have thought to be so imaginative with the shed’s colors, but it looks great.

    In your post you discuss moving forward if one doesn’t care for one’s house color. How do you suggest one do that? Or what do you think of taking an accent color from the house (like the door color, so the Kelly green with your house) and using that for the outbuilding so it still coordinates, but isn’t the same.

    • Maria Killam says:

      You could totally introduce that kind of colour scheme! And the trim on my house is white, so having white out buildings still technically coordinates! Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Heather says:

    I like the last option best! What a fun nod to your heritage. 🇫🇮

  • Nancy says:

    Maria – first off that is fun !
    I didn’t realize that goats like to climb like that .
    They are cute too .

    I vote for option .

  • Cheryl says:

    Option 1. Loved the video! And your white tulip gardens are gorgeous!

  • Martha says:

    I like the third picture with the green steps. It makes the corrugated green look like it belongs and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. I think the add on part could still be the red, but it’s okay with the yellow.

  • Laura Talbot says:

    Option 4 – yellow door and facia and green steps – but leave the right side of the shed red so your eye has a focal on the great yellow door!

  • Julie S says:

    I like the last option best! It’s modern and unexpected and happy. My neighbors bought Pygmy goats a month ago and while they are mostly cute, there is one that bleats in a horrible way some days… fifteen feet from my back door and kitchen window (our house is on two acres but built right next to the hedge at our property line and the goats are just on the other side of the fence/hedge).

  • susan mccarthy says:

    Maria, where did you get the statuary that is in front of your home’s big window? I am having a hard time finding statuary on line that is the right size and affordable.

    • Maria Killam says:

      It came from Fraser Valley Cement Gardens in Langley. Look for an outfit that sells concrete items. Maybe that will help! Maria

  • Marielle says:

    I like the third one as well, but I’m missing some white. The original Finnish example has more white as well. Put some simple white trim around the door, paint the bottom of the fascia white, something like that.

  • I’d say William has his Auntie’s eye! I love the red barn with the yellow door and shed and the coordinating green steps with the corrugated plastic! Well done William! And well done Maria for being such a great influence on your nephew! 😉

  • Joanne says:

    Option #3! It is just so much fun!!! I want to visit your family – you are all so much fun! By the way, you mentioned that you will be covering your gorgeous garden in the near future. If you could answer a question or two in the post? I know that you planted 500 (!) bulbs. How far did you space them? They look amazing! What do you do when after they start to die? I know you are not supposed to cut them back. Do you plant annuals? Or do you have other perennials that bloom? I have some newly cleared beds and I can’t decide on tulips or daffodils, but I want that same mass of color. Thanks for a lovely post.

  • Marg says:

    Sounds like your Mom and sister inherited an old goat and an evergreen bush (yew). I think you mean “ewe”.
    The goats are adorable and they sure love those climbing steps!

  • Brenda says:

    I agree with practically everyone on here that is voting for #3. It is fun, just like the goats. They remind me of the ones at Coombs on Vancouver Island, one of my happy places. Your nephews are lucky to have such unique pets!

  • Annette says:

    Very cute video. I like option 1 the best.

  • Brooke says:

    William and Markus for the win! Well done. Thank you for the fun video. xo

  • Karen says:

    What a fun article and video! William had a great idea in suggesting yellow for the attached shed and green for the steps. I LOVE Option 3. When I look at it, I feel joy!

  • Janice says:

    William and Markus had the best idea…definitely #3 it’s happy and well balanced! Such a cute story 😃 I laughed out loud today!

    Seminar Alum.

  • Kay says:

    Green roofline, red body, including the steps, and yellow door. Sorry it’s not one of your options! To me it would look more coherent. It’s not, as we all know, an attractive building, so pulling out details with paint doesn’t work for me.

  • Debra says:

    How about a variation of Option 3: paint the shed door yellow and the rest of the shed wall red… to continue the wonderful funky vibe but also add some continuity to the building? Love your posts!

  • Sonja says:

    So much happiness going on there! Love the pop of yellow sunshine.☀️

  • Katherine says:

    They’re so cute! I like the red and gold. Very pretty.

  • Sherry says:

    Such a fun post! Thank you for sharing the goat video with us. 🙂 I vote for number 3. Love the green being repeated in the steps while keeping the fun and heritage-nod yellow.

  • Andrea Wolf says:

    William’s color combination! Definitely!

  • Betty says:

    I like the yellow door and side area best. Might be fun to go with a deeper red, too.

  • Whitney says:

    Mmm. I’d like to see green everything with a yellow door.

  • Connie says:

    I like #3 but find the unpainted pallets distracting – can they be painted too?

  • Jen says:

    #3 for me, with mustard yellow door and annex, and green “stairway to heaven” for the goats…pleasantly proportioned color-blocking effect, and the right amount of whimsy.

  • Rosamund says:

    Three, two and one, in that order. The third one is playful… like a goat!

  • Kathy says:

    Option #3. Period. (Just quoting you, Maria!) Thanks for the video. It was a fun distraction!

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    They are SO cute and a welcome distraction.
    I like #1 but with green steps. I agree with another comment, the yellow add on in option 3 visually divides the two buildings.
    Excited to see the result!
    Have fun!

  • Becky says:

    Thanks! My kids just watched your goat video twice.😊 My youngest is ready to go out and buy a goat NOW!… or a cow! Yeah, he wants to milk a cow! Every 4-year-old’s dream, I guess. We actually did have a Jersey before he was born. I’ll pass on doing it again. 😁
    Option #3! I like the Finish heritage popping up in the back yard. 😊

  • I had no idea those were your families goats, how absolutely adorable!!
    Loved the fun video!! We want more!!

  • Kim says:

    I like William’s option (#3) the best as it looks very balanced overall and the green steps tie into the green plastic that’s staying. Your nephews and the goats are so cute!

  • sandyc says:

    I vote for #3 absolutely! And, if it’s too soon to add William and Markus to the payroll, I’d consult with them as you’re preparing your Exterior Masterclass 15th Module: What Would Maria Do with THIS Patio/Porch/Fence/Deck (and outbuildings too). There may be some good potential for the future. Thanks for such a delightful treat for yet another “what day is today?” day.

  • enduring says:

    I vote for the yellow trim and side shed, with the red main, and the green ladder/steps. That warm yellow just sets it off so well and the green ladder/steps adds a touch. The red is wonderful!

  • Jan says:

    I like the red , green and yellow combination. What fun.
    What about painting the step brackets red to kind of hide them out but keep the steps green.
    Just a thought.


  • maggie shol says:

    i like the final choice with the extra yellow and the blue stairs…

    however, my eye really wants there to be some separation between the colors. if you look at the finland barn, there is trim between the red & yellow. a warm beige. it looks so different – – the color blocking on this shed feels so, well, blocky.

    so i wonder if it’s possible to paint a fake kind of trim … especially around the door which particularly feels it need some kind of outline. maybe a stripe at the corner between the red & yellow. maybe some tan boxes around the blue stairs???

    always LOVE your posts!! <3

    • Maria Killam says:

      I think all these ideas are fabulous, AND it’s a goat shed. We still need to overcome the issue that apparently goats EAT PAINT. eeeek. My Mom just wanted to get the doors painted, I added the rest, haha. Maria

  • Liz says:

    Super cute! 🙂 I like Markus’ idea but with the attached shed kept in the red. So – it’s all red w 2 things yellow & 2 things green 🌈

  • Lucy says:

    Well that was fun! Love the music it sounded like music from the Hillbillies. Are goats like dogs such as happy to see you when you come by? Do you put them in the goat house at night? You can tell that I don’t know much about goats but I am an animal lover. I do know about color and will cast my vote for your ancestry colors. It is bright and happy so the goat will love it!

    Cute post……love it!

  • Caroline O'Hara says:

    I love option 3–go for that deep yellow with the red, and the green that can’t be changed looks fine with the rest!

  • Lynn says:

    Hi Maria
    I luv the final choice that you came up with… the yellow on the end building helps define the “overall shape” of the building, and keeps the eye from roaming in search of where it ends vs running infinitely (just a novice idea of what is pleasing to my eyes)

    We had an out-building put up at our house last spring and I chose what appears to me to be a “coordinating” color scheme that would stand out compared to our “gold orange” brick 1960’s rancher .
    Body color was “Avocado” with “Navajo white” trim.

  • Ann Welwood says:

    Maria…Re the goats: My daughter has to soon part with her N goats…has babies right now. Tammy is putting her home on the market in couple weeks or less. She can’t take her babies or their parents with her😭 If in need of a companion goat…these are high quality bred. She has a beautiful home and a very adorable goat barn on Majuba Hill, Chilliwack.

  • Melissa says:

    Option 1, and such a pretty garden you have!

  • Deb says:

    Maria and family,
    Thank you for the fun goat video! I like the colorful goat house choice. I think the goats will too! I know goats like to eat everything, so planting regular flowers is out of the questions, but I sure would like to see some flowers PAINTED on the side of the goat house. Maybe Lily-of-the-Valley, the national flower of Finland?
    When I traveled to Northern Wisconsin, there was a restaurant that had a roof COMPLETELY covered in grass! There was always a goat up on the roof, having his lunch I guess.

  • Liz in Oregon says:

    As a long-time-ago goat owner, I love those darling goats! Thanks for the video! Oh, and your nephews are darling too!

    I like #3 the best. Maybe if you painted the door to the yellow shed red it might break up the larger expanse of yellow just enough. It would be the opposite of the main red shed with yellow door. I agree that the stair brackets should be red (except for the one attached to the yellow building which should be yellow) to make the green stairs “float.” That green corrugated plastic is certainly the definition of “bossy.” 🙂

    I hope we get to see the actual “after.”

  • Norma Fournier says:

    William and Marcus are your little color prodigies! They surely are taking after their auntie! I love the last image of the shed.

  • Liz says:

    Loved the goat video. Made my day! So adorable.

  • Chery says:

    #3 is so fun…and those goats are fun! I be they would love to have a fun quirky house (if goats could give their opinion). What a fun project!

  • Cindy Lenger says:

    I like the red with the yellow door. I think the green steps look too busy and distracting.

  • Heddy says:

    That was adorable! Thank you!
    Loved the boys ideas!

  • Jan says:

    The kids and the kids are adorable. Let’s do #3!

  • val says:

    Dear Maria, Forgive my off- topic request. Can you write about best subway tile on the market? I’m not into beveled detail. Waterworks/ Ann Sacks/ Walker Zanger … who is the best of them all?? I’d love to invest in the best.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Val, I don’t have a strong opinion other than I know that the names you’ve mentioned are expensive so they must be in the realm of the best. I understand they have over 20 different whites in subway tile so at least you’ll end up with the perfect shade of white to coordinate with your white kitchen if that’s what you’re doing. Hope that helps, Maria

  • Julie says:

    Hi Maria! I love option #3. It is so much fun, just like the goats!! I love goats, they are sooo entertaining.

  • Karen says:

    Like the third option best. Also love the Finnish connection.

  • Johnna says:

    Love option 3! So much fun color, just like the goats. Thanks for the entertainment too! 🙂

  • Norine says:

    I like a variation on William’s idea. I would paint the shed the same red, but make its door yellow to match the main door. Green steps are great.

  • Ann Crutchfield says:

    Your video made me smile! Thanks for putting together and posting. Can’t same I’m a fan of any of the colors in the sample. Maybe the sides of the shed need some decorative design (think Amish)?

  • Arlene says:

    I am curious why your Mom and Sister have goats.
    What do they use them for Maria?

  • Susan S says:

    I ‘m very fond of William and Markus’ choice!

  • Mary Lou says:

    Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking too. Also, can we paint the door on the side addition yellow and the body red? It would balance the colors keeping the body the same… so fun Maria! I also like how you’re taking it an extra step when all your mom wanted to do was paint the doors. This happens to my mom all the time when she asks me a design question. 😂

  • Mary says:

    They are all great choices, but my favorite is Option 3.

  • Suze says:

    Hands down the 3rd multi coloured goat shed. ❤️

  • Alita says:

    I love your nephews’ color sense. Adding green to the goat steps is perfect. Originally I liked the 3rd option best, and I still do, but would extend the red to the side instead of yellow. Someone else said that splitting the yellow up made it choppy and I felt into that and realized the shed might feel “tired” sooner that way, but extending the red to that portion keeps it more classic and less “tiring” both on the eyes and for longevity.

  • Susan says:

    I too would suggest a modified option; option 1 with the steps painted green which is the same as option 3 with the extension painted red. I agree that it would be more calm than option 3 and more balanced than option 1. Thank you for this post!

  • Sheree L says:

    I like option 3, but with the side shed red (keep the door yellow). Cute goats! And adorable nephews!

  • susan says:

    Yellow door—of course!!! Cuz “Color Me Happy!!!”



  • Michelle says:

    Choice #3 for the balance and fun factor!

  • JoDi says:

    I love option #3, and I really LOVE goats!! The video was so fun!

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