Choose roof color to coordinate with fixed, permanent elements on your house.  If you think it’s possible to choose a neutral roof color that will go with everything, you’re wrong.  Gray looked like a safe color choice to this homeowner.  But it wasn’t.


The Challenge

Previous roof colors were warm with a yellow hue bias matching the brick in a somewhat monochromatic manner.  Which is a typical exterior color scheme. . . monochromatic-like.

The new charcoal gray roof color created a large spectral gap between the brick color and the roof. The color relationship changed from monochromatic-like to levels of color contrast:

  1. The warm/yellow brick to the cool/blue roof.
  2. The light value brick to the darker value roof.

The Color Solution

To bridge the gap,  it was necessary to add more color to shore up and round out the light/warm/yellow to dark/cool/blue color relationship.  Objective was a cohesive color scheme instead of a curb appeal story of dramatic and discordant color relationships and contrasts.

The opportunities to add more color to create a well-rounded color scheme were few on this facade. Just the door and the shutters. Which means it was critical to get the colors right. Landscaping and light fixtures play supporting roles but the shutter/door color is key.

And here’s the (virtual) solution.


Brick, wood, metal  -all surfaces and substrates- have a definitive hue bias. The hue bias of the brick, for example, is no different than if it were painted siding.  Still using the brick as an example, it’s what I referred to before – a permanent fixed or non-transient exterior element. And it’s from the permanent fixed, non-transient elements that you build exterior color schemes. Because roofs, gutters, shutters, doors, etc. may come and go but you’ll never replace the brick.

It would have been a better plan to coordinate the roof color with the hue bias of the brick but that’s not how this scenario played out.  Once the new roof and gutters were installed, the homeowner suspected the color choices he made were a mistake.  No use looking at it that way.  Instead, see it as the challenge it is and find a way to make it work.

With color, there’s always a way to make it work.

As mentioned, gutters were new too and the color choice, sand pebble clay, wasn’t working either.  Painting the gutters was an option but I thought unnecessary because the sand pebble clay could work.  The new color scheme of creamier trim color, the color of the brick, and a cinnamon-stained door all tie together and harmonize with sand pebble clay.

Distributing some of the heavy black/blue/gray from the roof via navy-black (Inkwell) painted shutters, black fixtures and accessories creates balance. The color family created with the brick, door, trim and gutters is also balanced. Juxtaposed, the two are a cohesive, technically correct and balanced exterior color scheme. It works.

This took me a bit to figure out.  I’m always suspect of designers who say they know exactly what color, what to do, as soon as they see a room or house. Because I don’t think you can instantly know. If for no other reason than there are always at least three solutions to every color challenge. It requires time to define and determine.

An important takeaway is you do not have to narrowly align (or match) hue bias or color temperature. Color relationships and true color design is about contrast as much as alignment. Which one is better depends entirely on each unique room or house.

Another takeaway is I did this virtually.   eColor Consultations and virtuals are possible and incredibly efficient.

You really can do this! Read these other blog posts and add to your color skill set.

  1. Bringing Perspective to Undertones
  2. Color Order Systems are Like…
  3. Learn How to Use a Paint Color Order System Now
  4. How To Master Overtones
  5. Etymology of the Term Overtone
  6. Color Overtones Review
  7. Does Color Math Scare You?
  • Diann Eiserloh

    Lori, you articulated beautifully what I have believed was true for a long time. Well done!

    • funcolors

      Thank you, Diann. Appreciate your stopping by to comment!

  • Vanessa Rider

    I am really impressed with the color solution to this exterior. The house looks AMAZING with the inkwell shutters! I also appreciate you saying that it took you a while to get to this solution. As a person beginning in the color consulting field, I feel tremendous pressure to “just know” the right color right away. It is comforting to hear a master in the field say that it can take time to arrive at the solution.

    • funcolors

      Thanks for commenting, Vanessa. Even if I feel like I know the color answers right off the bat, I always take a minute and let it settle. Color design isn’t a race.

  • I always believe that choice of color is on your hand. Always choose a color which you like. Never take decision from others, otherwise you will not be happy in future. Here the color of roof is good and I like this color your take look this photo. But again I am telling you choose a color which you like.

  • I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog’s posts daily along with a
    cup of coffee.: