Dark houses are dramatic! The juxtaposition of a dark color with the lighter sky makes for serious contrast. Of course dark houses blend in less with the environment than lighter or mid tone houses. But that’s a design choice. Dark blue, dark green, dark grey, brown and black are all great choices. A very modern approach is not to use any contrasting trim colors at all, but the success of that is very much based on the architectural style of the house.
One down side of going this route is that fading is much more noticeable when you start with a dark color. Certain colors contain what’s called fugitive pigments and they are known to fade faster as they are less stable. Any reputable paint store should be able to tell you which colors in their lines are not recommended for exterior use ( although they will still sell them for that use). The worst offenders are colors which contain red pigment and some yellows as well. These pigments are used in red, orange, brown, green and even purple color paints, as certain shades of these colors can contain the offending pigment. If the area you’re painting is small, like a door, it’s easier to keep up by touching up the paint.
Just like painting an interior, a higher sheen will wear better than a flatter one but a shiny house is not very attractive. Most people go for the finish just above matte. Usually this is an eggshell, satin or pearl. Some people opt for a dead matte house anyway as a matte finish will really make your paint color pop and certain architectural styles look very good in matte. Take a look at some great dark houses. All photos by Amy Krane, unless noted.
Look at this adventurous treatment of color on these buildings in Great Barrington. Truly, bold with it’s blue and red stripes placed carefully and artfully on the trim.