How to paint the front of your house a different colour?

Updated February 21, 2017

While some neighbours might disapprove, there are circumstances that might make it acceptable to paint the front of your house a different colour from the other sides. Perhaps you want to paint your Victorian house in an authentic colour scheme but don't want to have to paint all sides in such a time-consuming, strictly historical manner. Or you may want to paint your house in a colour that might be very appropriate for the front because of a special landscape design, but it's not so good for the back. Like any house painting job, preparation and technique are keys to a satisfactory result.

Prep the painting surface by scraping any loose paint from the siding. Use a steel wire paint-scraping brush with a scraper blade on the opposite end of the tool. Wear protective eye wear and a nose-and-mouth mask guard while scraping the old paint.

Wash the front of the house with a power water sprayer. Let it dry completely.

Prime the siding and trims with a good exterior primer product and a brush or spray applicator. Priming often can reduce the need to apply two or more coats of paint, particularly when painting light over dark colours. Priming also will help fill in any uneven surfaces produced by scraping and will make your paint job last longer. Let the primer dry.

Paint the house in the major colour first, working from the top of the house down to the ground level. Choose the major colour with some thought about the other sides of the house, especially if the sides are some other colour than white. If the other sides are a solid colour, a white, off-white, or grey colour might be best for the front. Let the paint dry over a 24-hour period.

Take care of any trim work. Use a colour that relates to the colour of the sides and back of the house, if possible. For example, if the sides and back of the house are white, use white for the trim colours on the front of the house. Mask previously painted areas that you want to protect. Work from the top of the house down to the ground level.

Paint other trim work around the other sides of the house using the new front trim colour, if possible. This will help unify your paint scheme for the whole house, even though the front of the house is a different colour from the other sides. Use good colour judgment though. If the sides of your house are dark green, for example, and your new front trim is red (on a new white background perhaps), don't paint the trim on the sides or back of the house red -- the result of combining red and green is too much of a contrast.


Introduce elements of colour to help balance two different colour schemes. If your house is white on three sides, but blue on the front now, add white awnings or white garden furniture to the front. If your house is blue on the sides but white on the front, add blue awnings to match or blue accessories to unify the two colour schemes.


Use clear plastic tarpaulins over landscaping elements to protect them from paint. Use ground levelling boards or sheets of plywood under the feet of ladders and scaffolds.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint scraping brush
  • Protective eyewear
  • Nose and mouth mask
  • Ladder or scaffolding
  • Power water sprayer
  • Primer paint
  • Brushes
  • Spray applicator (optional)
  • Main paint colour
  • Trim paint colour
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About the Author

A writer and entrepreneur for over 40 years, J.E. Myers has a broad and eclectic range of expertise in personal computer maintenance and design, home improvement and design, and visual and performing arts. Myers is a self-taught computer expert and owned a computer sales and service company for five years. She currently serves as Director of Elections for McLean County, Illinois government.