Want to Paint the Exterior of Your Home? Here’s 5 Tips a DIY Pro Wants You to Know

With a fresh coat of paint, Emma Shoemaker turns her home into a modern English cottage.

Want to Paint the Exterior of Your Home? Here’s 5 Tips a DIY Pro Wants You to Know

When blogger Emma Shoemaker moved into her Pensacola, Florida home with her family, she didn’t anticipate that she would paint the exterior of her home herself. But as she began decorating her home to align with her “modern English cottage” aesthetic, she quickly realized that the outside no longer matched what was inside.


“I love the look of white brick,” Emma says. “As soon as we looked at this house, I envisioned it being white.” So she decided to boost the curb appeal by upgrading what she called “the ugly red bricks” with a fresh coat of Timeless, our creamy off-white paint color, plus DIY shutters painted in our forest green Field Trip for that perfect finishing touch.

As an avid DIYer, Emma felt confident taking on the project. “I'm one of those people who thinks I can Google anything and immediately do it,” she says. “I don't really think I ever had a hesitation about how big of a job it is to paint the exterior. I've painted dozens of rooms before. How different can an exterior be? Isn’t it just a big room?”

As it turns out, there are lots of differences—but nothing a little planning and research can’t help. From power-washing the facade to painting when the conditions are just right, Emma learned that painting the exterior of a home is a bit more complicated, but not as intimidating as she thought it would be. Lucky for us, Emma’s dropping in to spill her biggest lessons from the project—and sharing how you too can paint your home’s exterior with confidence.

BeforeAfterLesson One: Take Your Time During the Sampling Process

Though Emma landed on white as the color of choice for her exterior, she admits that finding that perfect shade was tricky. “It’s daunting because it is on your entire house,” Emma says. “Everybody that goes by will see it. If you mess up the color it could look too sterile or stark, which can happen a lot with white paint.”

When selecting paint for your home—white or otherwise—Emma suggests living with the sample and testing out the color in various areas. “Clare’s samples are peel-and-stick, so I put it up by our front door and kept walking by at different times of the day,” she says. “It really is amazing how different it can look from morning to afternoon to evening.”

After her swatching experiment, Emma ultimately selected Timeless, our creamy, warm off-white she said looked good everywhere she tested it.

Lesson Two: Prep Your Canvas

As with any paint project, it’s important to prep your canvas accordingly. Between clearing her yard of stray branches, pressure-washing her exterior, and waiting a full day for her ultra-porous facade to fully dry, Emma said that preparing her space took the most time—but it was also the most important step in achieving long-lasting results. “It can be really intimidating, but if you break it down, it's a lot more approachable,” she says.

(Pssst: Check out our guide to prepping your exterior like a pro here.)

Lesson Three: Save Time with a Paint Sprayer

Rollers and paint brushes are perfect for smaller indoor spaces, though they can be a total time-suck when painting the exterior of a home, especially when painting an uneven surface like bricks. Instead, Emma got the job done more efficiently with a paint sprayer. “There is the added prep work of taping up the windows and protecting the ground from overspray,” she says. “But for me, that's still worth it for the quality and coverage you get.” She borrowed a paint sprayer from a friend, but most hardware stores will have them available to rent.

Lesson Four: Don’t Overlook the “Extra” Areas

Initially, Emma didn’t plan to paint her roof’s overhang. But as she painted the brick exterior, she noticed the area, which is often overlooked, felt dingy next to the fresh coat of paint. Since her home is only one story, it was an easy add-on that made a huge impact. “I made my husband come out and look at the difference,” she recalls. “He was as amazed as I was.”

Lesson Five: Add Personality in the Details

To complement the new off-white brick, Emma ditched the existing cheap-looking shutters for DIY designs she made from scratch. “Shutters are almost like the eyelashes of the house. They give that finishing touch,” she says. “The design that we ended up going with really gave it that cottage look I was going for.”

Since she was working with an off-white exterior and a black door and railing, she wanted a hint of color on the shutters that hit the sweet spot between subtle and statement-making. She opted for Field Trip, our deep forest green that looks great against natural greenery and other outdoor elements—and also aligned with her indoor aesthetic. “I felt like having that little pop of color on the front was a good tie into [the interiors],” she explains. “It all feels cohesive when you go through the house.”


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