If you’re facing the daunting task of choosing an exterior paint color, I know how hard it can be. We recently went through the process and I’ll show you what helped me choose, and why we ultimately went with Ellie Gray from Sherwin Williams as our exterior paint color.
Ellie Gray is a perfect earthy gray. It’s not too blue, it’s not too dark, and it pairs perfectly with bright white trim and black shutters and/or doors. Ellie Gray is also a good option for large-scale paint jobs – if you have a large surface area that needs to be painted, this one is a great neutral.
Ellie Gray is a new color for me. I haven’t used it in any of my decorating and I wasn’t familiar with the color. Revere Pewter, Agreeable Gray, and Repose Gray tend to come up in searches first when you think of the most common gray paint colors.
Exterior House Color – Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray
So let’s talk about choosing an exterior paint color. It’s a huge task and a super expensive mistake if you get it wrong. This is why I have a few suggestions before you decide.
Helpful Tips When Choosing An Exterior Paint Color
- Scout out surrounding houses and decide which color family you like first. Are you drawn to the browns/tans, grays, whites, or do you want a more non-traditional and bolder color?
- Ask your contractor/painter for suggestions – chances are they have some excellent knowledge and ideas.
- Take your time choosing. Unless you have a specific color scheme and know exactly what colors you want, take your time.
- If possible, get paint samples and use them. I spent around $100 on paint samples and even though it pained me to spend that money, it was worth every cent. I’ll show you more on that later.
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How to Get Paint Samples?
In my area, there is an issue with obtaining paint samples. An even better option if you need to get color choices is Samplize.
Samplize lets you choose any paint color and order a 12×12 peel and stick paint sample. It’s much more budget-friendly and you don’t end up with 12 paint samples that you used one swipe out of!
I wish I would’ve known about this when I was choosing colors. I ended up with 12 total paint samples that I purchased and 2 that I got from a friend. With the small amount needed out of each, it’s a lot of waste.
In any case, you will have an easier time choosing your final colors if you see them in person on your house.
Using Samples to Choose Exterior Paint Colors
The first batch of samples I bought included 7 Sherwin Williams colors that I chose from their website and from seeing photos online. We have a Sherwin Williams store very close to our house and we’ve always been pleased with their products.
- Lattice SW 7654
- Sea Salt SW 6204
- Repose Gray SW 7015
- Front Porch SW 7651
- Reflection SW 7661
- Agreeable Gray SW 7029
- Passive SW 7064
The next batch included five more Sherwin Williams options because I just didn’t love any of the first options.
- Essential Gray SW 6002
- Grayish SW 6001
- Ellie Gray SW 7650
- Gray Clouds SW 7658
- Versatile Gray SW 6072
You can tell I was drawn to the lighter grays at first. However, it was a different story when I painted them on my house.
I chose a spot on the back of the house, the front, and the side to paint a few swatches. I wanted to see how the colors looked in different lights. Our house is shaped like a giant block and it’s a huge surface to cover.
Here’s what they all looked like. (Except for the last and darkest shade on the picture on the left – that was a sample from a friend and I don’t recall the name. It was too blue for us so it wasn’t a contender).
How We Decided on Ellie Gray for Our Exterior Paint
You can see above that the colors I chose in the first seven samples ended up being much lighter than our final choices.
Ellie Gray is the 3rd color down on the right side. Once I painted the lighter shades, I just didn’t love them and couldn’t picture them on a large scale like the house siding.
The very last shade is Versatile Gray and I liked it but it was far too similar to what we currently had. And I wanted to get away from the brown color family this time around.
Several of the shades are far too blue for what I want and several were too light.
Ellie Gray for the exterior color was a favorite and the winner!
Choosing a Trim Color to Pair with Ellie Gray
I wanted to stay with white trim. What we have in our house is an off-white called Panda White. For the exterior, I’m shifting to a bright white.
It’s amazing how brown the Panda White looks next to Extra White. All of our interior trim and cabinets in the house are Panda White and they look white until you put them next to something extra white.
Choosing an Accent Color for the Exterior
I use a ton of black in my decorating and it’s always one of my go-to colors. So naturally, I went with black for our accent colors on the exterior. These would be the shutters and the front and back door. Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black is one of my faves so it was the winner. And it pairs perfectly with Extra White.
Final Color Palette for the Exterior of the House
So after lots of debate, Ellie Gray was the winner for the body of the house, Extra White for the trim, and Tricorn Black for the accent color. Initially, I never thought I would choose a color like Ellie Gray because at first glance it seemed too dark.
However, I love it. It’s perfect for the style of our house. It’s dark enough without being too dark, it’s not too light so it doesn’t look washed out, and it goes perfectly with the white and black accent colors. And to me, it looks much cooler of a gray than it does in the photo below.
Exterior House Color – Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray
Here is what we started with. This is the original paint that was on our house when we purchased it in 2013. Unfortunately, I don’t have the color name for this one.
And here it is painted with Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray for the exterior.
I love how much brighter it looks with the Ellie Gray instead of the brown color. Of course, new paint always looks fresh and clean, but this is a dramatic difference.
The most important thing I learned is that I needed to see it on the house first to decide what color. Whether you go with actual paint samples or Samplize, it’s worth every penny to get an idea of what it will look like in person.
What I thought I liked on the color swatch cards wasn’t at all what I liked on the house. And exterior house painting is a huge expense. It isn’t something that many people can afford to do over if they don’t choose right the first time.
Hopefully, this helps if you’re choosing a gray paint color. Even after a year, I’m super happy with Ellie Gray for our exterior color. I’d choose it again in a second!