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Matching Paint and Stain Colors for the Perfect Home Look

Summertime often means an increase in DIY home projects to keep you busy on weekends. Painting the house, reviving the deck, replacing your old front door with a custom door from and planting eye-catching gardens are just a few of the items that may be on your to-do list. If painting the house and attempting to match stain to your house colors is on that list, here are some guidelines to help you get just the look you want.

Pick your Color Scheme


The best place to start for your perfect look is with your main house color. Every other color you choose, trim, accent, or deck, will either blend, contrast, or complement that larger block of color. Think about what color makes you happy, consider the CC&R’s of your homeowner’s association, and the overall “feel” of the area you live in.

Seaside villages often host cottages that wear a motley crew of colors; pink, orange, Robin egg’s blue, and bright purple. But those colors might be few and far between in the suburbs of a big city. The pastel gradations of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies are expected on the beautiful hills by the bay, but are they going to be appreciated on a townhouse? Choosing a pleasing color scheme is a great way to add curb appeal to your home and maintain friendly relationships with your neighbors. After all, they probably see the outside of your home more than you do.

Consider the Area of Your Deck or Porch

The next thing to consider is just how much area your deck or porch takes up in the overall image of the home. A porch will be more visible than a deck. A deck with railing will have more area than a deck that has no railing. Any wood that is visible from the street needs to be considered. If the wood area to be stained is almost as large as the visible walls of the home it will have a bigger impact on the color of stain you choose than a deck which has no more impact than a narrow trim.

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Another consideration is that because decks are visibly lower than the rest of the home, the most aesthetically pleasing colors tend to be darker. This gives the deck what artists call “weight”. It makes the home feel more solid and grounded.

The bigger your deck area, the more similar you’ll want your deck to be in comparison to the color of your home. A monochromatic theme between a large deck and your home will create a greater sense of continuity and flow.

If your deck or porch are smaller you can go with a complimentary or contrasting color to make your outside space pop without causing a disconcerting clash between the two spaces.

Choose a Deck Stain Opacity

Knowing what your home color is and how much deck you’ve got to cover, you can move on to how opaque you want your stain to be. Your decision will be based on the age of your deck, your decking material, and personal preference


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1. Clear or Natural Stain

This stain is exactly what it sounds like. This is a clear stain that brings out the natural grain and color of the decking material. If your deck is brand new or made of a beautiful wood, you want to show off then this might be a good option for your home. Clear stain has a shorter lifespan due to damage from ultraviolet rays and continued sun exposure and weathering. You’ll need to redo the stain after 1-2 years.

2. Tinted Stain

This stain opacity adds just a slight hint of color to your wood decking. You’ll still be able to see the wood grain beneath the color as well as the natural color of the wood which will give you a unique and beautiful finish due to variations in wood. This stain adds just a little bit more protection and longevity to your decking material. The lifespan is approximately 2-3 years.

3. Semitransparent Stain

This stain has the look of diluted paint, a much heavier dose of pigment but still allowing for a visible wood grain. This stain is perfect for decks that have a few years on them, perhaps some repair work, and a mix of old and new wood. The thicker color will hide the variations in how the wood accepts the stain. The lifespan of semitransparent stain is 3-5 years.

4. Solid Stain

For older decks, or decks with damage that affects how they look, a solid stain is the way to go. This stain will block out permanent marker, old staining mistakes, scorch marks, and a host of other ills. Solid stain also has the added benefit of providing the best protection from UV rays and has a lifespan of approximately 5 years.

Whatever the age or stage of your deck and no matter what color you choose for your home, there are a multitude of stains to fit your needs. You can choose a deck stain to match your front door, or choose another color that complements your look.

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