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So, You Want To Paint Your House?


We painted our house! We painted our house BLACK! And if there is anything I have learned from this, it's don't be afraid to go bold - and take other's opinions with a grain of salt. YOU, DO YOU.

We move quick on projects... so from the moment Nathan mentioned he wanted to paint the house, to the moment paint actually went onto the house... there was (probably) only a weekend of time in between. In that time frame we saw a lot of family, because it was Father's Day, and they all looked at us a little sideways when we told them our color choice. I don't blame them... you don't see a lot of black houses in the Midwest.

I won't lie, when people doubt your plans or choices, it makes you second guess yourself... it's a natural reaction. Even with small doubts we had, we proceeded -- and Nathan started painting as soon as the paint was delivered... and once one full side of our house was painted black, there were zero regrets!

Stroll Down Memory Lane...



Picking A Paint Color

Black was not our first choice - since we bought our house in 2017, we always talked about painting the exterior a navy blue. We were pretty much dead set on Navy Blue. I had seen some black exteriors through work and from Instagram... but I never thought Nathan would like the idea of a black house, so I never mentioned it. It wasn't until I asked my Instagram community what their favorite house colors were, and there were numerous responses for "black", that I mentioned the color to Nathan. To my surprise, he was 100% on board with black siding. (I was genuinely shocked).

From there, we had to find the perfect black. Black paint is like white paint... there are a lot of variations and they can all have different undertones. We pulled color names from Pinterest and made sure they were all Sherwin Williams colors (that was the paint we planned on using). Once we had a list of colors, we went into a Sherwin Williams store and looked at the swatches in person... we narrowed it down to three colors in the store and purchased samples of each color. The three colors were Tricorn Black, Caviar and Black Magic.

Nathan sampled all three paint colors on the back of our house and we lived with them for a couple of days (basically an entire weekend). Leaving the samples up for a few days helped us see the colors in different lighting and at different times of day - which helped us (okay, me) see the true color and the true undertones.

Paint Colors From Left to Right: Tricorn Black, Caviar and Black Magic
Paint Colors From Left to Right: Tricorn Black, Caviar and Black Magic
Before we made our final decision, Nathan painted a larger sample of Black Magic on the house

Nathan and I don't always agree on design decisions, but when it comes to paint, he usually trusts my judgment. He was really pushing for Tricorn Black, because it was the darkest sample, but I was seeing a deep blue undertone and I really didn't want that for our house. Plus, we painted our kitchen island Tricorn Black (without sampling it) and in certain lighting, our island looks navy blue. So, Nathan let me win this battle and we decided to paint the house Black Magic; which is a softer black, but still dark.

We used a new product by Sherwin Williams; called Rain Refresh - its part of their Emerald paint line. This paint is formulated to self clean when it comes in contact with ran or water - it will magically wash away dirt whenever it gets wet (pretty cool, right?). Its also extremely durable and UV resistant, which is perfect when you're painting your house black - hah! Of course I tested out this "self cleaning" quality... when the paint gets wet, it bubbles slightly and then the bubble disappear! Since we just painted the house, it's not very dirty - but I plan on testing this out again after we go through the Winter months!

The Prep & Process

So... we kind of skipped any type of prep (whoops). Once we started painting the front of the house, I realized that we should have wiped down the house (maybe even hosed it down) & sanded a few areas. If you are planning on tackling this project, I highly recommend prepping your surface first. If you have cedar siding, like we do, I would not recommend using a pressure washer to clean the house, as it might take of the existing paint or finish, but simply spray it down with your hose and let it dry. There were some areas where the existing paint job was peeling or cracking, and I would have liked to sand those down before. Oh well, you live and learn - right?? Overall, since we have a single story home, I used a broom to brush off the siding and get rid of any cobwebs and I used a wet paper towel to wipe down the window trim... so the painters tape would stick.

If you plan to use a brush and roller for the job, then there is no other prep needed - you can begin! If you plan on using a paint sprayer... there are a few more steps you need to take before you can start painting.

Nathan used a brush and roller for the garage door side of our house but once we started painting the front side... where there are a lot more doors and windows, we quickly realized we would need to spray the rest of the house. In order to use a sprayer, you will need to tape off all the windows/doors and your soffits. Once everything is taped off, start painting and you're done! If you're using a good exterior paint, this should be your last step (besides clean up... which is the worst!).

We used this product to tape off our windows, doors and soffits - it worked so well! Taping can take a long time (it took us about 1.5 hours to tape off 5 windows, part of the front soffit, all of the South soffit and the front door/brick wall)... but let me tell you - it was well worth the prep work! After we sprayed the cedar grooves and around the windows/soffit, rolling was a breeze and we were done in about 4.5 hours. (for reference, it took nearly 6+ hours to partially paint the front of the house using a brush and roller)

What About The Finish?

Let's talk about paint sheens - there are a handful of different sheens to choose from and if you pick the wrong one, it can be... well, not good. When it comes to paint finishes, the typical rule is - the higher the sheen, the higher the durability." With that being said, the higher the sheen, the more imperfections and texture is going to show. (this all goes for interior paint as well!)

For exterior jobs, here is what I recommend: Flat finish for the large, main areas of the house and satin or semi-gloss for any trim or doors. We used a flat finish for our house and since we didn't touch our trim, we didn't need to worry about that.

Next up - coverage! How many coats did we need? Well... in most areas using a brush and roller covered the old paint in 1 coat, but there were some areas that we needed to go over twice. The painter sprayer gave us great coverage and only required one coat - so once we figured that out, we tried to use the sprayer as much as possible. This whole process was a learning experience for us!

But... How Much Did It Cost?

The burning question everyone asks - how much did you spend? Did you save money? The short answer - heck yes we saved money! As for the cost, I broke it all down for you & linked everything in the supply list!

Items we already owned:


If you had to purchase everything (including items we already owned): $960.25

I don't have any quotes to compare our cost to... but I do know that it would have been at least $1,500.00 if we hired someone to do this for us (and that's on the low end). Now, does that $580.00 cost doesn't include the labor and hours we put into painting the house? No, of course not - but that's the point right? Sweat Equity! I think our new house color was 100% worth every drop of sweat and sore muscle we endured!

Lets Talk Landscaping

Now that our house is a color that we love... we should probably focus on landscaping more, right?? We have lived in our house for 3 years now and this year was the first year we started landscaping! Last Summer I really started planning and thinking about what we would need. We have a huge front landscaping bed that wraps all the way around our house. Its HUGE. I drew out an entire plan so we would know exactly what to buy when Spring came this year. It helped immensely and I highly recommend researching and creating a landscape plan for yourself. If I had gone to the nursery without a plan, I would have been completely overwhelmed - it was nice walking in there and knowing exactly what I was looking for.

Landscaping is expensive and it's A LOT of work on top of it. My mom came and helped me landscape part of the huge bed and it already looks so much better! I'm hoping this Fall, we can tackle the rest of this area... but honestly, it may have to wait until next Spring.

PS - If you're thinking about painting your house (or having it painted), I highly doing it before you put in any landscaping... it will make it much easier to access the house and you won't have to worry about stepping on newly planted flowers, etc.

Last Spring, around Mother's Day weekend, my mom and sister came over and helped us plant the tall grasses that run along our front walkway. They came is really nicely this year and now they look even better against our new black siding - they really POP!


  • Boxwoods - I knew I wanted to add some of these so that we would have color all year round. They don't go dormant during the Winter months.

  • Hostas - these are very low maintenance and they can be split over the years; which is a huge plus! Most of the time you don't even have to buy these... I'm sure one of your neighbors has hostas that need to be split and would be happy to give you some!

  • Tall Grasses - Nathan and I love grasses! They are nearly zero maintenance and they provide great height

  • Magnolia Tree - this was a non-negotiable for me! I grew up with a Magnolia tree right outside my bedroom window and I have forever been in love with the smell. Plus, they bloom early in the Spring and it's nice to see flowers so early in the season!

  • Annual Flowers - I decided that I wanted space in front of the house where I could plant flowers every year... I don't mind gardening, so I wanted to incorporate some annuals that I would need to replace once a year.

I still have big plans for landscaping in our backyard, especially since we had a new patio poured this year. Sometimes I have to remind myself that everything takes time and at times, it's better to wait! ...I mean it took us three years to even begin landscaping and to paint our house (we have been talking about painting the house since we bought it!)




"Why did you only spray around the windows, doors and in the grooves? Why didn't you spray the

entire house and not use a roller at all?


If you have ever painted, you probably know that cutting in takes the longest! Anything you need to use a brush for will always take so long. Since cutting in was taking us the longest, when we were working on the front of the house, we decided to just eliminate that step and use the sprayer instead. Once we sprayed those areas, including the grooves of the siding, Nathan could actually roll faster than I was spraying! Also, we didn't have a heavy duty sprayer - it was just a small sprayer and we would've needed to spray the panel multiple times (up and down) to get it fully coated; not to mention keep refilling our tiny sprayer. Also, to use the sprayer, you needed to be up on a ladder for the higher points of the house... with a roller, you can stand on the ground and reach them with the extension pole (less wear on our bodies & safer!)

When I was spraying the vertical grooves on the South side of the house and Nathan started rolling the panels, he was actually catching up to me! The rolling was the quickest part of the entire job!


"How large is your house? How long did it take you to finish this project - how many hours?


We live in a ranch style home (which means it's only one level - single story) and it's 1,600 square feet. I don't think we would have tackled this project on our own if we had a 2-story home... it would essentially be double the work. We didn't log our time on this project, but if I had to guess, I'd say we spent about 25-30 hours... and Nathan definitely put in more hours than I did!


To end, here's a photo of our newly painted house - we are so in love with the color & can't believe it took us this long to do it!

Talk soon friends!




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