Refresh exterior paint. After landscaping, a new paint job is these designers' top pick for the biggest and most inexpensive way to update an exterior. Keep your color palette simple for the most dramatic effect. "There's nothing worse than a home with too many elements, textures and colors mixed together to create a collage of exterior styles," says designer James Carrick. "Keep consistency and simplicity in mind to bring out the elegance and charm of a home." Figure out what can and cannot have its color changed on your house — such as natural stone or brick that shouldn't be painted — and use that as the basis for your palette. Many designers suggest sticking with a two- or three-color palette for the siding, the trim and an accent. "If you'd like to use the three-color palette, be sure to balance where you want the accent color so it doesn't overwhelm the siding and trim color," says Sheffield. Sheffield also recommends making the accent color the darkest of the three color choices. Use your color to emphasize the great parts of your house and draw the eye away from any negative features. Architect Thad Siemasko often uses exterior colors to exaggerate a paneled door, a slightly unusual trim or shutters. "We often tie the shutter, front door and garage door colors together as a deep highlight for a good effect," he says.