In the 1990s, every second weatherboard house in Australia was painted in a shade of cream with trims picked out in dark green.
As trends changed, mustard became the predominant exterior colour for period homes across the suburbs, contrasted somewhat garishly with maroon trims. The next big thing after that was more subtle – a palette of pale coffee tones.
In recent years, the hottest outdoor shades have been greys, matching crisply with white window frames and doors.
Which brings us to 2018. Whether you’re after street appeal for a pending spring sale, or you just want to make your home look fresh and contemporary, what is the must-have exterior shade of 2018?
Haymes colour stylist Wendy Rennie says grey is still hot, having “replaced warmer latte tones for a long time” – and it’s likely to remain that way for some time.
“Greys, in both light and dark tones, with white trims are a classic for period homes,” she says.
She says greys work well with whites – and also suit contemporary homes. They also tie in with natural surroundings such as gardens, concrete, and timber features.
But there are dark changes afoot.
“Darker colours are now being embraced, with charcoals being featured as the main colour,” Ms Rennie says.
Darkness is a trend that Wattyl colour manager Sarah Stephenson has noticed too.
“Black is back”, she says – so much so that Wattyl named the Colorbond colour Night Sky as its exterior colour of choice for 2018.
Colorbond describes Night Sky as sophisticated and strong and says it is ideal for emphasising strong lines and sharp reliefs on contemporary and traditional homes.
The moody theme continues at Dulux, where the dark-grey shade Domino is its most popular exterior choice in 2018.
“Darker colours create a beautiful contrast outside against foliage and scheme perfectly with some of the popular mid-tone greys, such as Timeless Grey, and cooler whites,” in-house colour planner Andrea Lucena-Orr says.
If all that grey is threatening to be a bit of a downer, Taubmans colour consultant Grace Garrett has a bright idea – literally. It’s easy to add a pop of colour with a brightly painted front door, she says.
Ms Garrett, who is also a textile artist, says a colourful front door can easily change the feel of a house, “as well as being a simple way to embrace new-season colour trends”.
“This quick, simple and cost-effective uplift allows home-owners to effortlessly display their own individual styles,” she says.
“It can also add a touch of brightness and vibrancy to homes throughout the darker winter months.”
Dark and earthy palettes also feature strongly in interior colour schemes in 2018.
Ms Rennie says using “warmer, deeper” earthy tans, greens and terracottas – as well as the ubiquitous greys and blacks – in your interior colour scheme brings a focus on comfort into the home.
These colours create a “diverse and eclectic” vibe, making for a relaxed feel, she says.
It’s a similar picture at Wattyl, where Ms Stephenson says greys are grounding. Their popularity reflects an increased focus on the home as “a place to retreat from the fast pace of everyday life and recharge”.
Sheer Granite is Wattyl’s most popular colour for interiors – and can be paired with pink for a splash of colour, she says.
Ms Garrett says Taubmans’ colour of the year, Black Flame, combines blue and black tones to evoke a modern elegance and “inspire warmth in any interior”.
“Use in a bedroom setting to create a cocooning feel,” she says.
But if all this moodiness isn’t your thing, Dulux might have the answer.
Ms Lucena-Orr says its most popular interior colour is Natural White.
“It has a subtle warmth and is an easy colour to use as it’s versatile and schemes well with just about any colour,” she says.
Shades of white remain a perennial favourite for good reason. Anyone after a mid-winter makeover would be foolish to discount the transformative power of a fresh coat of crisp white paint.