Deciding what color to paint your house is not like picking a new shade for your bedroom – if you’re not happy with the results, you’re either stuck with a color you don’t like for many years or you’ll have to live with the cost and time it will take to redo the job. So choosing the right color the first time around is essential.

But how do you choose? Here are some guidelines to help:

You can’t rush this one. Before you do anything, take a deep breath and commit to taking your time with this decision. Do the research necessary until you are 100 percent confident you’ve found the right color.

Consider your neighborhood. While you’re not obligated to conform, you might want to take into account the color scheme of other homes in your neighborhood. Are you in an area where homes are generally neutrals like tan, gray and white, or are you surrounded by colorful beach-area homes?

Think about your home’s permanent features. Does your home’s facade include brick, stonework, slate or shingles? Take these colorations into account when selecting an exterior paint – you’ll want to choose something complimentary.

Be observant. Every dog walk and trip to the grocery store is now field research. Don’t just look at the main color of a home, but how the owner has coordinated the color with the front door, shutters, trim and roof. Snap a quick picture of homes whose color palette you admire.

Consider the style of your home. Is your home an old Victorian? A mid-century modern? Or a classic cape? Color and style often go hand-in-hand.

You need to play it a little safe. While you may be itching to make a statement, reserve those daring colors for the front door or trim work, and make the primary color something more mainstream.

What’s your end-game? If you’re putting your home on the market soon, then paint with that in mind. If not, then feel free to indulge your personal preferences.

As you narrow down your choices, be sure to get samples of your finalists and test them out on your home before making your final decision. Chatting with paint specialists at your favorite home improvement stores will also help you sort through options.