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White Foursquare Needs Color!

Submit an Entry: House Color Questions

By Jennifer Meyers

White Foursquare Needs Color!

White foursquare with sun porch needs color!

My House:

We recently purchased a white foursquare folk Victorian that was originally built in the late 1800s and has been extensively remodeled. The two biggest architectural changes include raising the house for a new foundation and full-height basement, and the addition of an enclosed sun porch on the front. There is some original wood gingerbread trim on the upper porch that needs to be removed/replaced. The house sits well above the street (located on a hill), and is set back further from the street than the adjacent neighbors.

My Project:

We plan to paint the entire house, including some repairs to wood siding, and possibly replacing/adding decorative trim to the upper porch to balance out the fanciful enclosed sunroom front porch. We have always really liked fancy Victorian style homes, with colorful paint jobs, but don't want to go overboard.

The roof was recently replaced and is a dark grey/black composite, but is barely visible from the street or when standing in front of the house, because it is so tall.


  • How many colors should we use? (One painter who's given a quote says only two would be best, but that doesn't seem to fit with my other research.)
  • What sort of color scheme complements the architecture without making it appear too busy or over-done? High contrast or low contrast trim? Trim lighter or darker than siding color?
  • When researching historical colors, how do I incorporate the more modern front porch addition?
  • Should we / can we use color to keep the house from appearing so tall?

Jackie Craven, About.com Architecture, says:

Excellent questions. You are wise to be cautious about over-doing, but I think you could use more than two colors if you stayed within the same color family. Although your house isn't a Bungalow, it might lend itself to the rich, earthy colors often used for Bungalows. Here's an example of Bungalow Colors selected by another reader. Your new porch will blend in just fine as long as you paint it a color that is similar to the color you use for your siding.

See Color Ideas For This House and add your own suggestions >

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