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Readers Respond: Does a Colonial home have to be white?

Responses: 7


From the article: Colors for a Colonial House
Does a Colonial house have to be white? What colors would you pick for this Colonial home? The most interesting and most helpful color ideas will be posted on this page. Suggest color ideas

Colonial color

Light body with dark shutters...off white and greys

Don't worry about the style

These architectural styles are pretty much an after-the-fact nomenclature. You home is kind of all of the above -- essentially you could call it Federal. As to color, I think it would feel most historic if you chose a very light body color; gray, green, tan, yellow, blue. Just don't get pastel. Next, selecting an off white trim color would set off the details like the cornices. The pedimented front entry would stand out and make the windows look larger and more important. Lastly you could go the typical black punch color for the door and shutters, but a very black blue of green would feel much the same (historic) but give your house much more nuance and interest. The same could be said for your siding color-- a complex gray for instance, one that is a little rose, or a little blue, or gray would make the color look different in different lights and in different seasons and make a common house look very special.

Bright eye-catching colonial

Pale yellow with white trim, columns, shutters, etc. will really add color and brighten it up, catch the eye for more curb appeal, and adhere to historical authenticity.

Builder's Colonial

Don and Steven are right - the best stylistic description of this attractive home is "builder's colonial". Both "Colonial" and "Colonial Revival" refer to specific time periods of home design. If you were to use say, Colonial Williamsburg as a model, you'd find white to be entirely appropriate. But as Steven said, in the Colonial Revival period, more color was common. Might I suggest this article for a good strategy on color selection?: http://rtastudio.blogspot.com/search/label/Paint%20Colors
—Guest RLTarch

Historical precedent

Colonial Revivals are not colonials. They are early 20th century adaptions. They are usually in pastels with white trim. You can also use a dark color with a trim in a slightly darker or lighter. The main goal is to avoid high contrast schemes, as these houses were a rebellion from the high contrast polychrome schemes of the Victorian era
—Guest steven R

Try authentic colonial colors

One of the most amazing Georgian colonial homes I've visited is Hunter House in Newport, RI. It has a "cafe au lait" exterior with no shutters and a green door. Very modern looking but still authentic. You can also get a book called "Williamsburg Reproductions" (1989, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation) on Amazon.com that shows the colors used for interior and exterior painting of colonial homes. Lots of pictures - and they're anything but white!

Pick the Colors You Want

I believe this is a relatively new home? It is quite nice looking with some nice colonial details. I especially like the pedimented front door treatment and the semi circular brick porch. I believe it might better fit the Federal colonial or perhaps Adam colonial style. In any case there is no reason to retain the white color. I am told that white only became available during the latter part of the 19th century when the Victorian style became popular. The older colonial colors often contained an ocher tint. My in-law's 1700s vintage center chimney colonial was a deep yellow with white trim on the windows and black shutters. TOH had a colonial revival house they worked on 6-7 years ago called Kirkside in MA. They did very scientific paint research on that house and came up with the yellow & creamy white; as described; and a dark green (park bench) color for the shutters. Go with what you like however. Good Luck.
—Guest Don

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Does a Colonial home have to be white?

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