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Craig asked: I recently purchased this 1889 House. It needs color and to be livened up. The exterior has siding except for the porch and balcony. I would like to paint the porch, balcony, trim and columns, but have no idea what color scheme would look good on a house like this. Most houses on my street are white, light blue and somewhat drab.
Can you offer any ideas?
Hi Craig, thanks for your question.
I thought a bit more about your question and instead of answering the question myself; but I decided to refer it to a friend whom I felt had a even better color sense than I, my friend Kerry, who’s an interior designer;
Congrats on wanting a little more color in your life! So is the whole house vinyl siding or wood? I was a little confused as to what you were referring to, but here are some initial suggestions and rules of thumb when picking colors:
- Being that the home was built in 1889, it might be considered either a landmarked property or on a historical preservation list. If so, there are usually regulations as to how you can fix up your house. These regulations can include the kinds of renovations you can do the exterior, (types of windows, landscaping, trim moldings, stairway balustrades, and yes, even down to what color your house can be!) Your neighbors might have actually been forced to pick a ‘drab’ color.
- So unless your home is landmarked, there is no rule that says you can’t paint your home whatever color you want! It just depends on how expressive you want to be! The key with color is to strategically place it so that it complements the architecture. Also keep in mind that its important to complement the architectural elements that aren’t going away, like the color of the roof and rock foundation.
- Here are some initial color suggestions:
A. Classic (Safe) Color Scheme: You mentioned that there is vinyl siding on the sides.. If that’s the case, I would really only consider painting some the architectural elements a color (window trim, balustrades, and soffit) and keep the whole house white and the columns white in order to make the house look cohesive. I think anything in a dark saturated slate blue or olive green range would look really pretty against the white. You can also consider painting (what I’m assuming is your garage in the back) the accent color as well.
However, if it’s not quite enough color and you want to get a little daring, try the next one:
B. Stepping Outside -Scheme If you keep the sides of the house white, perhaps you could paint the front of the house a nice, warm, butter cream yellow (as long as it’s not vinyl siding!) Keep all of the architectural elements (Columns, soffits, railings, window trims) white to accentuate the architecture. If its not vinyl siding, then I would say go for painting the whole house this yellow color, minus the architectural elements. And if its STILL not enough color for you, attached are some photos for inspiration!
Rule of thumb for selecting colors: When picking the swatch color for the exterior of your home, remember that the lighting of the hardware store is different that daylight, and will make the paint chip look completely different. Grab as many sample chips as you can and select under the proper lighting. And even after selecting, make sure you paint a swatch in a hidden area of your home first!
I hope this was helpful!