House Color Combinations - Historic and Traditional

Color Ideas to Inspire Your Home's Exteriors

Walk into any big box home and garden store and the paint department is often front and center. Why? Well, the display is doggone colorful! The decision to paint your home's exterior is one of time and money. You want to get it right. Use Free Tools to Help You Choose House Paint Colors, but also these photo galleries will help you visualize color combinations on a variety of house styles.

Green apartment building with painted figure with voice balloon that says
Green apartment building with painted figure with voice balloon that says "Cool!". Green apartment building with painted figure with voice balloon that says "Cool!"

Green is a "cool" color. It's the traditional symbol of energy efficiency and green building design, but the color can also be impressively chic. From the vibrant yellow green of a spring leaf to subtle, earthy shades of blue-green, this color offers a wide palette of possibilities. Your accent colors will depend on  which green you want to be. Many choices. More »

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Deep Blue-colored Gingerbread-Tudor-style house with deep red trim
Deep Blue-colored Gingerbread-Tudor-style house with deep red trim. Photo by Kathryn Donohew Photography/Moment Mobile Collection/Getty Images
A blue house doesn't have to be vinyl sided. Blue house exteriors can appear playful or dignified, depending on the color choices. See how the mood shifts when you trim the blue in yellow, white, or red. More »
Photo ©abdallahh on flickr.com, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Yellow House overlooking lake at Parc national du Canada Forillon, Gaspé, Quebec. Photo ©abdallahh on flickr.com, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Do you want a light-colored house, but you're tired of white with black shutters? Golden hues will give nearly any house an aura of warmth. Yellows are also highly adaptable, harmonizing well with brick, stone and natural woods, and will accept a variety of contrasting colors for those shutters. More »
Rose Colored Bungalow
Rose Colored Bungalow. Photo ©Jackie Craven

A house painted pink can seem feminine and playful, but darken the color and the pink turns dramatic. And just look what Frank Gehry did to his pink bungalow—chain link fencing and corrugated metal. Yes... he really did that... but you don't have to. More »

Black and White Colonial Revival Home
This Colonial Revival Home is painted no-nonsense black and white. Photo © Jackie Craven

A white house with black shutters is a traditional sight throughout the United States. But what about a dark house with white shutters? With a bright red door....

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Colors from Le Corbusier's Polychromie Architecturale color chart
Colors from Le Corbusier's Polychromie Architecturale color chart. Fan Deck of Le Corbusier Paint Palette courtesy kt.COLOR

 Architecture is not just about engineering. Many of the most famous architects have an affinity for color and color combinations. Frank Lloyd Wright had his Cherokee Red. Architect Steven Holl uses water colors to flesh out his ideas. Michael Graves had his playful Postmodernist set of colors. And Swiss architect Le Corbusier studied color, formilizing his concepts in Polychromie Architecturale and for the Salubra wallpaper company. What colors are in your palette? More »

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About Art Deco Color Combinations

Historic 1931 silkscreen illustration of patrons sitting at tables in an Art Deco colored style jazz club
Historic 1931 silkscreen illustration of patrons sitting at tables in an Art Deco colored style jazz club. Photo by GraphicaArtis/Archive Photos Collection/Getty Images

Art Deco, the movement that arose from the 1925 Decorative Art exposition in Paris, was short-lived but influential. The Jazz Age (and King Tut) ushered in new architectural ideas and a palette of pastels never before seen on buildings in the US. Paint companies still provide palettes of art deco-inspired colors, like the colors shown in this 1931 illustration. These color combinations are found in art deco neighborhoods, most famously in Miami Beach. Single-family homes from this era (1925-1940) are most often, however, maintained in simple shades of white—or Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

Craftsman colors from Behr® paint - Faded Basil, Grassy Savannah, Sleek White, and Cherry Cola
Craftsman colors from Behr® paint - Faded Basil, Grassy Savannah, Sleek White, and Cherry Cola. Promitional photo courtesy Behr Process Corporation

Another popular marketing gimmick by paint manufacturers is the creation of "Craftsman" color combinations. The American Craftsman movement led by Gustav Stickley was an outgrowth of the British Arts & Crafts movement. These like-minded groups did not have an official color palette, yet commercial retailers like Sears, Roebuck & Company used the name "Craftsman" to sell products—finishes and construction materials appearing to be hand-crafted and natural. Craftsman or Arts & Crafts colors, such as the palette provided by California Paints, are generally earth-tone color combinations, but they have nothing to do with the Craftsman movement.

[PHOTO CREDIT]

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