Paint Your Home a Shade of Green

Sage, Moss, Mint, and Tropical Greens

Green apartment building with painted figure with voice balloon that says "Cool!"
Green Exterior Siding Is Way Cool. Manfred Rutz/Getty Images

Green offers a wide palette of hues, ranging from the vibrant yellow-green of a spring leaf to subtle gray-green, olive, and moss colors. All over the world, the color green makes a statement about where people live.

Earthy greens blend well with natural woodsy settings and are often used on bungalows and rustic shingle style houses. Dark forest or pine green is a traditional color for shutters and trim on many Colonial and Victorian-era houses. For a modern or Art Deco house, bright lime green can add pizazz. Add a touch of blue, and the color will turn a vivid turquoise. Choosing exterior paint colors is difficult, but the process can be fun when considering the global choices of green.

Tropical Green

Tropical electric Kool-Aid green house, smooth stucco, palm trees
House in Central America. Richard Cummins/Getty Images

The Florida coast is filled with homes like this — Delray Beach and Miami Beach might expect some of its stucco to be as green as this home in Nicaragua. Wherever you find palm trees and flowering bushes, a green house may be near.

Can a house color be too bright? What works in a beach community might rile neighbors in your own neighborhood. Eye-popping electric green can make a psychedelic statement if it's in a San Francisco neighborhood. In a southern beach community, this green may look like a cooling lime sherbet.

Victorian-Era America

two story, steep-roofed Victorian House with gables and bargeboard trim
Victorian House on East High Street in Ballston Spa, NY. Jackie Craven

American homes in the late 1800s often had a Gothic look, with steep gables, interesting roofs, and ornately crafted wooden trim. They also used a tri-color scheme — a green, cream, and deep red was very popular. Those three color combinations still are well-liked by homeowners.

Color psychology experts may tell you that a green house symbolizes nature, and this house on a wooded lot fits right into that theory. They also say that green is a symbol of fertility, which is also about nature.

Gray Green Bungalow

small bungalow, cross gable over front porch, additional front gable in front of that
Historic Bungalow of 1920s Nebraska. HistoricOmaha.net via flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) cropped

This small home in Omaha, Nebraska is typical of architecture built for the working middle class during the first quarter of the 20th century. Often called bungalows, these houses can be found throughout the United States. Shades of earthy green were commonly used on exterior siding that may be wood, stucco, or shingles. Sometimes white trim around the windows would blend in with the standard aluminum storm windows. Using a darker shade of green, however, works just fine for border and trim accents. These homes were built to be 900 to 1500 square feet of living space, although additions are commonly seen today. Investigating the age of your home can often provide a clue to historic colors.

 

Red and Green House

Red-colored cottage with very green trim and front door - Red and green give this cottage a festive atmosphere
Emerson Library Building, the Old Library in Jackson, New Hampshire. Jackie Craven

Red and green give this New England cottage a festive atmosphere.

As you think about color combinations for your home, don't rule out red and green. Red and green are unexpected color combinations, but they are effective on this cottage in a tourist area of New Hampshire. The shades used here are a very common combinations used in the 20th century, whether the building be red with green trim or green with red.

This inviting structure was the town library from 1901 to 2010 in Jackson, New Hampshire.

Green and Masonry

Brick house with grey roof, white dormers, and green front door and shutters
Green and Red Brick. Kathleen Finlay, Getty Images

Architectural shingles can create interesting patterns that mimic old slate roofs. A slate roof may inspire trim colors on a Tudor Cottage, but the newer asphalt shingles also will influence the colors you choose for exteriors and trim. Oftentimes red brick homes will have green accents and highlights. Whether the masonry be grey-colored stone or brick, shades of green will soften each.

What color should you paint your house? Even if your roof is not slate, the shingles may suggest color combinations for your trim and accents. Remember that it's just paint and can be changed — if you paint the dormers white and it looks unbalanced, try a color such as green. Try reversing what you've painted white and green, or use different shades of green and no white. The choices are immense.

Also, don't forget to look at your house at different times of the day. You can't have color without light, and the bright sun will surely change your home's appearance throughout the day. You might want to try a color that looks vibrant throughout the day.

Gray Green with Contrasting Gable

Green-colored siding with grey-shake gable and white trim
Green Siding with a Grey Shingled Gable. J. Castro/Getty Images (cropped)

An earthy green complements the wooden siding on this suburban home.

The shade of green may be intense or muted. Either way, choose colors that harmonize nicely with natural woodwork or siding. Would this color combination work for your home?

At first look, one might assume great thought was behind the color choices of this house. How much work really went into picking this green to complement the natural wood shingle gable? But look at the house down the street — a deep rose with contrasting gable. Same house, but with different siding.

Perhaps the vinyl siding salesman had a successful day in that neighborhood.

House with Green Gables

What Colors Go With Brick? A Green Gable contrasts with the red brick porches of this two-family home.
Green Gable. J.Castro/Getty Images (cropped)

Green Gables Farm on Prince Edward Island is one of the most popular literary destinations in Canada. The house shown here is not the home of Anne of Green Gables, but a green gable was typical for 19th century architecture.

Dark green is a traditional color for architectural details on a red brick house. Red and green are complementary colors, opposite on the color wheel. Like the person with red hair, the person with a red brick house exterior has to be careful with accessories. The color choices for house trim are often shades of green, but choose wisely. The trim color (or colors) should be a bridge between the roof and brick colors.

Mossy Shades of Green

low angle close up of house with horizontal wide boards a lighter shade of vertical boards
Painted Wooden Houses in Porvoo, Finland. Design Pics Inc/Getty Images

Porvoo, one of the oldest cities in Finland, is known for its red mercantile houses along the river. Yet, today this tourist town about 30 miles east of Helsinki boasts old homes of all colors.

The exterior color you choose for your own home can make it a tourist attraction or a subtle complement to your neighbor's colors. The wise homeowner examines not only the style of a home, but also the styles in a neighborhood.

Color Follows Function

modern stucco home of mossy green with long reddish shuttered windows with sloped roofed two-car garage of a lighter color but door of same reddish color
Color Follows Function. pamspix/Getty Images (cropped)

More than trim can be a contrasting color on a home.

The familiar round tower of a Queen Anne style home was often constructed of a different material or sided with a Victorian color that contrasted with the main home.Why not do the same for a more modern home?

In the house shown here, color follows function. Similar to the 19th century architecture phrase form follows function, this house has different colored siding for the different functions of the property — the house is a tint of green and the garage is a tint of yellow cream. The unifying color is the deep reddish browh accents on both units  — the garage door and the window shutters.

Painting experts tell us that the color green is made by mixing yellow and blue, so yellow is the perfect harmony to complement this green home.

White, the Safe Trim Color with Green

Two-story green house with white porch and trim, symmetrical design with 5 windows on top floor and two windows on each side of center door on first floor
Neo-House, Traditional Colors. J.Castro/Getty Images (cropped)

Maybe white trim is just too safe?

If it's the all purpose contrasting trim color, what makes your house unique? Compare this home with its red equivalent — on the same street.

Green Stucco Elegance

Pale green stucco, white trim, two story, overhanging eaves, front entry with arched windows and doors
Banker's Row House in Delray Beach, Florida. Jackie Craven

When choosing house colors, sometimes the complementing colors are from the house next door—  at times on purpose and every so often by a happy coincidence.

This elegant, wood-framed, pale green stucco-sided house at 238 First Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida was built around 1924. Its neighbor is a salmon-colored estate on Bankers Row. The delicate, subtle shades found on one side of First Avenue are not representative of the entire street, but they do define the muted tastefulness of what is called historic Bankers Row.

Salem Green

Large green colonial 2 1/2 story box home in New England, with flat roof, one-story entry portico, and shutters on the front b ut not the side
Home in Salem, Massachusetts. Jackie Craven

Salem is a wonderful old town filled with the colors of New England.

The Crowninshield-Devereaux House at 74 Washington Square in Salem, Massachusetts used to have a more pronounced hipped roof with a centered balustrade. The McAlester's Field Guide may have called this three-story house, somewhat typical for Salem, an Adam style colonial. Built circa 1803, the house today has been split into condominia. The exterior, however, is intact and one of the most beautiful shades of sage green — a superb hue that goes well with white and black trim.

Sources

  • McAlester, Virginia and Lee. Field Guide to American Houses. New York. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1984, pp. 153-164
  • HABS MA-582, Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ma0685/ [accessed March 21, 2016]
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Craven, Jackie. "Paint Your Home a Shade of Green." ThoughtCo, Dec. 10, 2017, thoughtco.com/paint-your-home-shade-of-green-4065254. Craven, Jackie. (2017, December 10). Paint Your Home a Shade of Green. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/paint-your-home-shade-of-green-4065254 Craven, Jackie. "Paint Your Home a Shade of Green." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/paint-your-home-shade-of-green-4065254 (accessed February 24, 2018).