The 5 Best Exterior Paint Colors for a Colonial House

Kristin Luna
Written by Kristin Luna
Updated December 20, 2021
Suburban single family house
Photo: qingwa / Adobe Stock

Bring the color to your Colonial

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Born out of the days when America comprised 13 colonies, the classic Colonial-style home can still be found in every state across the country. An evolution from the log cabin, the Colonial house is characterized by simplicity, often built out of brick or wood with two or three stories stacked in neat symmetry. Most Colonial houses have the kitchen and living room on the first floor with the bedrooms on the upper levels, with dormer windows and a chimney punctuating the roofline. 

Since the Colonial period spanned the better part of two centuries (from the 1600s through the late 1800s), the era’s color palette is quite diverse. Whether you want to follow the no-nonsense architectural style or modernize your older home as you renovate, you’ll find the best exterior paint colors for a Colonial house here.

1. White

A white colonial house
Photo: Tom Oliveira / Adobe Stock

There’s nothing as timeless as a white exterior paint job, and the Colonial period made use of this neutral paint color liberally. A seamless tie to the simplicity of the era, a white facade with white trim was a very common combination used on Colonial houses. 

One downside of painting the exterior of your house white is that dirt and mold will show more easily than with a darker color, meaning you’ll need to pressure-wash your home more frequently, though the ease with which you can touch up dings and scratches in the future often outweigh the extra work of maintaining that clean white exterior. Stick with a semi-gloss or high-gloss sheen, and simply wash your home regularly to keep up with the elements.

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2. Blue

One of three colors gracing the American flag, blue has strong ties to both naval and American history and is prevalent in Colonial-era architecture. Whether used to paint shutters and trim or coated over the entire wooden facade, navy and other shades of medium-to-dark-blue were not only popular during the Colonial period, but carried over into the architectural styles for centuries to come.

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3. Peach

Much like the architectural era that succeeded it—the Queen Anne period of the 1860s through early 1900s—Colonial homes often were painted vibrant shades of peach or light pink. Whimsical and fun, these colors are quintessential representations of a time when high art and fashion ruled the world.  

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4. Dusty Rose

A dusty rose colonial house
Photo: ArenaCreative / Adobe Stock

In the same vein as the peach palette, light pinks and dusty roses often were utilized by families that wanted to show their sophistication and class. These ageless shades speak to romance, nature, and seduction, as well as reflect the aristocracy.

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5. Black

If you want to modernize the look of your Colonial house while also choosing a hue that will never go out of style, you can’t go wrong with a bold pop of black. A popular exterior paint color for shutters and doors, black is also being used more frequently to cover the entire house. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain or humidity, a bonus of using black is that it hides mold well and will require far less frequent cleaning than a white home would.

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For more ideas for exterior paint colors primed for Colonial homes, consult a local house painter or paint store near you, many of which offer historical palettes sorted by architectural era.

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