The Best Exterior Colors to Paint Your Historic Home

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated January 14, 2022
A white mansion in a large estate
Photo: Owaki - Kulla / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Keep the historic feel of your home while giving it a fresh look

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Repainting your historic home ups its beauty, curb appeal, and resale value. Most historic paint colors are earth-toned, as paints were once developed from raw materials and pigments such as charcoal, clay, plants, and wood. That's why some of the most popular historic paint colors include greens, whites, grays, blues, and browns.

You can find historic-appropriate colors with many reputable paint companies that offer historic color collections. They may even replicate the colors of the period in which your home was built.

Here are the best exterior paint colors for historic homes across regions and neighborhoods. Before embarking on your project, check to see if your historic association has any exterior paint guidelines.

1. Classic White

A white historic house covered in snow
Photo: Kryssia Campos / Moment / Getty Images

If you’re looking for a timeless paint color, look no further than white. With slight but ever-important variations (such as yellow and green undertones), white paint offers beauty and light. You can opt for a distinct trim accent color for contrast or choose a similar tone for a more subtle look. During the Colonial period, white exterior paint became incredibly popular and remains a nod to the simplicity of earlier times.

While white paint can show more dirt or mold over time, you can pressure wash it gently to remove discoloration. You can repair white exteriors easily from dings and scratches. 

Stunning exterior white paint colors for historic homes: 

2. Mossy Green

Detail of a green painted historic house
Photo: TriggerPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Take inspiration from Greek revival and neoclassical homes constructed after the Civil War by choosing a green color scheme. Rich with nature-inspired hues, green brings peacefulness to any historic home. 

Green exterior paint hides dirt and debris while offering a distinct shade that isn't too overpowering. Give your home a breath of fresh air by opting for a green color that encompasses a blue accent or brown undertones with hints of yellow.

Stunning exterior green paint colors for historic homes:

3. Stone Gray

A gray historic brownstone townhouse
Photo: Bruce Yuanyue Bi / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Natural colors from stained wood and stone are the mainstays in home design. Gray’s classic appeal permeates time and continually finds its way in and outside homes, especially as an exterior choice for historic homes.

To bring the past alive, aim for a somewhat darker gray, so your home looks stately instead of washed out. Opt for fade-resistant paint so the richer tones stay vibrant over time. 

Stunning exterior gray paint colors for historic homes: 

4. Slate Blue

An array of historic houses painted in various colors
Photo: Paul Hamilton / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Blue carries a strong tie to American history and has adorned homes for centuries. Historic blues tend to include navy tones and offer a majestic, regal feel. Deep blues bring a bit of drama to your exterior while remaining elegant. Pair the blue body of your home with light-colored trim for a real eye-popping effect.

Be prepared to touch up a richer hue more often, but the effort is more than worth it.

Stunning exterior blue paint colors for historic homes: 

5. Earthy Brown

The exterior of a brown historic house during winter time
Photo: Daniel A. Leifheit / Moment / Getty Images

Rich with tawny, stone-like colors, browns have been popular exterior colors since the early 1800s. Browns offer a warm, coming-home feeling that can range from light beige to more clay-like tones. 

With the right trim color, accents, and landscaping, brown offers curb appeal like no other. The color ages well and doesn’t show much dirt and wear. 

Stunning exterior brown paint colors for historic homes: 

6. Cheerful Rose

A historic pink house in Charleston, SC
Photo: photo by Pam Susemiehl / Moment / Getty Images

Soft pinks and dusty roses show sophistication, but also offer an uplifting vibe not seen with the other historic colors on this list. Full of romance and nature, rosy colors bring vibrancy when placed against a blue sky and crisp landscaping.

Bring elegance right to your front door with a charming historical rose shade. Include some brown and peach hints in your color to ensure your home doesn't look too pink.

Stunning exterior rose paint colors for historic homes: 

Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint for Your Historic Home

Painting a home’s exterior is an undertaking and investment, so you want to ensure your newest coat lasts for as many years as possible. Beyond your color scheme, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Check with your historical association on any exterior paint guidelines.

  • Consider hiring a paint expert or historic home contractor to do a paint analysis and determine the original color of your home.

  • Choose a high-quality paint to increase its lifespan and reduce your maintenance costs.

  • Prepare the surface before painting.

  • Add an exterior sealant.

  • Talk with at least three local exterior painting pros about your project before settling on a contractor and paint color.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.