Cottage exterior paint colours

Updated February 21, 2017

The fairy tale quality of a cottage seems to invite fantasy exterior paint. Perhaps it is all those colourful flowers in the overcrowded garden or the sense of whimsy that goes with decorating a classic cottage. Subdued or uninhibited, most cottages are as interesting on the outside as they hint at being on the inside.

Small cottage, big attitude

A simple cottage with a thatched roof and a brick stoop breaks out with buttery yellow trim on the porch pillars, two double-hung window frames and the front door frame. The porch is fire engine red as is the door. The roof is honey-coloured thatch that complements the real brick chimney and is echoed in a wisteria-covered wood slat fence next to the chimney. The compact cottage is so symmetrical and so neatly coloured that it looks like a perfect dollhouse on its generous, grassy plot. An asymmetrical and sharply angled cottage on a tiny plot barely wider than the house has bold, grape-purple slates and blinding white trim edging the gables, roof, small windows, wood door frame and simple wooden steps. An unmissable colour choice -- the house might seem diminutive, but there is nothing shy about it.

A sunny, bright seaside cottage

A classic rendered seaside cottage with fat columns on a wide porch sits squat and secure under a shady tree. The two-story house rambles from the front garden with its white picket fence back into the trees but it isn't shadowed. The render inside and out is painted bright sunflower yellow, including the chimney. The half columns, roof edges, door and window trim match the white fence. Touches of cherry red contrast with the sunny paint, and the porch floors, front and back, are natural, worn oak. A red door and lush greenery keep the cottage from looking like a confection and echo the inside colour scheme, which is also yellow with lots of white, splashes of red and green and polished, rock-hard oak floors. This cottage is cheerful but looks solid enough to withstand a coastal storm or two, which it undoubtedly has over the years.

Updated Victorian home

Something about a cottage inspires the frequent application of fresh paint, and that crisp look is a classic. A Victorian cottage from 1895 is far from dull and dumpy. A careful renovation has periwinkle blue paint on all the walls and slate grey tiles on the roof. The many windows and gable edges, as well as the covered porch, are trimmed in white, and two dormers on an upper floor, set back on either side of the house, are painted completely white. The picket fence and swinging gate are white, naturally, and the soft green lawn is overrun near the front of the house by a cottage garden of multi-hued flowering bushes and wildflowers. This is a large house backed by mature trees, and its garage and sheds are all painted to mimic the main cottage. But despite its side wings, back extensions and three floors, the cottage manages to look simple due to the clean but subdued exterior colour scheme.

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About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .