New England House Colours

Written by danielle hill
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New England House Colours
This lighthouse bespeaks New England style, balancing warm hues with simple white. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The traditional home architecture of New England encompasses a wide range of styles, each with their own colour palette. Walking through an old-fashioned New England town, you're likely to see a wide range of colours, including muted whites, creams and greys as well as a specific palette of cheerful tones, brightening the dull colours of the area's cold winters. When choosing a colour for your New England home, take into consideration the house's specific architectural style. Also consult with your local zoning ordinances; in some historic communities, house colour may be regulated.


For a house colour that's both eye-catching and soothing, opt for a green. You can use contrasting colours for the trim to keep the house from just blending in with surrounding foliage. In New England, a green house will provide some pleasant respite during the winter months when the bare trees leave little green colour. In a catalogue of historically-accurate paint colours provided by Historic New England, greens figure largely. Among the colours featured in the historical palette, many had pale grass tones while others had darker Kelly greens and brown or grey tones. During the colonial period, when pigments were made from natural materials, green paints were far more affordable than more exotic colours, such as blues or brilliant reds. For a subtler look, restrict dark green to trim or accents, such as shutters, painting the rest in a neutral tone.


While blue was not the most common colour among colonial homes, it has long been a fashionable hue among the wealthier households. Like green, blue will give your home a relatively relaxing colour, easy on the eyes. You can select a shade of blue to match your personal preference with shades ranging from the arresting royal blues to a subtle robin's egg or sky blue for a lighter touch. Either way, your home will stand out during the bleak winter months and nicely contrast with landscaping in the summer.


One of the most common colours for a New England home is white. Whether you prefer a soft off-white shade with hints of straw or brown or a crisp and stately cold white, the colour stands out as a classic complement to New England architecture. To keep your home from looking dull or washed out, paint trim moulding, porch banisters, doors or window shutters in contrasting colours. Black shutters stand out against white walls, and a red door provides a classic, inviting entrance to a New England home. Using colour sparingly tends to align with historic paint schemes as coloured paints were more costly than simple whites during colonial times, the historical touchstone for most New England styles.

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