Classic, Colonial Paint Color Ideas

Colonial architecture has distinct features, among them a gabled roof, clapboard siding, shuttered windows, and a centered, classically inspired entry. Such historic style deserves era-appropriate color schemes for the exterior and interior. Check out these classic Colonial palettes from Behr, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore.

Exterior Classic Colonial Paint Colors

Behr paints the exterior of this home in the almost-army-green of Spanish Galleon. The almost-navy-blue of Sled coats the shutters, with White at the trim. The requisite red door is done in Burnt Tile to complement the darker hues.

On the brick Colonial shown, Behr uses a lighter approach. Silver Sky covers the exterior, with Deep Space on the shutters, and Awning Red at the entry.

The American Heritage Collection by Sherwin-Williams uses Craftsman Brown as the main color on a Colonial, the lighter Roycroft Vellum on trim, and Rookwood Brown on the shutters. It trades the red for Naval blue on the front door.

A similar palette from Sherwin-Williams paints the exterior Colonial Revival Stone with Classical White on the trim, Tricorn Black on the shutters, and Rookwood Red at the entry.

Benjamin Moore has an entire collection for owners of Colonial-era homes. Called Williamsburg, it features 144 colors that were created in collaboration with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The hues are based on pigments found on actual buildings from the 18th century.

It comes in both interior and exterior paints, with standouts including Gunsmith Gray shown on trim that serves as a backdrop for Mopboard Black on a door. Greenhow Blue is another option for an entry.

Interior Classic Colonial Paint Colors

Benjamin Moore shows many more examples of interior use on its website. Entryways are shown with Williamsburg Wythe Blue on stairs and wainscoting, Palace Pearl on walls, and Claret in an adjacent hall. Bedrooms see colors as varied as Washington Blue, Tyler Gray, and Green Umber. The company even shows its paints used on furniture, such as the highboy coated in Cornwallis Red.

In its interior Colonial color offerings, Sherwin-Williams offers Aristocratic Peach, Rachel Pink, Rosedust, Caen Stone, Colonial Yellow, Acanthus, Dutch Tile Blue, and Needlepoint Navy. The collection captures the warmth and charm of the era nicely.

Behr's standout Colonial Brick hue works in a variety of palettes. For a decidedly feminine approach, use it as the main color in a room with Silverberry, Rose Potpourri, and Bleached Shell. For a more gender-neutral scheme, have it as an accent to Hallowed Hush, Mythic Forest, and Silver Sky.

Tips for Creating a Classic, Colonial Color Scheme

Just as paint colors must complement each other, they also should have a close enough relationship as to not create too much visual separation, especially on exteriors. Choose colors that contrast but do not make their surfaces seem from a different home altogether.

  • Use light colors on areas you want to enhance the texture of, and darker colors in areas you wish to downplay.
  • Brighter, bolder colors work well as architectural accents on the exterior of a home, adding pops of color but not overwhelming the block.
  • On both the interior and exterior, use paint swatches to narrow your options and make a final decision. That way, you can live with a color scheme for a few days, looking at it in all levels of light, before you make the commitment that comes with the application of paint in an entire room or exterior.

If you have difficulty making up your mind, or if there are decision-makers who don’t agree, consider asking the advice of your professional painter earlier in the process. He or she has painted homes in the Colonial architectural style before and may have advice that will sway you one way or the other.

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