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The Colorful House Trend: Crazy or Cute?
Contrary to popular belief, not all homes are beige, brick red or grey!
Let’s talk about the colorful house trend, shall we?
But first… a story.
Growing up, there was a bright lilac house with a tiny widow’s walk in my neighborhood. To my young eyes, it was the epitome of chic. The rest of the neighbors didn’t think so, though — it stood out like a sore thumb amidst the tasteful craftsman bungalows, neutral ranch houses, and wannabe haciendas. This was before the days of strict HOAs, though, so there was very little they could do about it besides sigh, and say, “Yes, I live right down the street from the purple house. No, I don’t know why it’s purple.”
It was kinda like this, but even cuter.
In the end, the elderly lady who lived there moved on, and the house was quickly repainted to a safer oyster grey with dusty blue trim. The neighborhood breathed a collective sigh of relief; their property values were safe from the scourge of color once again.
I still think of that house, though, and the old lady who lived there. She must have had a lot of chutzpah to go with her dream color… especially when the whole rest of the neighborhood was kind of drab.
Nowadays, it seems like there are more colorful houses popping up than ever. Perhaps it’s because people are more likely to go their own way these days, or maybe it’s due to the extreme popularity of these brightly colored dwellings on sites like Houzz, Instagram, and Pinterest.
The hashtag #colorfulhouses has over 72,000 uses so far!
With the growing popularity of candy colored homes, we thought we’d dig in and address this trend. We can dig into the big myths and controversy and determine once and for all… is this trend cute? Or is it crazy?
Here we go.
Colorful houses are weird and not at all tasteful.
Au contraire, mon frere! In many parts of the USA and other countries, colorful houses are the norm.
What would beach towns look like without rows of citrusy townhomes? How bland would Santorini be without those famous bright blue roofs? And how about sunny Mexico, where color is practically hardwired into the culture?
Muy bonita, no?
What’s more is you don’t have to live in a colorific town to have a colorful house. You just have to consider a few things before you commit to color.
This pink house is classic and beautiful. Change my mind.
Red is only for farmhouses.
While red certainly is a bright, striking color, it’s also a classic when it comes to exteriors. Frank Lloyd Wright himself was a huge fan of red paint.
When most people think of a red house, they immediately picture a pastoral scene — if you’ve got a red house, you’re probably a turnip farmer or something, right? Wrong. Red looks just as good on a variety of architectural styles. If you’re secretly wishing for a crimson Craftsman, we say go ahead.
Green is only good in small doses.
As with most things, it depends. Tennis ball green is best reserved for tiny touches here and there, and avocado green might never recover from the reputation it got in the seventies, but hunter, kelly, and apple green? They’re guh-guh-guh-gorgeous!
Green symbolizes life, nature, and good luck. How can you go wrong with that?
Tile is an even bigger commitment than paint. Go big or go home, I guess.
Yellow’s ok though, right?
When people think “crazy colorful house”, they usually don’t include yellow. With some architectural styles, yellow is almost considered a neutral! That doesn’t mean you should go slappin’ on the saffron just yet, though. Unfortunately, if you’re planning on selling soon, you might want to back away from yellow altogether. According to a survey done by Zillow, houses painted this sunny hue reduced sales prices by $3,408!
If you want to stay in your home for a long time, have at it. Yellow is cheery, energetic, and attention-grabbing.
You’ll have no problems with the pizza guy finding this place!
Pink Houses? Isn’t that only a John Cougar Mellencamp song?
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what that song is about. What I DO know is that pink houses are charming, whimsical, and a little bit retro.
Pink looks as good in Palm Springs as it does in the South, so if you’re dreaming of a pink home and you don’t might the slight Barbie vibe that comes with all things pink, channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and say it with me: I believe in pink!
This house gives preppy vibes, but in, like, a good way.
Purple is fussy and old-ladyish
First of all, old ladies are awesome and anyone who disagrees is sentenced to watching 20 episodes of The Golden Girls.
Second, not all purple looks fussy. This regal hue can look modern and stately, and it’s almost always certain to stand out! This color is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re into it, we say make like Prince and go for the purple.
No way would Bea Arthur live here.
There’s only one way to do blue.
Remember the late 80s when farmhouse-chic was a thing? I don’t mean the Chip-and-Joanna moment we’ve got going on now; I’m referring to the ducks and chickens on everything era. Back then, dusty blue was all the rage, and when you think of a blue house, that’s probably what you imagine.
Dust off your imagination, friend. There are so many ways to do blue now it’s not even funny. From teal and turquoise to ultramarine and navy, when it comes to blue, the sky’s the limit. (Get it? OK, OK, I’ll stop.)
You DON’T have to live at the beach to like blue.
Black houses look evil.
Ok, so black does have a reputation as a very spooky color, but that doesn’t extend to houses! Black houses look neat and chic. We say black stands out in a GOOD way.
Oh, and while we’re debating black? Just remember, the Addams family’s house was creepy and spooky and the exterior paint was all NEUTRALS. So take that, beige.
It’s so cozy! No self-respecting witch would live here.
There’s no wrong way to use color.
How can I put this tactfully? There are some houses out there that DO make you wonder, “Just how much does this person hate their neighbors?”
Look, color is great, but if you want to be this bold, you’ve also got to be judicious. House paint usually lasts eight years or more, so ask yourself, “Do I really want to see this every day for the next decade? Also, will this paint scheme inspire hate mail?” before you choose a color.
I’m not trying to say this is too much, but… this is too much.
This is just a new fangled trend that will pass, right?
Yes and no.
While it’s certainly hot-hot-hot to have an Instagram-worthy exterior these days, colorful houses have been around for ages!
While some folks will grow tired of their picturesque houses, others will keep their vivid homes for ages… or even pass them down to their kids.
Colorful homes are here to stay.
Painted Lady-style Victorians date back to the mid 1800s.
The Final Verdict
With all of this analysis, we think it’s safe to say the colorful house trend is cute… even if it is a little bit risky.
If you’re jonesin’ to add some color to your home’s exterior, you might want to check with your city and HOA first. Many places have restrictions on what colors you can and can’t use.
Also, if you get the go-ahead to use a bold color, you might want to consult with a design pro or at least try a few big swatches in a few different locations. Your whole house is TOO big of a canvas to mess this up!