In Design/ House Plan

Whitney House. 4 Happy Exterior Color Schemes.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what colors I would use to paint Whitney House, so today I’m sharing my ideas and some different color scheme options, all of which are variations on a theme.

Clap along folks, because we’re about to get HAPPY.


Even though Whitney is inspired by a home built hundreds of years ago, I want to give her a fresh twist. Some citrusy and zippy hues would seriously transform this house into one cheerful gal—quite the opposite of the original Colonial. In the old days, house colors were earthy and muted because the pigments came from plants and minerals. When I searched for images of Saltbox homes for inspiration, the results were pretty solemn looking—just dreary and tired. The interiors of these homes were probably dark and subdued as well. But paint colors have come a long way and I love that we don’t have to restrain ourselves anymore, even on a house that has been through the generations. Check out how this 160-year-old Italianate Victorian in New York shows just how hip and stylish a really old house can be, even with a dark color.


I love the fun unexpected pop of color against the dark background. (That hot pink is like the lipstick I referred to in my earlier post.) So, if you thought I was crazy (well, I am anyways) for choosing a Saltbox for my dream home, maybe now you’re beginning to see the potential here? I mean, I really don’t envision her filled with spindles and Windsor chairs and spinning wheels. I just like the idea of giving new life to an old style of architecture that isn’t so popular to build new anymore.

Before designing Whitney’s interior, I needed to get a sense of what her exterior would look like. I don’t feel like I’m ready to jump all the way to the dark side like the New York house, but I do want a bright front door color because Whitney’s door is front and center. Typically when I’m looking for paint colors for a house exterior I would start with the Historical Collection from Sherwin-Williams or America’s Colors from Benjamin Moore because these are tried and true colors that everyone enjoys. But Whitney is not like everyone.

She’s bold.

She’s modern.

She’s youthful.

And she’s a little playful.

So I came up with these four very happy and fun combinations of paint colors and finishes that I think will make Whitney stand out like no other Saltbox before her.

…And maybe your home with catch some of this Whitney cheer too. *wink*

whitney exterior colors_BOLD

BOLD SCHEME. House Color: Snowfall Door Color: Electric Orange Orange Front Walk & Steps: “Carron” Victorian Geometric Tile in Black and White Light Fixture: “York” by McClean Lighting

This scheme is bright. The house is all white so it reflects sunlight. The door is a warm orange that gives visitors a boost of energy, and the Victorian quarry tile on the front steps is a geometric black and white pattern that is traditional yet dramatic. The light fixture has clean lines in a vibrant copper.

whitney exterior colors_MODERN MODERN SCHEME. House Color: Whitetail Door Color: Cheerful Front Walk & Steps: Bluestone Cobble Light Fixture: Modern Filament Sconce by Restoration Hardware

This scheme’s cool blue stone steps balances the sunny yellow door. Yellow is the lightest color of the spectrum making it very uplifting and invigorating. When placed on a backdrop of creamy white, it is like the warm sun peeking from behind puffy clouds. The lines of the iron light fixture keep this scheme clean and sharp.

whitney exterior colors_YOUTHFUL

YOUTHFUL SCHEME. House Color: Commodore Door Color: Coral Bells Front Walk & Steps: Brick Light Fixture: Peony Exterior Customizable Barn Light by Cocoweb

This scheme’s front door is a shade of pink, a youthful color that is approachable and warm. Apparently if pink is your favorite color, you are kind and generous. It pairs well with a navy blue which is a peaceful, deep color. Deep blue is a great house color choice because it’s got something unique to say without being too loud. Together, these colors are bubbly and bright. (Blue and pink is one of my favorite color combinations.) The brick brings that needed aged element to balance it all, and the black barn light is casual and simple (I’d place it above the door instead of next to it).

whitney exterior colors_PLAYFULPLAYFUL SCHEME. House Color: Jovial Door Color: Synergy Front Walk & Steps: Concrete Light Fixture: Vintage French Gas Lantern Sconce by Restoration Hardware

This scheme reminds me of candy and carnivals. The door is a bright turquoise that reminds you of the beach and the house color is like the sky at sunset—a peachy pink. Again, it’s the blue/pink combo that works so well because it’s that perfect pairing of “cool” and “warm.” A house in pink is definitely a bold choice and will get noticed, but it won’t fail to delight. I like the idea of concrete steps and an elegant-yet-modern light fixture to make this scheme feel a bit more sophisticated.

As I was putting these four schemes together, I started playing around a bit with the colors and came up with two more combinations that I liked so I figured I’d add these to the post as well. These aren’t as animated as the first four, but they’re still unique and say something different than your everyday exterior house palette.

whitney exterior colors_CHICCHIC SCHEME. House Color: Jovial Door Color: Inkwell Front Walk & Steps: Concrete Light Fixture: Vintage French Gas Lantern Sconce by Restoration Hardware

In this very chic arrangement, I used everything from the “Playful” scheme above, but instead of the turquoise door I tried black. An instant change just by painting the door. I love how color can do that.
whitney exterior colors_FRIENLDYFRIENDLY SCHEME. House Color: Kendall Charcoal Door Color: Synergy Front Walk & Steps: Concrete Light Fixture: American Legacy Copper Lantern by Lantern Land

I call this the “Friendly” scheme because of the front door, which is the same color as the “Playful” scheme. Turquoise is a very friendly and happy color. It’s blue with yellow added, so it makes one feel calm but also uplifted. It is also a healing color which is a great way to be welcomed each day. Paired with a deep warm gray, it really stands out. The brick adds a second color and has some more personality than in the “Youthful” scheme. A brass light fixture seemed like a good choice to bring some luster.

At the end of the day, there are endless combinations, but here are my 3 rules to a HAPPY house palette:

1. Always mix warm and cool colors. For example, yellow is warm and white is cool. Pink is warm, and blue is cool. This brings a dynamic energy that feels alive and spirited.

2. Use a saturated color on the front door instead of a neutral color. This immediately draws your eye to the door which makes you feel invited and welcomed.

3. Stay away from dark colors, especially dark neutrals like grays and brown. Yes, dark colors are bold and fun, but they do feel heavy. Use white and creamy neutrals instead.

If you are looking to give your home a fresh look that puts a smile on your face every time you see her, simply follow these rules or use one of these schemes I’ve come up with.

Do you have a favorite?

I think I do.

If I were to paint Whitney, I’d go with the “Bold” scheme. To me, it says “Fearless Elegance.”

Now, to start designing the inside!

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