Historic Color Palettes

Choose colors that blend with and complement the overall color schemes on the street. If the color scheme is predominantly white, other colors may be used. Do not use bright and obtrusive colors. The choice of colors can differ according to architectural style.


  • White or cream colors with black, red, green, or blue doors and shutters were popular in the early nineteenth century.

Greek Revival

  • Usually white with bright green trim or yellow walls with white trim and green shutters and doors.


  • Use light gray, cream, or fawn with dark green shutters on Italianate houses.

Victorian Houses

  • Late-Victorian-era houses include Second Empire, Queen Anne, and the less ornate vernacular Victorian. Nationwide, deep, rich colors such as greens, rusts, reds, and browns were used on the exterior trim and walls of late-Victorian-era houses. In Suffolk many of these houses were painted with fewer colors and white was often the main color used on this type of dwelling. The important objective is to respect the many textures of these highly ornate structures. Shingles can be treated with a different color from the siding on the same building.

Colonial Revival

  • Softer colors should be used on these buildings and the trim is usually painted white or ivory since the style is a return to classical motifs.

American Foursquare, Hipped, & Frame Vernacular

  • These buildings are generally very simple designs with plain detailing. One color should be used for the trim and a contrasting color for the wall.


  • Natural earth tones and stains of tans, greens, and grays are most appropriate for this style. Use color to emphasize the many textures and surfaces of these buildings.