When to Paint Your House Brown

Using its affiliation with the organic world, it’s no surprise that the colour brown became the de facto choice for Prairie and Craftsman homes. Brown, from dark to light, fit these fashions in a way other colors couldn’t. Maybe this is because these fashions are celebrations of the organic and natural world that rely less on a cool and cerebral system aesthetic and much more on emotion and craft.

I really do, however, find homes painted brown with no relief or variation to be a little overbearing. Brown homes that incorporate other colours in the details would be definitely the most fascinating and rich, because you’ll see here.

Thomas Lawton Architect

A home nestled in the woods is an perfect candidate to be painted brown. Having a stone bottom and brown body, this home appears to be another structure set in among the trees and ground, particularly because its proportions stress the perpendicular.

Thomas Lawton Architect

Adding an accent colour, such as forest green, to a number of the details, like the window frames, further reinforces the home’s connections to the website while at the same time dividing what could be an overwhelming amount of one colour.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

The inclusion of an accent colour definitely enlivens and enriches the exterior that’s painted brown. While a brown body colour will accommodate nearly any accent colour, maintaining a similar hue for every will soften the overall bulk of the home.


A more polished and urbane scheme is a better fit for a suburban setting. In this case, a brownish body colour paired with white trim gives the exterior more presence and stature. This scheme works particularly well for a big structure like this one, because the white trim and accents break down what could be an overpowering bulk.

Christopher A Rose AIA, ASID

While dark brown paired with bright white trim is a traditional colour scheme, a wonderful variation is to combine moderate brown with cream trim. This may yield a softer and quieter exterior whilst retaining the architecture’s classical formality.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

Brown isn’t always dim, and it can be combined with varying tonalities to pronounce every element of the exterior. A very light brown body combined with moderate brown to the eaves and dark brown to the door and window frames enables each element of the Craftsman style home to be distinct.

Gardner Architects LLC

Dark brown, like black, will fade into the shadows. This is an opportunity to dematerialize a specific facet of this structure. Painting the very top level dark brown, as was done here, keeps the attention on the lower, brighter parts of the structure and allows the roof to float over it all.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

Brown isn’t only for vertical and horizontal sidings. It adds itself to some stucco exterior, particularly in a more traditionally designed home. I discover that, because of the lack of detail and the high quality quality of stucco, it’s best that the colour be lighter. Dark brown would simply be oppressive unless there’s a plethora of other details.

mark gerwing

While the focus here has been on traditionally made homes, brown can work for much more contemporary aesthetics, given the right conditions. It’s perfect for a home like this one, that is suspended in place and employs natural materials. As such, it follows many of the tenets of their Prairie and Craftsman styles even if its structure and form tend to be more International fashion.

More thoughts for exterior paint colours

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