Exterior Paint Ideas For Older Homes

Give your home a modern makeover or traditional restoration with exterior paint ideas from the experts

Exterior Paint Ideas

Californian bungalows are characterised by gabled roofs with overhanging eaves and a large verandah with prominent columns supporting the roof. Image: Getty Images 

Australia’s suburbs are filled with a mix of architectural styles dating back to the 19th century. Renovating a period home can be tricky, particularly where there are heritage constraints.

The quickest and easiest way to restore or update a classic older home is by painting the exterior. We asked the experts about the best modern and traditional colour schemes for three styles of Aussie period homes.

Californian Bungalow 

Built from affordable materials and designed for a warm, dry climate, this style of house became popular in the early 20th century and represented an increased influence of American culture on Australian society. 

The cosy design is characterised by gabled roofs with overhanging eaves and a large verandah with prominent columns supporting the roof. Front rooms sometimes feature bay windows with stained glass panels.

The architectural style overlapped with traditional Edwardian design and reached its peak of popularity during the 1920s. Thousands of houses were built in inner-city areas as well as on larger blocks in newer suburbs. 

As the Great Depression took hold and construction slowed, the style fell out of favour as quickly as it began.   

Traditional colour scheme for Californian bungalows 

'Neutrals and brown tones are the Edwardian colour scheme for timber and brick exteriors,’ says Taubmans ambassador and TV host Shaynna Blaze.

‘Use tessellated pathways as a guide. These colours will enhance the pathway detail to enrich the traditional look of the home.’
 

diagram of traditional home, handyman magazine,
Neutrals and brown tones are the Edwardian colour scheme for timber and brick exteriors

Modern colour scheme for Californian bungalows 

Shaynna says, ‘Create a modern look by painting the roof in grey and contrast this with white on the trim to make it fresh. The deep charcoal roof is in line with the modern grey palette of now.

‘The accent of a deep teal-like colour on the gable is a modern version of the period green.’

modern colour scheme for a californian style home, handyman magazine ,

Terrace 

One of the oldest styles of housing in Australia, Victorian terraces emerged in the mid 19th century during the economic boom of the Gold Rush.

They were constructed mainly from locally manufactured brick rather than sandstone and were built for the emerging middle class.

As a result, they are characterised by ornate external embellishments such as iron lacework, rendered walls, and decorative brickwork. Gates and fences commonly include cast iron spears, and stone or concrete piers.

Victorian terraces are normally single, double or triple storey buildings and usually built in rows of several dwellings. They are set close to the street and commonly feature timber verandahs and small gardens.

While many examples were demolished during the early 20th century as they were considered slums, existing terraces are now largely heritage listed and highly sought after in gentrified suburbs.

 

terrace house, handyman magazine,
Victorian terraces emerged in Australia in the mid 19th century during the economic boom of the Gold Rush. Image: Alamy 

Traditional colour scheme for terrace houses 

‘For a traditional style, I would look at stone for the rendered walls, white for the wrought iron and dark blue for the timber doors,’ says Andrea Lucena-Orr, Colour Planning Manager at Dulux.

‘Selecting colours from the traditional palette ensures you are keeping the home in the heritage period. Many councils have a caveat on heritage listed homes to ensure these older homes remain authentic.’
 

terrace house with traditional colour scheme, handyman magazine,
For a traditional style look at stone for the rendered walls, white for wrought iron and dark blue for the timber doors

 

Modern colour scheme for terrace houses 

‘For a modern style, I would select grey for the walls, white for the wrought iron and black for the doors,’ says Andrea.

‘Choosing a darker palette with a contrast automatically gives it a more up-to-date feeling and a more contemporary look.

‘Highlighting the details in the white really makes them stand out against the darker grey backdrop.’ 
 

modern colour scheme for terrace houses, handyman,
For a modern style, select grey for the walls, white for the wrought iron and black for the doors 

Weatherboard 

Edwardian or Federation architecture followed the Victorian period and reflects the economic downturn at the end of the 19th century with
more austere building materials and less ornamentation.

While brick was the material of choice for homes of the wealthy, inexpensive weatherboards were favoured by the working class. 

As a result, most weatherboard cottages are mostly found in the inner city where factory workers and labourers resided, but spread further from city centres on larger blocks as railway lines were constructed.

They are less symmetrical than Victorian houses and often feature corrugated iron roofs and L-shaped verandahs with modest timber fretwork on support brackets.

In the early 20th century this was the most common type of house in Australia, but the majority of these humble homes have since been demolished to make way for more modern buildings and apartments.

weatherboard home, handyman magazine,
Most weatherboard cottages are mostly found in the inner city where factory workers and labourers resided. Image: Alamy

Traditional colour schemes for weatherboard homes 

‘Classic Edwardian weatherboard homes are pieces of Australian history, so choosing paint colours is especially important,’ says Caitlin O’Brien, Product Manager at British Paints.

‘A contrasting colour scheme will look striking and authentic, so choose white for the weatherboards with charcoal for the roof. For the concrete path, I’d recommend Berger Jet Dry paving paint in Cannon Ball.’

traditional colour scheme for weatherboard house, handyman magazine,
For a traditional colour scheme choose white for the weatherboards with charcoal for the roof
 

Modern colour scheme for weatherboard houses 

For a modern take on your Edwardian home, use two different whites. Paint the weatherboard walls with a lighter shade and use a darker shade for the corrugated metal roof,’ says Caitlin.

‘Paint the path with Berger Jet Dry Wordless. Be bold and add impact by selecting a vibrant colour for your front door. Great colours include Yellow Mania, Harbour View and Red Alert.’

modern colour scheme for weatherboard houses, handyman magazine
For a modern take on Edwardian homes use a darker and a lighter shade of white 

This article first appeared in the August 14 edition of Handyman magazine 

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