14 Charming Colonial-Style Houses with Photos & Ideas - brick&batten (2024)

American colonial architecture dates all the way back to the Mayflower. We’re talking the 1600s here! Centuries later, it’s still a style modern architects draw inspiration from. Architectural historians typically characterize colonial-style homes by their symmetry, centered door, and rectangular shape. Of course, colonial architecture has really evolved over time, and there are so many ways to personalize and modernize them. We’ve rallied up 14 charming colonial-style houses with updates to draw inspiration from.

If you have a colonial home that’s in need of some TLC, brick&batten is here on standby. Our virtual exterior designers will customize a plan with your goals and preferences in mind. They’ll also give you a rendering and clickable resource list. Get started online now!

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#1 The One With a Dream Porch

Not every colonial homeowner gets to inherit a home with such a spacious porch like this one. However, now with the trend for outdoor living spaces, this is a great time to invest in a porch! A virtual exterior designer can help you pick out everything from columns to swings. When adding on a porch, you can decide to stay true to the time period with stately columns or modernize with wood or industrial steel.

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#2 Stately Homes Deserve Stately Entrances

Just by looking at this house, we’re guessing that the shorter side was a later addition. In fact, colonial-style houses are notoriously easy to create an addition. However, our designers enhanced the balance in this exterior design by extending the front steps with a porch overhang. Lastly, look at how those tall, narrow windows now stand out with new functional shutters.

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#3 A Touch of Modern Goes A Long Way

In an attempt to play up the home’s stunning symmetry, our designers made the garage stand out as a separate entity with dark, interesting garage doors and industrial lights. The copper awning and wooden fence add warmth and a classic touch to an updated exterior.

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#4 A Classic Colonial Color Scheme

A colonial home is such a timeless structure, so why not honor its beauty with some classic tones? Off-whites, pale beiges, and grays are all safe paint choices for historic colonial-style houses. Before painting your historic home, check with your city or home owner’s association about regulations in your area.

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#5 This One Proves That Colonial Homes Can Look Great Without Shutters

This homeowner wanted simple. Sometimes, shutters overwhelm colonial-style houses with numerous windows. Such was the case with this one. In fact, many colonials feature shutters that aren’t quite the right size. If this is the case, you can choose to remove the shutters altogether and not even replace them.

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#6 A Home That Shows Off The Magic of A Porch Gable

Houses built between the end of the Great Depression and the end of World War II are known as minimal traditional homes. These homes were built on a budget, so they feature a simplistic frame with so much potential. Since most of these houses also display colonial characteristics, like symmetry and a centered door, adding architectural details can play into that look. Notice how the porch gable with layered architectural details makes this home look more colonial!

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#7 Colonial Gone Dutch

When Europeans colonized America, they brought their architectural styles with them. This modern home still draws influence from the Netherlands, so we would consider it a Dutch colonial revival. The cozy side porch with two chairs draws even more attention to the gambrel roof.

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#8 Add-Ons Can Have Symmetry Too!

As we’ve already mentioned, colonial homes are the perfect candidates for add-ons. What better way to complement the architecture than to lean into symmetry? We’re also loving the updated wooden columns, stairway, and railing.

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#9 Two Words: Bronze Gutters

If you aren’t able to find a historic colonial home, you can always build one with similar characteristics. Little details like wide columns and a wood door can really make your home look true to the time period. However, you can take it a step further with bronze gutters, like these from guttersupply.

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#10 When in Doubt, Paint It a Shade of White

If you’re considering updating your colonial home with a new coat of paint, white paint is usually a safe bet. Some of our favorite off-white paints for outdoor applications are by Benjamin Moore, including Swiss Coffee, Simply White, and White Dove.

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#11 Shingle Siding For the Win

Many colonial homes feature shingle siding. We’ve found painting is one way to honor a home’s history and style while updating the look. This home was missing a base to keep it looking grounded. One way to fix that is by adding a stone watertable or trim board before your home meets the landscape.

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#12 Let Even More Light In With a Transom and Front Door Windows

With numerous large windows, this architecture style lets in so much natural light. Why not play into the airiness in the front entryway too? This door by Dallas Door Services does just that.

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#13 A Little Painted Brick Goes A Long Way

This English-Tudor-meets-colonial had touches of brick here and there. Rather than leaving it unpainted, our virtual exterior designers suggested a mineral-based paint. The white-washed look leans into the historic feel, and really compliments the gray paint choice!

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#14 Dusty Blue and Copper Are a Dream Team

The before photo of this home gave us major French colonial vibes. GORGEOUS… almost hate to paint unless it’s needed or you’re tired of it. Our exterior designers decided to lean into that with grayish-blue and white paint and copper architectural details. Copper is one of those building materials that just gets better with age. Top it off with some Bevolo lights, and you’ve got yourself a timeless, yet updated design.

Both newly built and historic colonial-style homes feature so much potential. Updating paint, columns, shutters, porch lights, and seating can really take your home to the next level.

Of course, it can be hard to envision your colonial-style home’s potential, but that’s why partnering with a design team, like brick&batten, can help! Order an online design, and you’ll receive a custom exterior makeover plan with realistic renderings. We also offer links to our suggested resources to make the contracting process much easier.

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14 Charming Colonial-Style Houses with Photos & Ideas - brick&batten (2024)


What is the most common colonial style house? ›

A few of the most popular types of colonial architecture include French, Dutch, Spanish, and British, the latter of which is the style most commonly constructed in the United States. Colonial homes usually have a simple, minimalist rectangular shape and other distinctive features.

What are 3 characteristics of a Colonial house? ›

American Colonial homes are generally characterized by a square or rectangular facade, a central entrance and windows symmetrically placed on either side of the entrance. They are typically made of wood, stone or brick and will generally have uniformly sized doors and windows with shutters.

How can I make my house look Colonial? ›

Natural elements were popular materials for decorating homes in the Colonial period because early colonists used whatever they could find to decorate their homes. Rattan, wicker, reed, and sisal were popular in this era. Natural fibers like jute and wool also make good additions as woven pieces.

What does the inside of a Colonial house look like? ›

Colonial homes are generally not open concept. They traditionally have a central hallway with symmetrical rooms on either side. The formal living and dining rooms are usually in the front, and the kitchen and family room are in the back.

What did the 13 colonies houses look like? ›

English settlers of the New England colonies built rustic and pragmatic homes with architectural elements borrowed from medieval England, like diamond pane windows and steep pitched roofs. Initially they framed their homes out of timber which eventually transitioned to brick, especially further south.

Are Colonial houses cheaper to build? ›

A Colonial house is generally more affordable because it has a shape conducive to lower costs due to its simple, borderline rectangular shape. They're typically two or three stories tall, with fireplaces and brick or wood facades.

What are the disadvantages of a colonial style house? ›

Cons Of Colonial-Style Houses
  • There are no high ceilings or open floor plans.
  • Two stories can make it difficult for those with mobility issues.
  • Original colonials may need special maintenance to ensure the stability of elements such as wood foundations and roofs.
  • Historic colonial homes may come with a high price tag.
Oct 26, 2023

Are colonial houses expensive? ›

It will depend on your needs, your area and your long term goals for the home. However, colonial style homes are, on average, larger, easier to sell and more expensive. Colonials are also considered more attractive, with better curb appeal. However, this not always the case.

Why do they call it a saltbox house? ›

Built during the 17th and 18th centuries, American saltbox houses were named after commonly used wooden salt containers from the colonial period. Historic saltbox houses are easily identified by their signature one-sided sloped rooflines and simple colonial facades.

What is the best color to paint a colonial house? ›

Yellows, blues, and grays were popular body colors. Shutters are often painted green because it resembles the bronze shutters of Renaissance buildings. Doors are often painted the same color as the shutters or other trim.

How do I make my house look expensive? ›

How to Make Your Home Look Luxurious on a Budget
  1. Declutter and organize. ...
  2. Use a neutral color palette. ...
  3. Focus on a few high-quality pieces. ...
  4. Create your own artwork and décor. ...
  5. Add crown molding and trim. ...
  6. Choose well-designed light fixtures. ...
  7. Use accent pillows and throws. ...
  8. Fool the eye with curtains.
Oct 3, 2023

How can I make my house beautiful and attractive? ›

There are plenty of 'affordable' finishing touches which can make your home look and feel more luxurious – some of which can actually be free!
  1. Paint a feature wall. ...
  2. Go big with wall art. ...
  3. Redecorate / paint. ...
  4. Use colour cleverly. ...
  5. Declutter. ...
  6. Decorate with candles and mirrors. ...
  7. Add house plants and flowers.
Feb 7, 2022

What state has the most Colonial houses? ›

The states with the most registered historical homes are as follows: New York – 6,416 homes. Massachusetts – 4,462 homes. Ohio – 4,180 homes.

What kind of furniture goes in a Colonial house? ›

Colonial living rooms typically feature classic and refined furniture pieces. Look for pieces with clean lines, elegant curves, and sturdy craftsmanship. Common furniture pieces include wingback chairs, camelback sofas, wooden coffee tables, and upholstered armchairs.

How do you make a Colonial look modern? ›

Using bright colors and modern furniture, get creative by adding a small office, comfortable seating or areas to entertain. Of course, you probably love to entertain people more than greet them formally. Best of all, they are an easy reno for any colonial living room, making it modern.

Where are the most colonial style homes? ›

The architectural style of Louisiana is identified as French colonial, while the Spanish colonial style evokes Renaissance and Baroque styles of Spain and Mexico; in the United States it is found in Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and California.

What is a traditional Colonial house? ›

Colonial houses are built in a traditional style of architecture that dates back to the U.S. Colonial era. They are designed to comfortably serve as a family home, and typically feature a rectangular shape with gabled roofs, symmetrical windows, neutral color schemes, and flat exterior walls.

What were the typical houses in Colonial America? ›

Similar to the homes colonists lived in back in England, they're rectangular, typically two stories, and fairly symmetrical. They have steep, side-gabled roofs, which means the triangular portion of the roof is only visible from the sides; looking at the front door, you only see shingles.

What is the most common American house style? ›

One-story ranches are the most common house style in the United States, but Colonial homes, bungalows, and Cape Cods are also seen throughout the country.

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