Curb Appeal: Porches, Columns, and Color

August 20, 2007 § 15 Comments

yellowcol0001.jpgMany farmer’s porches and entryways have supporting columns (or pillars). Some are structural and some are decorative. But even if the builder assures you that those skinny little pillars will hold up the porch and conform to code, the finished look may not appear balanced from the street. I’ve seen many examples of houses where the scale of the column is out of scale with the porch– a big wide porch with dinky little columns (or pillars), one on each end.  They look more like toothpicks than architectural elements.

If you have columns or pillars along a farmer’s porch or on either side of an entryway overhang, make sure those columns are substantial. If you have skinny columns, consider adding another to each end so you have two columns on each side of the door. That will provide better balance without any demolition.

For color, paint the columns white or whatever the trim color is on your house. Painting the columns the same color as the front door detracts from both the columns and the door.

Columns can really dress up an entryway. Just make sure they add curb appeal too.

§ 15 Responses to Curb Appeal: Porches, Columns, and Color

  • Stephanie says:

    Hello, I live in what is considered the “brownstone” area of my small city. Our rowhome is the centermost of a row of 5 and the brick is traditional reddish-brown color. We have 2 major columns on our porch and wooden banisters – all are white. As everyone’s are the same bleach white color we dont have the option of painting cream. We are looking for an accent color for the window trim, spokes on the banisters, and possibly top and bottom sections of the columns. (Our door is dark stained wood and class). Any suggestions on an accent color and how (if at all) to use it on the columns would be greatly appreciated! We have considered a denimy-blue, army-green (light), and navy. My only hesitation with the blues is that our house will look more like an American flag than distinguished.

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Did you scroll down in the blog far enough to see this post? Thought you might find it helpful.

    As for your house, I would stick with neutral colors so as not to accent the “accent colors” too much. The denim blue might have a little too much contrast.

    Frankly, I would stick with white for all the trim and use an accent color somewhere on your porch: chair, wreath, pot of flowers, etc. That way you can change it out. Navy blue for summer, dark green for winter, orange for fall, you get the picture.

    Hope that helps.
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Barbra says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I just painted the trim on my little cottage. The body of the house is cream and I painted the trim a very light sage. I want to do a red front door, however, I’m finding it hard to choose the right one. Any suggestions for Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore reds that would fit with my color scheme?


  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Barbra,

    Have a look at Spanish Red and Moroccan Red, both Ben Moore. They have more orange than pink and should look good with the sage trim.

    Good luck

    Your Home & Color Coach

  • diana says:

    Hi, I am having trouble choosing colors for a new craftsman style home. This is a one story with a barrel porch with square columns with a stacked stone base. One outside wall has stacked stone and the rest is hardie board. Two gables are hardie shingles. I want the colors to be muted and to blend in with the woods. I prefer a green shade for the body and a different shade for the shingles. What are your thoughts?

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Diana,

    I LOVE your house. For greens, have you checked out Louisburg Green (Ben Moore HC-113)?

    As for painting the gables a different color, you can certainly do that. Just realize that the gables will stand out and make your house seem a little bit smaller. If you paint them the same shade as the house, they will blend with the body and make the house appear a bit larger. Either way is fine.

    Love the barrel porch and stacked stone columns.

    Good luck.

    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Donna says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Pillar Color is the problem with our renovated house. We have metal roofing which is beige and chocolate brown facia and eavestrofing, choco brown trim around the garage door openings. White soffiting as well as white windows and doors. Rock on the pillars 5 feetup from the ground and in front of the garage with grey and redish brown tones.

    Should we paint the pillars white or brown. The deck is going to stay a natural wood color.

    Thanks for your input,


  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Donna (#7),

    Since you have white already in your windows and doors, I would stick with white for the pillars. That way the other colors in the rock will show up quite nicely. If you paint the pillars brown, they will blend in with the trim and ALL you’ll see will be the white windows and doors.

    Hope that helps.

    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Crystal says:

    Hi Barbara, I’m soooo stoked to have stumbled upon your website. I’ve been reading all of the chats about brick homes and what color to select and I would love to hear your thoughts on this….. We have a standard split level home in the Northwest. It’s curretnly mustard yellow with a Cypress Bayou blend of brick. I mentioned to my husband that the yellow must go and a red color to match the brick would be nice with black shutters. Our challenge – we have 3 pillars/columns in the front of our home, which are currently white. We’re not sure what color to paint those if the house will be primarily red, along with the red brick. Suggestions?

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Crystal (#9),

    Great idea to blend the new house color in with the brick — it will really make your house look bigger (less chopped up). Make sure your “red” is on the clay/brown side so it does blend well. Try a few samples out first. Have a look at Sedona Clay (Ben Moore 2174-30).

    As for the columns, I would stick with white especially if your trim and windows are white already. I often recommend moving more toward the grout color for trims, but with traditional columns, there’s nothing like white. I love that look with the brick and the black shutters. A classic!!

    Hope that works for you!

    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Crystal says:

    Thank You for the advice Barbara, we’ll circle back to tell you how it goes : ).

  • Tiffanie says:

    Hey Barbara,

    We live in the Mississippi Delta and are getting our house plans ready to build. I want to have a complete vision of our new home before we start. It is a two story with seven windows in the front and four columns. The columns go straight up to the roof. I know I don’t won’t red brick or old brick. Any suggestions? I like the stained wood for columns but how exspensive is that? Should I stick with the classic white. I can’t find any pictures but white. We are building in the country and it is a mile of the highway so what would look the most attractive.

    • bmeglis says:

      Hi Tiffanie,

      Well, I LOVE the deep South and the traditional architecture that’s down there so I’m probably the wrong person to ask about column color. Even though you’re off the road, I still like white. But I understand that you might like a slightly less formal look. I don’t know how much it costs to have stained wood columns, but I suspect it is reasonable considering the total cost of your project. If you’d like the natural look, go right ahead. As for house color, I would pick a color that fits into your surroundings, an earth tone that comes from your landscape.

      Hope that helps.

      Your Home & Color Coach

  • Ray and Claire says:

    Hi Barbara,
    We have just had our windows and doors upgraded. We own a
    red (varied colour) brick house and chose kaki windows and a sable ( dark kaki green) front door and matching garage door.
    We too have columns – five large 14″ X 14″ and 12 feet high (none matching) red brick columns. We want to change the columns and found someone in Ottawa who supplies 10″ round non tapered white paintable columns.
    The colour of the roof is a dark taupe and other trim is dark browns. No shutters – we took them off and feel the house has a nice new look.
    1)Should we change the columns?
    2)What colour would you reccomend we paint the columns?
    Ray and Claire

    • bmeglis says:

      Hi Ray and Claire,

      Cream columns (yes replace them as long as the 10″ is chunky enough to balance the house) will be great if you want them to stand out. Otherwise paint them the window trim color. It will still stand out against the brick but not as much as cream.

      Hope that helps.

      Your Home & Color Coach

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