14 Charming Colonial-Style Houses with Photos & Ideas

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!

Rendering of a colonial home with porch

#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.


Before and after of a brick colonial with updated exterior design

#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.


Before and after of colonial home with white brick

#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.


before and after of a colonial home painted in neutrals

#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.


Before and after of an updated colonial home

#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.


Before and after of a colonial home painted gray

#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!


Updated dutch colonial with darker paint

#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.


Before and after of a colonial with a window update

#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.


a blue print and a rendering of a colonial home

#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.


Before and after of a home with white paint and new shutters

#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.


Before and after of home with painted shingles

#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.


Before and after of a beige home with new gray paint

#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.


Before and after of a home painted gray

#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!


Before and after of painted white brick

#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.