Colors for Foursquare Houses

A foursquare house with both shingle and siding exterior cladding. The different materials each have a different color, which emphasizes the horizontal lines of the design, while lessening the vertical appearance of the house.

A 1917 foursquare house clad in yellow siding, with pale trim and a green roof. This is a more traditional “Colonial Revival” or “Edwardian Classical” style color scheme, as a light antidote to the dark Victorian schemes of 20 years earlier.

Foursquare houses – those with (usually) four rooms per floor – were popular in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Often utilizing Arts & Crafts detailing, these economical homes contained the maximum amount of square footage of floor space in the smallest exterior wall area.

Choosing appropriate exterior colors for these homes is usually dependant on the exterior cladding of the building. In these two similar examples seen above, one (the all-yellow house) is clad in wood siding, with corner and trim boards. The other house, covered in shingles on the second floor, and siding on the lower part of the house, is appropriately painted in a two-tone color scheme of brown and yellow ochre.

When there are different materials used on the exterior of an older home, that is usually a clue to change the color scheme on the different material. Siding is usually painted, and shingles are usually stained. Trim is usually painted as well. Frequently another color entirely is used to highlight the sash (the moveable wood part of a window), though these examples show the sash the same color as the trim.