Popular and Historic House Colors of New England

Posted on October 10, 2019

The Historic Colors of New England

Gray house with shingles

New England is rich in history, and the colors of the interiors and exteriors tend to be classic. We’ve worked with Sherwin Williams to create a palette of exterior colors specific to the South Shore and Plymouth areas and allow your home to fit right in.


Your town’s Historical Society may have a say in your choice of exterior colors.

Many Massachusetts historic homes – especially on the South Shore, are limited to certain exterior paint colors that need to be approved you the town’s historical society. We have extensive experience helping you choose appropriate colors to get your town’s historical society on board. Our designer can help you choose something to meet these specifications while bringing a unique look to your historic home.


Yellow house black shutters
Fun fact: This is The King Caesar House in Duxbury – The “S” on the side of many historic homes like this on the South Shore is a decorative anchor that’s connected to a collar tie (and a metal rod that runs through the home) to keep the house “together.” It’s decorative but functions to keep the house from failing under the downward pressure from the roof!  



Here are some town-by-town links you might find useful – they are in order by location from South to North:

Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Pembroke Historical Society

Hanover Historical Society

Norwell Historical Society

Marshfield Historical Society

Scituate Historical Society

Cohasset Historical Society

Hull History

Hingham Historical Society

Rockland Historical Commission

Weymouth Historical Society

Quincy Historical Society

Braintree Historical Society

Milton Historical Society

Canton Historical Society

Avon Historical Commission

Randolph Historical Commission

Stoughton Historical Society

Take a walk or drive through history:

Take a ride down streets like Washington Street in Duxbury, Main Street in Hingham, and the Pinehills in Plymouth.  To be clear, the Pinehills is a new development of homes that uses historical colors to blend with Plymouth’s history.

Take pictures of colors you like, and we can match the colors when we paint your home.

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Plymouth, Massachusetts – colors that blend with history

We do lots of painting in Plymouth, near Cape Cod, so we wrote this article about historic colors specific to Plymouth.

Newer homes look great in historic colors too!

Newer home painted in interesting blue colors
Our designer can help you place historic colors on your newer home so that it has more character.

Because the color we paint rarely changes the price we charge you, choosing a palette for your new home that is close to other historic homes in South Shore towns is a common request we get. Our free color consultant has experience suggesting colors on parts of your exterior that makes your newer home seem vintage and unique.  She will never push you to choose a color that is “not you” but will listen to what you want and help you choose a color that fits your vision.

Lots of our Clients like to mimic the gray weathering that happens naturally on shingles near the coastline.  Here’s our process for turning your shingles “Nantucket Gray” faster than waiting for Mother Nature to weather them for you.

A great example of new homes that use historical colors is in The Pinehills in Plymouth.  The developer did a fantastic job combining the historic look of older Plymouth homes with the convenience of new building materials.


“Colors of the South Shore” – Sherwin Williams asked us to collaborate to make this fan deck!

Below you will find a compilation of Sherwin Williams colors that have been commonly used in New England for centuries.  If you’re interested in receiving free large (8.5″ x 11″) color samples of any Sherwin-Williams color below, email [email protected] with the color name and  your mailing address.  We offer free large color samples, even if you’re doing the painting yourself, so order as many as you’d like.

SW 6129 | SW 6120 | SW7598

SW6205 | SW7008 | SW2802

SW7594 | SW7532 | SW7513

SW7598 | SE6129 | SE6120

SW6389 | SW7684 | SW7750

SW0014 | SW2814 | SW2822

SW7012 | SW7680 | SW6061

SW7715 | SW7719 | SW2843

SW2815 | SW2833 | SW2818

SW6108 | SW7032 | SW7745

SW6136 | SW6127 | SW6050

SW6102 | SW7632 | SW7047

SW7030 | SW7006 | SW6328

SW6207 | SW7012 | SW7548

SW6249 | SW7008 | SW6156

SW6164 | SW7572 | SW6118

SW7507 | SW7628 | SW2839

SW6142 | SW7005 | SW6990

SW2820 | SW6385 | SW7702

SW6171 | SW6133 | SW7518

SW6073 | SW7005 | SW6244

SW0030 | SW6385 | SW7598

More paint and color resources for your historic home:

Red shingled house

Our color consulting services

Our portfolio of recently completed painting projects

How to turn your shingles into that wonderful “Nantucket Gray.”

The paint you use matters – find out which paints we use and think are pretty great.


License Info: Massachusetts 146872