What color does my pink stucco house want to be?

January 2 | Guest post by Dawn Bininger

In March of this year I fell helplessly in love. Head over heels, knee-buckling, palm-sweaty LOVE. With a house. My house. My FIRST house.

Hi. My name is Dawn and I am obsessed with my 1959 Ranch house. Obsessed in a good way. Not the creepy Craigslist stalker kind of way.

It has been a life-long dream of mine to own a REAL house. I had spent my entire life in apartments, trailers, and condos. No. There is NO harm in that, but for me, a house signified something; as a child raised by a single mom, I assumed if you owned a house, you had money. It mattered not to my child's brain that the house might be really small, or in disrepair. I only knew it was NOT an apartment.

I had to own a house someday. It took me 38 years to achieve that goal.

Anyway, I could bore you all with the love story of me and my house. How we met. How she told me she was mine. But you would most certainly turn and run.

So let me get down to business. My house is PINK. Pink stucco. Its been pink since the day it was built. And no, it's not a fabulous HOT pink, or a sweet, pale pink, its actually a fairly nasty coral-looking pink. It's dirty. And I don't think its EVER been repainted. I don't live in Florida where a pink stucco house is acceptable and common. I live in Central Ohio, where pink houses are a bit harder to come by.

It needs to be repainted desperately, and it's one of the next major renovations I am going to do in the spring.

My fiance and I promised ourselves that we would do our very best to keep the architectural integrity of our house while updating her to this century. To that point we have kept a lot, and ripped out little. I guess I was thinking MOSTLY of her interior. I didn't think much about the outside.

When I first saw the house I knew I would paint it anything OTHER than pink. I assumed my neighbors would be thrilled. It is the only pink house in the neighborhood, and one of the few remaining stucco ones. Most of them have been sided. I even got two estimates! I was so gung-ho on doing this!

I was thinking a nice sage green, OR a nice deep gray blue. It has stone all around it, which I have NO INTENTION of removing, I had to pull colors out of that stone. I also have white accents. So I was heavily leaning towards the gray blue.

Until I started really thinking about the house. And how long it's been pink. And maybe I should paint it a newer, hipper pink? Would she be sad if she was no longer pink? Would me changing her color somehow tilt the universe a little bit? So I started being wishy washy about painting her again, especially after I read Offbeat Home's post about houses of unusual colors. I thought how much my neighbors would probably hate it if the house remained pink. I thought about the brownstone that had been painted pink. And although I loved it, it looked so out of place. It was not meant to be pink. My house was built to be pink.

I'm so confused! What do I do? I don't mind living in a pink house. Not really. I am a bit kooky that way anyway. But, is it logical to repaint her in a nicer shade of pink? Or is okay to paint her a new, more modern color? Am I tempting the architectural Gods by changing her color after 50 years?

Decisions. Decisions.

  1. I have to admit that, a few paragraphs in I was definitely thinking "Paint it a better shade of pink!"

    Your house has such an overwhelming roof overhang, I think you need a really strong, bright color. If not pink, I would go with, like, a really bright green.

    4 agree
  2. I agree on the brightness- the amount to be painted is visually not that much, so it would be nice to have some fun. I don't know that it has to be pink, but a bright raspberry could be delightful.

    14 agree
  3. I'd definitely update the pink!
    I kinda dig the deep gray/blue idea, but man…. pink, right?? I think it was made to be pink.

  4. I think either a brighter, but still coral-y pink or a mustardy-gold color would be beautiful

    1 agrees
  5. I'd say a different shade of pink. She really is such a beautiful house and it wears the colour so well. You fell for the house when it was pink so maybe that's a sign. Nothing wrong with giving her an update though. Maybe she'd like to wear a different shade for a while…

  6. The best thing about paint- you can change it. I know it is pricey to do, but go with your gut. This is your unique love story and you should be thrilled every time you go home. Don't worry about the opinion of your neighbors, I know that your house has withstood some of the pink criticism before. Good luck, and be happy!

    7 agree
  7. I think raspberry would look great. But am with you on the blue/grey idea. Maybe deep sea green (turquoise)?

    As for the pink, I would not be too concerned about it. Paint it in a colour you would like. I think painting it in a other shade of pink would be just as being out of tune with its architectural style as painting it in any other colour. Except for the mustard-gold maybe. So paint it in a colour YOU like.

    2 agree
  8. I lived around stucco all of my life in Vegas. Stucco is hard and awkward on bright colors. There is something about stucco, where purple that would look great on wood siding ends up looking like a bad fast food drive through on stucco. Having said that, if you went with a soft yellow, then painted the swirly columns black, you'd get a nice grey/yellow/black thing going. Like a happy bee! Also, those bushes are dying to be trimmed into awesome animals!!!!

    6 agree
    • The tall bushes have already been ripped out. LOL. We did that the first month we were here. We HATED how they blocked in the front door, you can see in the second picture they are gone. THEY WERE A BEAR TO REMOVE!!! The smaller ones are staying until I can get a landscaper in here to give me some new ideas.

  9. I also think you should stick with pink! A more modern pink, but pink nonetheless. We were in the maritimes this fall and there are so many houses painted pink there it was great! Plus pink is making a comeback… have u ever read retrorenovation.com? There are lots of posts and forums about colour choices etc for mid mod homes. I vote to keep your house in all it's pink glory. Embrace the maritime spirit. Bring some colour to Ohio! It needs it :)

    1 agrees
    • LOVE the website you mentioned. Just spent there over half an hour… :)

    • Oh yes. I have spent entire WEEKS on Pam's website. I LOVE Retrorenovation. SOOOOOOOoooo many resources!

  10. I LOVE the suggestion of repainting your house a lovely sweet raspberry color (something like this maybe? http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_product.cfm?item=27189)! I, too, hail from Central Ohio and honestly, there aren't enough interestingly colored houses around here!

    One thing you might want to check on is seeing if your neighborhood has any restrictions regarding house paint colors. When I was growing up in a suburb of Columbus, one gentleman painted his house neon green to spite his neighbors (after complaints that his grass wasn't green/well-taken-care-of enough) and there was a big kerfuffle in the neighborhood afterwards. However, they had nothing in their neighborhood association agreement against it and to this day, like 10 years later, it is still neon green. If you have a neighborhood association, it's worth checking out the bylaws :)

    1 agrees
  11. If you paint it another color, don't go for a drab gray-blue. Go for a bright blue, a bright green, or a lovely lavender! I also like the idea of a raspberry color (keeps some tones of pink). You don't get to see much of the stucco visually, so you might as well make it pop!

    1 agrees
  12. I'm a fan of bright colors, but I think the fading of the paint would be important, especially if you're not surrounded by shade that would protect it from the sun.
    Don't do lemon yellow- there's one house in our neighborhood that is that color and it looks weirdly alien in a brick house neighborhood. Unless that's your thing.

  13. Thank you everyone for the suggestions. What you cant see here is the back of the house which is ALL stucco. NO STONE, and two stories. So Raspberry is PROBABLY not a great option. It would be a lot of raspberry from behind. I am really leaning away from the gray blue now though, even though the stones have a ton of gray and blue in them…I am now wondering if a nice mint green might work???? There is a lot of greenery in the yard and there are three pine trees right in the front yard. But, I still kind of have a soft spot for the pink….

    • We just painted our house and originally thought we were going to do mint green. Once we slapped a sample of the paint on the house though we realized it looked weird and was going to take at least three coats to cover up the awful poop brown the original color was. We ended up going with a deep green instead. It's funny because the green looks out of place in our neighborhood, a sea of beige and grey, but everyone is so thrilled with the green. I think really they're just happy it's no longer poop brown.

      1 agrees
      • LOL. Yes, there are a LOT of poop brown and beige homes here too. Its like everyone either sided their stucco or painted it beige and poop brown. There is one other light colored stucco about two blocks away and its a peach color…

        • Yeah just paint some swatches and see where it takes you. Maybe even choose one or two colors you wouldn't remotely consider usually. Paint samples are only $3 at Lowes so you won't break the bank going sample crazy :)

    • I would try to get paint samples, and then put little splotches of it on each side of the house. See how the sun hits it, the way it looks in shadows, etc. Do it with a few colors you are thinking of, and then decide which you like best. Having random paint splotches on your house for a week is better than having a gross color on there for a lifetime.

      1 agrees
      • This is an excellent idea. Thank you. And because I have stucco, its quite possible, as the other poster said, it will take the paint differently…

  14. It's such a fun house I wouldn't paint it a muted colour, being a '50s house you should stay with something bright. Like maybe a bright butter yellow or a bright blue or green, but in all of this deciding, stick with what makes you both happy. If you don't like pink change it, if you can handle the pink stick with it, but update the paint so that it's not so faded.

  15. If you do go for another color, why not paint the doors a fabulous pink?

    1 agrees
    • I have thought about this. I really want to do something with the front door. My heart is set on red right now. The door is in really bad shape and has been painted numerous times. Its also NOT a solid door!!! (What were they thinking??) But I LOVE the windows so I think I will paint it and then put a see through storm door in front to make it more weather proof. I cant do a red door though if I leave the house pink…LOL

      • Oooh! But you could do mint green or robin's egg blue with a red door. Awesome colour combos that are also very reminiscent of the 1950's.

        2 agree
        • Oh my god. Robin's egg blue house with a red door!? YOU JUST MADE ME LUST FOR A HOUSE NOT MADE OF CRAPPY WOOD. <3

          That would be
          the most amazing house
          EVER

          1 agrees
          • No reason you can't do that with a wooden house. I've been many Craftsman bungalows that have been renovated and are painted bright blue with a red door. Almost bought one myself but it was out of my budget :(

  16. Having gone through a phase where I almost became a hoarder I recently had to re-evaluate my sentimentality. It's a funny thing that, making us hang on to stuff that we may not even like, you don't need to let it dictate your house colour. It's your house now, and time to make your mark on it. Personally I think Sage Green sounds awesome, and don't forget, if you feel too guilty in the end, you can always go back to pink!

    2 agree
    • This is true…I can always change it. Although, I would hate to lose several thousand dollars. I think the paint sample idea is fabulous and maybe I can try three or four colors and let them sit for a few weeks to see which one grows on me???

  17. I *hate* pink… but I think it suits your house. It compliments the blue stone, I'd stick with pink, but maybe a more subdued tone.

  18. i would stick with the gray-blue. maybe i am more classic, but outside renovations seems to be pricey and i wouldn't want to regret spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on something i would end up hating. painting the inside room is less risky and costly… just my opinion!

    3 agree
    • Neat!
      What about a pale red that you could do the red door with?
      Or a robin's egg blue would be fun and bright, and blue complements red.
      The house I live in is peach stucco with a red door and looks pretty great. ;p

    • Hi 😀 I just saw your picture and of the colours you put up i loved the bluish one.. I think it was 5 of 9.

      1 agrees
  19. I really like the idea of updating her pink color. I think it will make her feel good!

  20. I vote for sage green, or a brighter green if you're feeling wild.

  21. Why not repaint the house in the same shade of pink? Especially if you think it is the original color, I think it is awesome to be a steward of such a fun, and architecturally distinctive house!

    • We have thought of this. Especially since we cant seem to agree. He likes the darker pink or the minty green. I am now loving the Robin Egg Blue that others are mentioning…

  22. Peach! more natural than pink, should complement the stone, always looks good on stucco.

  23. So I'm sort of feeling like none of us can or should tell you what to paint your house, because ultimately it is yours, and its your neighborhood, and your life, and we can't really make aesthetic judgments on that. Well, I don't feel comfortable doing that, anyway.

    Print out your doctored pictures. Put them up on your walls. Look at them. Move them around. Sit with them. Show them to people. (But not necessarily for advice.) Find which ones draw you and which ones don't. Get rid of those ones. Really search out how you and your partner feel, and what you think would be best for your own collective tastes.

    I hope you can find a color that is totally right for you!

    7 agree
    • Well, we aren't looking for anyone to REALLY decide for us. It was phrased like that more as a general "Which way do we go?" kind of thing. We are pretty offbeat ourselves and typically do our own thing…However, I did want to throw it out there to see what other offbeat people thought. I like to gather as much info as I can then I just make a decision based on my gut at that time. Hah. Which changes frequently!

  24. Is it possible to have stucco cleaned? That might make the current color look better. I, personally, like that pink, although I vote for either cleaning it, if possible, or repainting it with a very slightly brighter version to compensate for any fading. I do like the look of the minty green, though.

  25. When I first started reading, I was like "Pink stucco? What's the big deal?" but I've lived in South Florida all my life.

    In any case, KEEP THE PINK!

    • EXACTLY. In Florida, pink and peach and blue stucco abounds…In Ohio, NOT so much! LOL

  26. And as for the neighbors…. they chose to move in next to a pink house a long time before you came along. Maybe before you were born, so don't sweat that part even a little.
    PS. I vote pink.

    1 agrees
    • I agree with CheapBubbly's note about your neighbors. Additionally, they probably use your house as a landmark. "We're 3 houses down from the pink house." In the winter, I say, "turn at the house with the siezure-inducing lights." I wouldn't want those lights to go, because they are a landmark for me.

      • THEY DO! It was one of the first things our new neighbors said…"We always tell people we are right next to the pink house"

  27. If you still want the vibe of pink without having it actually be pink, you could take another popular color from the era it was built and go aqua or turquiose. Or if you want to stay in the warm, pinkish family then maybe a more peach shade?

    1 agrees
  28. What if you painted it a neutral (pulled from the stone, in the grey family?) but painted the door the original pink color?

  29. Why don't you play around with a picture of the house and photoshop and try to come up with a color that feels right? (I'd lean towards a nice inconspicuous shade of yellow, but I have always wanted a yellow house, so maybe that is not for everyone. ^^ )

  30. I totally agree that no one else can tell you…you have to decide. BUT – upon reading your story and looking at your photos, I immediately thought: kind of a deep gorgeous turquoise bluey greeny with a RED door. I can can completely see this colour combo working on your house….especially given the last photo on that page of colours you tried. Definitely something close to that is what I was thinking but even bolder and richer. Then you can go as red as you want with the door! :)

    • I agree. I might do what another reader suggested and get several samples. Paint the stucco in small patches and let it sit with me for several weeks to see which one grabs me! And I sooooooooooooo want a BRIGHT red door. I have no idea why, I just do!

  31. I don't feel comfortable telling someone I don't know what color they should paint their anything, but I'll give you my two cents on making the decision yourself:
    Cent, the first: Provided you have a good relationship with your neighbors (i.e. they won't think you're choosing a color to spite them) and no neighborhood or development ordinances dictating what colors you can paint (some housing developments have a pre-approved palette) you should choose the color based only on what you and your house want.
    Cent, the second: Don't feel obligated to keep something the same just because it's always been that way. The universe loves change. Whether you decide to stay pink or go with something different, know that change is a positive force when it's made with the proper understanding and intention.

    Spend some time communing with yourself, you fiance and the house and the three of you will come to the answer on your own. Oh, and bonus cent: Choosing colors for painting anything can be so fun, so enjoy the hell out of the process!

    1 agrees
  32. Well, I hope that whatever colour it ends up being that we get to see the end result. :)

    2 agree
  33. I was thinking the slate blue would be nice, but then I read the comments about the overhang making things look dark, and they do have a point.

    Maybe see if you can get a few sample size paint cans, and try out a couple of different colours in not so conspicuous parts of the house, so you see what it looks like?

  34. You know, I've always loved a yellow stucco house. With blue roof tiles. Or a warm cream or beige, with red roof tiles. But I live in the southwest, and stuccos are vibrant like that here.

    1 agrees
  35. I think every house always wants to be yellow. :)

    1 agrees
  36. Personally…..I would totally stay with pink…but I like pink, and I like offbeat house colors….I also reuse to buy a home with a home owner's association that could tell me what color I could paint the house I own; I own it, I can paint it whatever color I want, damn it! And my mom's house is purple, so there's that….

  37. mint green…for sure! Maybe more sage then mint…… ok… I'm no good as decision making.

  38. I hate to rain on your pink parade but there might be a reason the house was never painted. We painted our stucco a little over 10 years ago and recently I had to have it chiseled off and re-stuccoed because regular paint does not breathe and the stucco ( which does need to breathe ) was cracking like crazy in certain parts of the house. The cracking was bad enough but what's worse is that because moisture is trapped inside the underlying wood can rot. Now THAT is a big problem.

    If you Google painting stucco online you get all kinds of responses. Some people say it's OK and others say never do it. I'm sure where you live is a factor as well.

    I know there are products available that allow the stucco to breathe, provided it hasn't already been painted. If you don't want to use these products I would look for other stuccoed homes in your area that have been painted for > 10 years.

    • Thank you. I will do some research for sure. There are several other stuccos in the neighborhood that have been painted, maybe 5? But the rest of been sided over. We do NOT want to side the house. I suppose we could contact a stucco guy and see what he says. Maybe thats why its never been painted?? Thanks for the heads up!!!

      • Ahh..about that…

        When we contacted the painter he said "I paint over stucco all the time" and in the same way, the stucco people said, "Never paint over stucco!". These opinions aren't actually helpful because they represent the extreme case on either end. Also you have to consider the fact that the source may be, uh, biased as well.

        When I was researching the painting stucco question, I came to the conclusion that it always carries some risk to do it and you need to depend on other data to assess the risk for your house.

        That's why finding somebody in your area whose stucco house has had paint on it for a long time is ideal. Failing that I would talk to a couple of general contractors, preferably ones that have been in their business a long time.

        If I had to do it all over again I would look into the special paint that is undoubtedly more expensive and doesn't have the full range of colors either. [sad trumpet]

        Gee it's so nice to set difficult guidelines for somebody else to follow, isn't it? LOL! Scour your neighborhood for old homes! Find many general contractors to talk to! Move that bus! I could give Ty Pennington a run for his money.

        • Re-painting a stucco house is entirely possible, but you can't use just any kind of paint. Don't even think about the acrylics and other "plastics" coats available on the market. Use a mineral based coat and remember that the oldest paint used on stucco is lime based which has been used for thousands of years. Says something of what you can and can't do with this façade technique.

          In Europe we have plenty of stucco houses and we do re-paint them from time to time. The trick is to use the right kind of paint, that's all.

          ETA: And no, I'm not selling paints or working with this in any way.

  39. I like the pink, but I think you are right it needs updated. BUT if pink isn't your color, I am sure your house would be happy showing off what ever represents you! I myself am living for the day I can have my Eggplant colored cottage in the woods! Good luck!

  40. I think your house is gorgeous as is! Maybe it just needs a good power-wash? If you paint it, I'd say stick to the pink, it looks so of its era in pink, which is great! Find a more current pale pink, but keep it similar. Anything too bright will overwhelm that lovely gray stone.

  41. So not to rain on your parade, but it's possible that painting stucco is a bad idea.

    Stucco is made to breathe, so that the wood underneath it is ventilated. Painting it can block it from breathing, which can cause all kinds of moisture problems.

    Make sure you talk to an expert about it before you paint it.

    We bought a house where they had painted the stucco, and when an exterior wall got wet, a huge portion of it bubbled off.

  42. I'd say get different paint samples and paint a few blocks of color on the back of your house to see how you like them first. :)

  43. Personally, I think older houses like that LOVE to get a new color! It's exciting and its not like you're changing the core of the house anyway, just her clothes. :)

    I also kind of hate that shade of pink.

    I think a very light blue-grey would look fabulous with everything else, and you could do the red door then, too. It would have to be kind of a light blue-grey, but even though I'm not usually a fan of blues OR greys, I think that would look great. I really liked the lighter-blue picture.

    You could also choose to paint the lower half in the back a different color than the top half, in case you were still worried about too much of one color.

  44. Thank you everyone for all the wonderful feedback. I will definitely do samples before I do anything, and now I think I will contact a stucco guy to see what he says about painting. At the VERY least I think we will give her a good powerwash to see what that does, and if we CANT paint it then we will just have to rethink everything. We love her though, as is, we just want to make sure she is at her best!!!

  45. As someone who looks at the house every day from our kitchenette, I've always thought the pink color was cool and unusual, but also agree you should do your own thing. Best wishes on the fix up, it appears to be going great!

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