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This Rhode Island coastal cottage exterior makeover features bright and fresh paint colors with classic finishes.  When we pick exterior paint colors, we consider the roof, landscaping, exposure and most importantly the client tastes. Read on to discover how you can create this look for your house.

The Renovation – Before and After

For this online color consulting project in Rhode Island (far from Colorado), our client renovated this coastal cottage from the studs out.  Every surface was replaced.  The roofline was updated with new dormers and a roof, a front porch and dining room addition.  New landscaping with sod, plantings and brick sidewalks brightened the front yard.

The homeowner asked us to pick their paint colors, which was right up our alley! We chose a coastal paint palette for the exterior with our online paint color consulting service. The results were amazing, even though we never visited the property. We will share the interior update in a later article.

White coastal cottage exterior makeover with HardiePlank arctic white siding and blue shutters

Coastal Cottage Makeover – photo by M. Camilli


Before image of coastal cottage exterior makeover with gray paint and light blue shutters.

Before Exterior

Color Palette for a Coastal Cottage Exterior

Our coastal paint palette was classic and traditional.  The Owens Corning Slatestone roof and James Hardie Arctic white siding were picked by the homeowner.

We chose SW Extra White (a clean white) for the trim.  Clean whites can be used next to cool whites such as the Arctic White siding.  When you place a cream or off-white color next to a cool white it makes the creamier color look yellow. The shutters feature a dark navy blue, SW Anchors Aweigh.

Our favorite touch was the traditional Southern front porch with SW Sea Salt for a “haint blue” ceiling and light blue gray deck.

The mid-toned wooden door and brick sidewalk warm up the exterior.

Coastal cottage exterior color palette with roof, siding, porch ceiling and floor, trim and shutter colors.

Traditional Southern Porch with “Haint Blue”

Since Colonial times in the US, Southern porches had ceilings painted “haint blue”, the color of the sky  This tradition is mixed in myth and folklore, and a classic element of a coastal color interior palette.  A popular theory is that wasps won’t build nests with a blue porch ceiling because they think its blue sky.  Southern folklore teaches that a blue porch ceiling will keep a family safe from “haints” or evil spirits.

In this case, we painted the front and back porch ceilings with SW Sea Salt (blue green).  The ceiling color reads blue because the deck is painted blue gray (SW Zircon) and the light reflects onto the roof.  If we had painted the ceiling with blue paint, it would have looked dingy and dull.  These results are very different from the color on the swatch. Don’t forget to test your paint colors every time before you paint.

White coastal cottage exterior with front porch blue ceiling and SW Zircon deck floor with wood door and black hardware.

Front Porch – photo by Maddie Camilli


Coastal cottage exterior and front porch with haint blue ceilings and light gray deck.

Front Porch – photo by M. Camilli


The back porch also has the “haint blue” ceiling, painted with SW Sea Salt.  The red geraniums brighten the entrance.

Coastal cottage back porch with blue ceiling and light gray deck with a white door and pink geraniums.

Photo by Maddie Camilli

Check out the back deck with blue gray SW Zircon paint on the deck and SW Extra White on the trim and railings.

Coastal Cottage back deck with deck painted SW Zircon, railings painted SW Extra white and bright red geraniums.

Photo by M. Camilli

The side entrance to the mud room and butler’s pantry has a simple white roof. It features mirrored windows, door painted SW Extra White and beautiful black lanterns from Northeast Lantern in New Hampshire installed on all the entrances.  The door hardware is also black.

Coastal cottage exterior white door with black hardware and lighting and james hardie arctic white siding

Side Entrance – photo by M. Camilli

Navy Blue Shutters Give a Nautical Vibe

The shutters were painted with SW Anchors Aweigh, a deep navy blue to coordinate with the blue undertones of the Slatestone roof and the HardiePlank Arctic white siding. The navy blue color added to the coastal paint palette.

White coastal cottage with gable and dark blue shutters

Photo by Maddie Camilli

The shutters were ordered from Shutterland with black hardware to tie in with the lighting and the door hardware.

Blue shutters with SW Extra White trim color, james hardie arctic white siding and SW extra white trim paint.

Blue shutters with black hardware – Photo by M. Camilli

The Verdict

Consider a coastal color palette for your house, and don’t forget to include a beautiful blue ceiling for your front porch! A “haint blue” porch ceiling is a lovely and charming tradition for this New England coastal cottage.  We can’t wait to see if they scare the wasps away from their front porch!

This palette is perfect for homeowners who want a classic exterior and fresh crisp paint colors. Don’t forget to test your paint colors – our directions are here.


 Hire Us for E-Color Online Color Consulting Packages, or In-Person Color Consulting in the Denver Metro Area.

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Coastal cottage exterior makeover with haint blue front porch.

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Pick Colors Like a Pro with our FREE Guide!

8 Easy Ways to Pick Paint Colors

An Insider's Guide to the Perfect Palette for your Home

FREE Download when you subscribe

8 Easy Ways to Pick Paint Colors

Subscribe to our blog for your Free Guide


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