7 Reasons Southern Designers Avoid Using Dark Paint Colors On The Porch

What to consider before picking your porch color.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Dark paint is great for creating contrast on the facade and some vertical elements of a house; however, it’s not necessarily the best choice for all exterior features—specifically the porch. “The porch color should ultimately complement the overall color scheme of your house,” says Palm Beach interior designer Ellen Kavanaugh. When adding pops of color with paint to details like a porch, it’s important your selection enhances the space, but doesn’t clash with the rest of the exterior.

So while these Southern designers might not have nothing against a dark paint color, they make some pretty good points on why darker shades should be reserved for elements like shutters and front doors rather than porch floors. Though a deep green porch is temptingly beautiful, here are seven reasons why you might want to reconsider that dark can of paint.

Related: How To Paint Your Porch Floor, According To A Designer

Pollen Build-Up

When you live in the South, there’s no escaping that springtime pollen dusting that touches everything outside. And it’s often more prevalent against dark paint. “We have learned from experience to avoid black or charcoal paint on porches for practical reasons,” says design duo Anna Still and Marguerite Johnson of Still Johnson Interiors in Birmingham, Alabama. “We have such a long pollen season in the South, and pollen is especially visible on dark surfaces, making the porch take on a pea green hue that is extremely hard to rid until the season ends.”

Now, we’re not saying the pollen coating will magically disappear with lighter hues of paint, but they tend to be a little more forgiving. “I learned the hard way that in the South, a dark paint color for your porch floor is probably not the best move if you don't like the look of dust,” says Atlanta designer Laura Jenkins. “I painted my porch a dark green and it was never the same after the first pollen!”

Related: How To Clean Pollen Off A Screened Porch With A Vacuum And All-Purpose Cleaner

Heat Absorption

Darker colors also absorb heat more than lighter shades. “This might be preferable in cooler climates, but can make the space uncomfortably warm in hot weather, which is why Southern designers tend to steer away from such colors,” notes Kavanaugh. Think of your bare feet before you reach for that dark can of paint! “A black or charcoal porch can become almost too hot to touch in the middle of summer," adds Still Johnson Interiors.

Light Reflection

Just as wearing white clothing helps keep your body cooler, the same concept applies to paint and finishes. “In hot, sunny climates common in the South, dark colors absorb more heat from the sun's rays,” explains South Carolina designer Caroline Brackett. “Painting a porch a light color helps reflect heat away and keeps the space cooler and more comfortable during the warm months.”

Fades From Sunlight

Whether it’s outdoor cushions or paint, when anything is exposed to sunlight for an extended time period, it’s prone to fading. The same goes for paint– and darker colors typically lose their vibrancy quicker. “It's always important to consider longevity, maintenance, and durability,” says Kavanaugh. “Some colors show dirt, dust, and wear less than others; however, extremely dark shades can fade more noticeably over time, especially under direct sunlight.”

Related: Here's How Often You Should Repaint Your House, According To A Painter

Shows Signs of Wear and Tear

From flooring to furniture, anything that is painted will show signs of love overtime, like a beloved rocking chair or the planks of wood below it. Signs of use can be less noticeable with lighter tones. “I love the idea of a stained wood porch (as long as it is covered), because it helps add to the feeling of an outdoor room and does a little better with wear versus a painted porch that not only gets dirty, but also shows every ding and scratch,” says Jenkins.

Practically speaking, lighter hues are also typically a little easier to upkeep. “Lighter colors don't show dirt, pollen, and stains as easily as dark hues in humid, pollen-filled Southern climates where porches get heavy use,” says Brackett.

Goes Against Tradition

There is truly nothing more iconic than a white farmhouse or cottage and that includes the porch, plus a haint blue ceiling of course. “Many traditional Southern home styles like farmhouses, Greek Revival-style homes, and coastal cottages often feature white or light pastel porch colors,” says Brackett. “Using dark hues may clash with these classic design aesthetics.”

Disrupts Flow

Many Southern homes take full advantage of the four season weather with open-aired indoor-outdoor living spaces. “Light porch colors can help create a seamless transition between interior and exterior spaces,” says Bracket.

Related: How To Design Outdoor Spaces for Enjoying Year-Round

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Read the original article on Southern Living.