What color can I paint my home in Historic Charleston?

Rumors swirl like ice in a spring pink punch bowl…

Casual assumptions are tossed into the wind like bright yellow pollen…

Purple and Green house, courtesy of Joan Perry of Charleston Daily Photo. Thanks Joan!

“Did you know,” they say wide-eyed, “that in Historic Charleston you are only allowed to paint your house a color from an approved list??”

“Bah! Not so,” says I.  This is not a planned community where every mailbox number has to look the same.  We don’t take our colors from the Sherwin Williams approved Historic Charleston Color palette.  We do whatever we want. See photo above.

“But,” they bumble, “we heard you have to have your paint colors approved?”

“Ahhh, yes,” says I, amusedly, “you do.”  The Board of Architectural Review must approve every single thing done to the exterior of a home, south of Line Street.  Whether you want to paint your white gate white, or add a lantern, or put a different kind of shutter on your home, or add a 1000 square foot addition, it must pass the BAR’s muster.  That includes the color of your home.  But that does not mean there are colors you cannot use, unless they are completely out of character with the surroundings and architecture. I don’t think the colors on the house above would fly South of Broad (your neighbors would probably protest), but in Midtown, they just work.

In Charleston, we are colorful, creative, vivid, some may even say eccentric.  See photo above. And the colors of our homes reflect our personalities.  We like it that way.  We like to make the “Most Colorful Cities in the World” list, because we like our coveted places on Top XYZ lists too.

If you want to check out the BAR’s guidelines for rehabilitation of historic properties, they put out a nice brochure.

For a kaleidoscope of Charleston colors, scroll down below. Disclaimer: None of these photos were taken on Rainbow Row

Check out Joan Perry’s great blog called Charleston Daily Photo for more Charleston loveliness.

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