Sharing my favorite ways to add charm to your house exterior, inspired by old European houses! Plus, some of them you can easily add character to your own house!
House exterior design inspirations from old houses in Europe
When traveling through France, Italy, and the UK, I was amazed by the beautiful old architecture and houses. I was inspired by the intricate details, the grandeur of the doorways, and the charming and unique front porches and balconies.
I took notes of the various elements I found throughout my travels and compiled them into ideas and tips on how you can add charm and character to your own house exterior.
All the photos in this post are taken by me with my iphone, since I like to travel light.
5 ways to add charms and characters to your house exterior
Since European house exterior design is so charming, we not take inspiration from them?
Here are 5 ways to add charming and characterful details to your house exterior, inspired by the beautiful and timeless architecture of old European homes.
Beautiful and muted paint colors
When you think about European exterior house design, one of the focal point is the front door and windows.
Taking notes from those old homes in Europe, one thing really stand out to me is the paint choice of doors and windows.
When painting a door, choose colors that are more muted and blend together for a cohesive, classic and European look. Consider the exterior materials of the house when selecting the color, and often times the door and window frames should be painted in the same color.
I love how this old European house used a muted green gray for the front door and fence. Painting them with the same color make the entire house exterior looks well put together with a nice Eurpean charm.
I always think of gray paint as the king of all paint colors, because it always look so sophisticated. I love how this English country house below painted both front door and window frame in the same light warm gray color.
Use of plants in various forms
You can add life and color to your front house or yard without needing a full-fledged garden by using plants to decorate. There are a variety of creative ways to incorporate plants into the exterior of your house, especially for those old houses in Europe where a front garden may not be an option.
Consider adding potted plants to the porch or a window box filled with flowers, or even adding a trellis with climbing vines to the side of the house. With a bit of imagination and a few plants, you can easily enhance the look of your home.
Sometimes a pair of container trees are used to frame the front door, creating a beautiful entrance to the home, such as this storefront in UK.
Add a touch of greenery to your home by hanging a plant basket. If space is limited, opt for some container plants. Alternatively, you can also add a flower box to your home for a beautiful and vibrant look.
Adding climbing vines to the front of the house can provide an extra layer of beauty and privacy. Popular choices include hydrangea vine, wisteria vine, and climbing rose. These vines will add texture, color, and a peaceful atmosphere to the front of the house.
This villa in Italy has ample shade in the courtyard thanks to the lush vine climbing on the pergola.
Use traditional and natural material and color
Speaking of European house exterior design, you will likely think of the old stone-y materials with beautiful patina.
Many of the houses I visited in Europe had a mix of very old materials, such as brick, stone, and stucco. These traditional building materials added texture and dimension to the house exteriors that made them stand out.
You can achieve a similar aesthetic by using a combination of those traditional materials on your house. They will make your house looks like it’s been here for years, and can literally go with almost any the house exterior styles.
By arranging the brick pattern in an interesting and creative way, it can make a bold statement.
Here’s a closer look at some of the interesting brick patterns.
Use limestone as the exterior material for the house. The light beige color complements the plants nicely.
And look how pretty and lush this wisteria plant is! Speaking of using plants to add charm to the house exterior.
I like how this house used a combination of brick and stone.
Add charm to front doors
Alternatively, many old European homes opt to forgo the wreath in favor of more whimsical door knockers, to add charm to their house exterior design. This allows for a more personal expression that can add personality to the entrance of your home.
As we were touring around Cotswold in UK, I saw many fun door knockers, such as dolphin, stars, birds, loins, you name it! They are usually in black or brass finish.
To further add to the aesthetic, consider small touches such as a hanging flower basket, a wooden sign, or a weathervane. These details will bring your house to life and make it unique.
I have also seen a lot of old European houses incorporate ironwork – Ironwork, such as decorative railings or window grills, is a common feature of many European-style homes. Choose an ornate design and paint it in a color that compliments your home’s exterior. The most common paint color is black and you can never go wrong with that!
Look how cute this arched iron work is at the garden gate. The curved shape added more organic lines to this otherwise straight and rigid building shape.
One way to add charm to European house exterior design is to use the distinctive and traditional moldings.
France, in particular, is well-known for its exquisite craftsmanship in this regard. Many old houses maintain their original moldings, or replace them with new ones in order to preserve the architectural detail.
By painting them the same color as the rest of the house, the moldings can be made to look subtle and elegant without appearing too busy.
Here are two photos I snapped while walking around Paris.
European house exterior design inspiration summary
By taking cues from old European houses, you can add charm and character to your own house exterior.
From choosing the right paint color to adding plants, traditional materials, door knockers and architectural details, these are just a few ways to make your house stand out from the rest. With a little bit of creativity and inspiration, you can create a timeless and beautiful home exterior.