The setting of a rural house presupposes such natural scenery as is composed of trees, shrubs, lawns, gardens, hills, rocks, and streams. The color effect of the house must be in harmony with this setting. Such colors as white, cream, grays, soft greens, and browns of various shades will always harmonize with nature. Red is bold unless partially screened by planting. The use of brick is about the only reason for introducing a red color scheme. Brick walls are broken in mass by jointing and relieved by contrast at the openings, whereas a wooden house painted red is distressing. When field stone, concrete, cement, or brick is used, the color scheme is spontaneous, being. produced by the color of the materials selected; when wood is employed, however, a surface color effect is applied by means of stain or paint. This color scheme should be neither too dull nor too bright. Cold grays and drabs are about as cheerless as red is aggressive. In general, when choosing paint from samples, it is wise to select a color that is somewhat softer than the effect desired. A small piece of gay color which looks interesting in the hand, appears glaring and bold when covering an entire house. Likewise, a cold, dead color appears cheerless when used in mass.
The chief factor to be avoided in painting houses is an effect of patchiness. For example, in the case of a porch post or column, the cap and the base should not be painted one color and the shaft another. The whole porch should be one idea. Cornices, brackets, and moldings should not be picked out by color, as light and shade interpret them sufficiently. Useless bric-a-brac and ornament that cannot be removed should be subdued as much as possible in the color scheme.
Looked at as a picture, the windows and doors of a house should appear as decorative accents, contrasting with the background of wall. Windows especially are the eyes that give expression to the architectural face of the dwelling. With walls of a light color the windows naturally form a dark contrast; but if the walls are dark or dull in effect, the windows may be enlivened by painting the sash a lighter or brighter color and the blinds a clear shade of green, yellow-brown, or other harmonious color. Doorways and entrances should have dignified recognition in the color scheme.