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Ideas to improve exterior on Spanish style home

9 days ago

We would like to add curb appeal to our home as we don’t love the way it currently looks. The windows seem like they need some sort of window trim as they seem really out of place, but I’m not sure what kind of trim matches this style. I’d also like to redo the color scheme and perhaps add plants and vines to climb over the arches (eg bougainvillea?). Would appreciate any ideas. Thank you!

Comments (70)

  • 8 days ago

    I recently saw a renovation that installed large steel doors in a similar space to your arches on the lower level (photos here - essentially creating an ante-room/porch - it ended up looking awesome, but probably cost a pretty penny (and if you are somewhere like Florida, it would probably be unbearably hot in that space!) - just something to think about. That project is the first one I thought of when I saw your post - the green/gray they used on the windows is beautiful, and the simple wooden garage doors, too. I'm also not sure your current windows are the right windows for your house at all - they look like someone went partially towards a contemporary renovation and stopped mid-stream.

    Krista thanked JP L
  • PRO
    8 days ago

    I agree with Lisedv and actually came up with the same concept you might even paint window frames in dark as well for a modern spanish style.


    Krista thanked Flat Pack Kitchen Design
  • 8 days ago

    I have learned so much from this thread and feel so much better about the home and its potential - thank you! Do you think there is anything we can do about the windows on the left? Would it be worth the time and expense of changing out the windows to be arch shaped? Or, is there a window sill element that could be added to make it look more cohesive?

  • 8 days ago

    I'd keep the cream stucco; change the trim to brown; change the garage doors to wooden carriage style doors (I *wish* we had done this to our Spanish-style house when we moved in!!); and change the windows to double-hung (I think that will look better; I would not bother making them arch-shaped) with either cream or brown rails/jambs. I think the current white ones are what makes the windows look the most jarring against your cream stucco.


    We have a gigantic bougainvillea on the side of our house, supported by a VERY hefty wood frame -- it's easily 30 feet tall, it's gorgeous, and the only thing we do to it is get the top trimmed about once a year so it doesn't grow onto the roof. I know there are animals living in it, including an opossum that popped out from the very top to register its displeasure when our gardeners were trimming it last year ;) -- but I just have decided I'm not going to think too much about them. :P


    I love your upper deck!! It's so style-appropriate. Adding some planters for spilling flowers could look nice, but I'd probably just do pots on the inside with some cool plants. Mandevilla?

  • 8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Do you think there is anything we can do about the windows on the left?


    I would switch them out to push out casements, with a DL configuration (either 2 over 3 or just 3 panes). However, this means you'll likely need to replace all of your windows to match that style/configuration (unless you're way more relaxed than I am about these things!).

    Krista thanked JP L
  • 8 days ago

    Is the house in California? If so think about looking into native plant landscaping.

    Krista thanked sealavender
  • 8 days ago

    Yes, we are in Northern CA.

  • 8 days ago

    I thought so from its Monterey style and the other plants I see growing there. There are a lot of natives that would fit the character of your property and not use much water.

  • 8 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    The arches look really heavy on the front of your house. This may be more than you want to tackle, but how would it look if you removed part of the stucco and replaced the arches with cedar posts and corbles? I tried to draw a beam under the upper porch to match the cedar posts. I drew in stone accents under the posts just to see what it would look like. It looks modern, but still keeps with the style of your house. You can stain cedar any color if you want to match the trim. I would make this change before I changed the shape of the windows.



  • PRO
    8 days ago

    Maybe adding arched top shutters on the lower windows to continue the arches from the porch?



  • 8 days ago

    No need to add random arches to the house!

  • 8 days ago

    I found this while searching hacienda posts and corbles. The cedar adds an interesting color to the exterior.


  • 8 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    The brown paint shown is better than my black proposal for the balcony wood color. The house does bring to mind Monterey Colonial...which relies on wood beams.

    Painting the balcony wood and garage door the same wood-tone brown would be a great economical way to add curb appeal instantly.

    Other addtional details suggested could be added over time.

    Shutters are very Monterey Colonial and would be appropriate for the exposed windows:


  • 7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Is my updated sketch posting? Re trying...


  • 7 days ago

    Thank you! Yes, your updated sketches posted. Appreciate. I also found a summary of Monterey Colonial that was very helpful in understanding the style more.

  • 7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    I'm so pleased. It sounds like you're beginning to love your house!!!

  • 7 days ago

    Just a caution about colors (and I'm not posting pics because these are my friends): our neighbors recently built a brand new Spanish-style house, cream stucco and light grey/green/blue trim. I'll see if I can get the color from them – it's GORGEOUS, and it also looks very style-appropriate. I've seen Spanish-style houses repainted white with black trim, and they look fine -- but they also look like a mash-up between Spanish and modern farmhouse. I think the cream+blue or brown looks way better.

  • 7 days ago

    This is a stone and stucco column. I think cedar would look better.


  • 7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    This house could go either Monterey or Spanish or use elements of both. It's a blend of the two because of the tile roof. Classic Monterey is wood shake. The version of Spanish with the four very large Carriage Lamps is stunning.

    Re: the left windows and that wall, the windows recede visually and are not really an issue. That's why no one addressed them originally. The shutters I propose would work with either style.

    That wall does not throw off the balance of the house. The vertical rectangle is a complement to the horizontal rectangle of the garage.

    If you take out the arch inserts in the garage doors, they will not compete with the arches, and the rectangles tie in with the left windows.

  • 7 days ago

    @Emily R. Is this the trim you’re referring to? It looks fabulous with the red tiled roof.

  • 7 days ago

    That green ^wow. The shutters I proposed would be fantastic in that color.


  • 7 days ago

    @redryder Yes! It looks so good. :)

  • 7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Using @RedRyder inspo photo for the green front door and shutters. Brown woods.



    I think it works. So fresh.

    With white house and plus green post and beam on the balcony:



  • 7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    I love the green you posted, Red, and Emily’s farther up.

    I’ve had this house below saved a while just because I like the green trim so much:



    OP, I think your house is welcoming and wonderful and has so much charm … congratulations. Everyone has given great suggestions, this was a fun read.

  • 7 days ago

    "Climbing vines put out fine roots along the length of the vine that it uses to cling to surfaces"


    This is simply not true. Some vines do stick to the wall eg Boston Ivy, but as stated above, Bougainvillea goes not. Nor do grape vines, climbing roses, honeysuckle, clematis, Akebia or wisteria.

  • 7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Floral is correct-- but the biggest problem is the vine on the front tree that should be removed immediately.

  • 7 days ago

    I love the green trim. Please let us know if you’re considering it for your lovely house.

  • 6 days ago

    I like the green trim, too. To emphasize the Spanish look, I would replace the balcony railing with black iron and add black iron window boxes on the four windows to the left and maybe a long one on the balcony. Perhaps you can get a garage door with black iron trim.

  • 6 days ago

    LOVE the olive green for arched shutters, garage door, front door, rail and window trim. Love the suggestions of large deep colored wall lanterns between arches and each side of garage door. Think wood attic rafters by garage overhang and the upper porch might be cool but not sure it’s appropriate with your style home. A large cedar beam running over the arches/under the porch would break up the stucco very nicely. Love the idea of trailing flowers from the upper porch over the rail posted above. Maybe two Italian cypress in front halfway between house and street starting between first arch right of the front door and one between the house and garage. Exciting improvements! Good luck.

  • 5 days ago

    I love the ^ cypress idea. Olive trees in big pots would look fantastic, too!

  • 5 days ago

    I'm not a fan of the green, yellow and red combination for your house. I see the need for bronze, carmel and espresso trim and accents with a creamy white main color. Adding shutters will help, so would covering the brick chimney with stucco.


    The front entry needs to stand out more. Bronze carriage lights and tall potted plants flanking that arch would help.


    Your house has good bones it just needs a little updating.

  • 5 days ago

    I would go full on white with black and dark wood trim! An easy update would be to replace the railing to black/dark wood and frame the windows in black. more expensive would be to replace the windows with black ones, but that’s the expensive option! Do you live in the right climate for a bougainvillea?? I wish we did, I would have one in a heartbeat. Beautiful house!! I just think updating the color scheme is a good direction


  • PRO
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Here's the house with green windows, white trim, wood accent railing and doors.


    Note: I find a dark Olive Green is a richer colour than the paler green,

  • 5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Please no black anything (except wrought iron railing, if there is any) for these Spanish style houses. The color needs to be "bronze" or dark brown.

  • 5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Iron gray for the garage door and put retangular window inserts.This would be a updated element along with the black railing and black lanterns. Trim out the white window frames with black.


  • 5 days ago

    It seems like some people want to turn this house into a "modern Spanish farmhouse"!

    For any updates use design ideas found in the classic Spanish Revival and Monterey Revival styles.

    You can search on Houzz for examples or even real estate listings in the LA area.

  • PRO
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    And here is the house with all windows and doors painted green with white posts on upper veranda and a simple black iron railing (not as heavy looking as wood).



  • 4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    @chispa the OP did that and posted images of Monterey Revival.

  • 4 days ago

    There seems to be leeway in what color is used for the trim. These two are pretty stunning.

  • 4 days ago

    I love the blue tinged greens you've posted, Red Ryder... they echo the agave plants in the bottom photo, and call to mind Caribbean or Mediterranean waters in the darker color of the top photo. Either direction seems fitting for the Monterrey style architecture on this home. I also note that there is a more pale wood color on the shutters in the 2nd photo which I think would be preferable for any wood trim, such as the garage doors... to the visual heaviness of darker wood tones. It just looks "fresher" and doesn't fight with the color of the roof tile. Emily showed a similar wood tone in her first comment and photo. Also, for what it's worth, I like the idea of keeping the balcony in some lighter color as well...whether a wood tone or another pale color such as a blue green or cream/white shade, so that it doesn't appear so visually heavy that it seems to want to leap off the front of the house. Unfortunately, I don't have the software to be able to illustrate these ideas, so I hope I've been able to communicate them to some adequate degree. This home has good bones and potential. I hope you'll share the final result with us, Krista!

  • PRO
    3 days ago

    Here's the house in a softer green colour:



  • 3 days ago

    @lisedv - I think the shutters being a light, natural wood but the inside window trim being the green might look better. It almost feels like it’s too much green. The garage being wood is also a way to give it some interest.

    Luckily, you know how to do the AI images.

  • PRO
    3 days ago

    I didn't put the shutter on because the comments were not positive. As to the garage door of course a nice wood door would also work very well. Lots of options, all depends on budget. I haven't seen any feedback form Krista on any of the colours.

  • PRO
    3 days ago

    Softer green windows and front door with light wood garage door...



  • 3 days ago

    Yes, lisedv, to your last image! That is closer to what I was imagining... it looks more natural, and the garage door doesn't scream for attention, since it is such an expanse of solid color. Thank you!


  • PRO
    3 days ago

    Glad you like it, it's a lovely house to start with even though the windows were replaced with more contemporary looking ones.

    However, it would be nice to know what the owner thinks about all or any of all suggestions made by different people.

  • 3 days ago

    Thanks...I was thinking the same thing. In the final analysis, the home owner's opinion is the only one that matters!

  • yesterday

    The bright stark white? Soften it a bit. What happens to the white if one adds a SLIGHT undertone of green? Does one end up with gray or too much green? This last "rendering" (?), appeals to me the most. The garage door color goes nicely with the roof color. The green & browns "settle" the house into the background without having it vanish. I can now see the front door, the balcony is there rather than darkly overhanding, yet no longer looks like an apartment building. The "lengthening" of the 4 windows is the best visually. I've been watching those windows.

  • yesterday

    @Tracy Mcdonald... I agree with your assessment. Thanks!

  • PRO
    23 hours ago

    It might look like a stark white on the rendering, it's difficult to get exact colours. But I would suggest a warm white, here are a few: