Pastel Exteriors Are the Curb Appeal Trend We’re Tapping to Make a Comeback

It was in the 1970s when a man named Leonard Horowitz arrived in Miami Beach with rose-colored glasses. While the city’s distinctive buildings along Ocean Drive had character for days, they were all bathed in white. With a backdrop as colorful as Miami Beach, Horowitz believed this just wouldn’t do. So, staring at the sea and sunsets, he devised a new palette for the iconic stripof Art Deco architecture—and the rest, of course, is history.

The Majestic pastel exterior in Miami, FL

The Majestic pastel exterior in Miami, FL

Mijoo Kim and Minjin Kang

Horowitz’s Miami makeover certainly wasn’t the first time pastels left an indelible impression on a place. Nearly 90 years after Charleston, South Carolina’s Rainbow Row earned its color-happy moniker, it’s still one of the city’s hottest photo ops. (The reasoning behind the 1930s paint job remains fuzzy, though some speculate that the lively shades helped guide drunken sailors home.) In fact, pastel-obsessed owners, likely influenced by historic Caribbean architecture, have been splashing houses from New Orleans to Savannah in peachy pink and cheerful aqua for centuries.

These days, neutrals reign when it comes to exteriors. Yet the allure of a pastel home is still captivating. If you prefer to ease into the trend, try calming hues like a faint seashell pink or a creamy shade of buttermilk. And if your homeowners’ association rules have you stuck with gray, look on the bright side: There’s always the front door.

Color Us Smitten

Four pastels to transform your facade

Pastel Color swatch with green, yellow, and pink

Pastel Color swatch with green, yellow, and pink

Robbie Caponetto

  1. Benjamin Moore North Shore Green

  2. Sherwin-Williams Friendly Yellow

  3. Sherwin-Williams Charming Pink

  4. Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue