Spanish-style homes have distinct design and character. With any specific architectural style, it can be challenging to update the exterior while staying true to the original intent. This is why we put together a list of exterior design ideas for your Spanish-style house that will freshen things up without sacrificing the style’s true nature.
If your Spanish-style house needs an update, we can show you what that would look like through our digital exterior design service here at brick&batten. We’ll come up with a digital rendering of new paint colors, windows, roofing, and more!
What Is a Spanish-Style Home?
The Spanish colonized what is now the southeast and southwest of the United States starting in the 1500s. Since the climate was similar, they built homes in the same architectural style with whatever materials were readily available. Also called the Spanish Colonial style, the characteristics of these homes include the following:
- dark carved woods
- exposed beams
- warm color palette
- white or off-white stucco
- red barrel tile roof
- small windows
- narrow courtyards
Naturally, some of these design details are practical. Thick walls with white stucco over adobe brick or stone and small windows helped keep the houses cool in the hot weather. Spanish-style houses typically do not have interior hallways, but instead a series of rooms built onto each other. As such, the narrow courtyards also act as hallways or breezeways between rooms. Finally, the exposed wood beams are often structural support for the low pitch or flat roof.
Any home with these features built after the 1800s is actually considered Spanish Revival. Depending on the geography, different Spanish-style homes might have different features, like a second-story with a balcony. You might also find turrets, bell towers, and arched doorways that mimic churches also built by the Spanish during that time period.
#1 // Second-Story Balcony
Not all Spanish-style homes will feature a second-story balcony. More typical in California, these extra outdoor spaces can be small or large, like with this home. Our designers updated the railing with matching woodgrain and landscaping for privacy. Beautiful tile work takes things next level. The balcony now is a beautiful, cohesive feature, instead of an afterthought.
#2 // Paint It White
The off-white painted stucco is truly essential for any Spanish-style house. It reflects the sunlight, making for a cooler home, and also highlights the distinctive texture in the brick or stonework that give these homes so much character. As you’ll see in many of our examples, the paint color makes a big difference.
#3 // Add Siding Accents
If you want to spice up the Spanish look of your home, add some color or modern design elements. Our designers suggested siding a section of the house above in a coordinating warm color and adding darker features for a moodier vibe. The stone and stucco were painted with an off-white color to maintain the Spanish-style roots for a unique blend to update this home’s exterior.
#4 // Update Windows
While arches are characteristic of Spanish-style homes, they’re not always necessary (or in the budget). In this example, the updated square windows fit well with the high-pitched roof angles. The black grid is reminiscent of the wrought iron grates on traditional Spanish-style windows. Lastly, the wood frames pay homage to the traditional beams seen in Spanish homes’ interiors.
#5 // Open Up the Portale
In Spanish-style homes, there are typically multiple doors leading to an outside breezeway, often called a portale or corredor. These narrow courtyards serve as an outdoor living and cooking space as well as providing easy access to the home’s interior rooms. In this example, our designers chose to open up the portale with large glass sliders to the courtyard and pool. This gave a more welcoming feel to the outdoor space.
#6 // Add Wood Accents
If your home isn’t already built in a Spanish-style, our designers can suggest a few exterior home ideas that can help you bring in that feel. To start, try painting your home in a warm white and adding wood accents. Since wood beams, doors, and shutters are traditionally part of Spanish architecture, the after renderings of these homes both have a more distinct Spanish feel with woodgrain doors and garages.
#7 // Remove Columns
While Spanish-style and Mediterranean architecture is similar — Spain is in the Mediterranean after all — columns are more ornate and indicative of a Mediterranean-style home. On this home, our designers chose to remove the columns surrounding the windows and entryway. This results in a simple, clean, and uniform look that is still a hallmark of the Spanish-style home but feels more modern.
#8 // Add a Pop of Color
Spanish-style homes, with their plain white stucco inside and out, leave room for pops of color, whether with painted tile staircases or a teal front door. If you’re looking to add a little personality to your home, painting your front door is a simple way to change the feel of your home without sacrificing the specific style.
#9 // Make the Outdoors Inviting
The exterior living space of a Spanish-style home is definitely important to the overall aesthetic and architecture. It’s also practical as many of these homes are located in warm climates. Our designers made the outdoor space above easily accessible with multiple slider doors leading out from different rooms in the house. The multiple seating areas around the pool (out of frame) make the home warm and inviting, as well.
#10 // Add Wrought Iron Features
Colonial Spanish-style homes did not have glass in their windows, but wooden shutters that closed from the inside and a wrought-iron grate that allowed the breeze to come in. If you’re looking to add a touch of Spanish-style flair to your home’s exterior, we recommend adding black or wrought iron accents.
The Bottom Line on Spanish-Style Homes
Spanish-style homes are part of a unique architectural and colonial history and have their own design requirements. We hope these exterior design ideas help you spruce up the curb appeal of your Spanish-style house while staying true to the warm, casual nature of the style.
Complete our quick survey and partner with us on determining which exterior design style is right for your home. Whether you have an old Spanish-style house, a modern revival, or something in between, our designers can visualize new home exterior ideas that will add to your curb appeal.
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As an expert in Spanish-style homes and their architectural design, I can confidently provide you with information related to the concepts used in the article. Spanish-style homes are known for their distinct design and character, and updating the exterior while staying true to the original intent can be a challenge. However, with the right design ideas, you can freshen up your Spanish-style house without sacrificing its true nature.
One concept mentioned in the article is the use of a digital exterior design service offered by brick&batten. This service provides a digital rendering of new paint colors, windows, roofing, and more, allowing homeowners to visualize the potential changes to their Spanish-style home.
To understand what constitutes a Spanish-style home, it's important to know its historical background. The Spanish colonized the southeast and southwest regions of the United States in the 1500s. They built homes in the same architectural style as their native country, using materials readily available in the area. These homes, also known as Spanish Colonial style, have several distinguishing characteristics, including dark carved woods, exposed beams, a warm color palette, white or off-white stucco, barrel tile roofs, small windows, and narrow courtyards.
The practicality of these design details is evident. Thick walls with white stucco over adobe brick or stone, along with small windows, help keep the houses cool in hot weather. Spanish-style homes typically lack interior hallways and instead have a series of rooms built onto each other. Narrow courtyards serve as hallways or breezeways between rooms. Exposed wood beams, often seen inside the homes, are structural supports for the low-pitched or flat roofs.
It's worth noting that any home built after the 1800s with these features is considered Spanish Revival. Depending on the geography, Spanish-style homes may have additional features such as a second story with a balcony, turrets, bell towers, and arched doorways resembling churches built by the Spanish during that time period.
Now, let's dive into the exterior design ideas mentioned in the article:
Second-Story Balcony: Not all Spanish-style homes have a second-story balcony, but it is more common in California. Adding or updating a balcony can enhance the outdoor living space and aesthetics of your home. Consider updating the railing, incorporating beautiful tile work, and ensuring it blends seamlessly with the overall design.
Paint It White: Off-white painted stucco is essential for any Spanish-style home. It reflects sunlight, keeping the interior cool, and highlights the unique texture of the brick or stonework. The choice of paint color can significantly impact the overall appearance.
Add Siding Accents: To add modern design elements or spice up the Spanish look of your home, consider adding siding accents. Siding a section of the house in a coordinating warm color, along with darker features, can create a moodier vibe while maintaining the Spanish-style roots.
Update Windows: While arched windows are characteristic of Spanish-style homes, they are not always necessary or within budget. Square windows can be a suitable alternative, especially when they fit well with the high-pitched roof angles. Consider adding black grids reminiscent of wrought iron grates often found on traditional Spanish-style windows. Wood frames can pay homage to the traditional beams seen in Spanish homes' interiors.
Open Up the Portale: Spanish-style homes typically have multiple doors leading to an outdoor breezeway, called a portale or corredor. These narrow courtyards serve as outdoor living and cooking spaces while providing easy access to the interior rooms. Opening up the portale with large glass sliders to the courtyard and pool can create a more welcoming feel.
Add Wood Accents: If your home is not already built in a Spanish-style, you can incorporate exterior home ideas to bring in that feel. Start by painting your home in a warm white and adding wood accents, such as beams, doors, and shutters. These traditional Spanish architectural elements can enhance the overall design.
Remove Columns: While Spanish-style and Mediterranean architecture share similarities, columns are more ornate and indicative of Mediterranean-style homes. Removing columns surrounding the windows and entryway can result in a simple, clean, and uniform look that still represents the Spanish-style home while feeling more modern.
Add a Pop of Color: Spanish-style homes typically have plain white stucco inside and out, leaving room for pops of color. Consider painting your front door or incorporating painted tile staircases to add personality and change the feel of your home without compromising the specific style.
Make the Outdoors Inviting: The exterior living space of a Spanish-style home is vital to its overall aesthetic and practicality, especially in warm climates. Ensure easy accessibility to the outdoor space by incorporating multiple slider doors leading from different rooms in the house. Create multiple seating areas around the pool to make the home warm and inviting.
Add Wrought Iron Features: Traditional Spanish-style homes had wooden shutters instead of glass in their windows, along with wrought-iron grates that allowed the breeze to come in. Adding black or wrought-iron accents can give your home's exterior a touch of Spanish-style flair.
In conclusion, Spanish-style homes have a unique architectural and colonial history, and their design requirements are distinct. By following these exterior design ideas, you can enhance the curb appeal of your Spanish-style house while staying true to its warm and casual nature. Remember, our designers at brick&batten can help you visualize new home exterior ideas tailored to your specific Spanish-style home.