Red tile roofs have been a beloved architectural feature around the world for millennia, from ancient structures in China, where clay roofing tile originated, to buildings along the Mediterranean, to Spanish-style stucco houses here in the United States. Red tiles come in different shapes (such as barrel, flat, and pan) and are made from natural materials, like slate, concrete, and clay, as well as synthetics that mimic their appearance. For those who love historic homes, red tile roofs are an element of which we can't get enough, especially considering how beautifully they age. Even in newer homes that incorporate red tiles, the roof is always a focal point.
Shades of red tile roofs vary, and your roof tile may even be a mix of them: terra cotta, a darker desert red, a brownish-red, and burgundy, for instance. In their Mediterranean work, L.A. firm Evens Architects often uses antique tile with a beautiful patina of age, but with new tile, they use a custom blend of colors. "The challenge is to find an exterior paint color that complements the beauty of the tile roof without competing or distracting from it," says founding partner Erik Evens, a lifelong Southern California resident who is thus well versed in the Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean revival homes with red tile that populate the Southland.
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The architect shares two approaches when choosing house colors for red tile roofs. "One option is to choose a warm color in the same family as the hue of the tile: red, peach, orange. This is a safe choice, as these colors tend to blend with the roof color and complement it." The other option Evens suggests for those who would like to be more daring is to select a cooler color, such as azure, cobalt, slate, dark blue, or eucalyptus. "These colors provide a cool counterpoint to the warmth of the roof and paving and perhaps the warm tones of off-white plaster," he says (if you're using a bright color as an accent).
As you consider colors, also ask yourself if you want an exterior paint that honors the architectural style of your home or departs from it. Some people choose to modernize an older home with a red tile roof by painting the exterior a more imaginative hue and adding decorative trim. Whatever your choice, a beautiful exterior paint color is sure to increase curb appeal and make you a little happier each time you come home.
Let's look at some possibilities.
8 Exterior Colors for Red Tile Roofs
Pairing red tile roofs with a neutral like white is a safe and classic choice, but an accent color can take the combination to the next level. The dark green railings, beams, and gutters on this 1931 Spanish-style building in Los Angeles' Silver Lake neighborhood make it look fresh and modern. The preserved mural, meanwhile, hints at its long history.
Like white, beige is a pleasing companion to a red tile roof. The color may lack drama, but maybe that's exactly your goal: calm and quaint. Here, the home's barrel roof and landscaping bring the excitement. Other neutral colors to consider include taupe, tan, light brown, and varying shades of off-white.
Get the look: Behr Peach Beige Satin
What a statement when a home with a red tile roof is painted completely in a vibrant color like orange. In the countryside, this brightly colored 1600s Suffolk estate with its tiled roof is as charming as can be, fitting for its location. Its white door and window frames enhance the home's cheery appearance. (If you find this scene irresistible, Under the Thatch will happily accommodate a visit!)
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Charlotte's Locks
This Spanish Colonial revival, a project of Evens Architects, honors the architectural history of California. Surprisingly, this was a new build, but it feels a century old. The cream paint, stained-wood shutters, and terra cotta roof all play roles in taking us back in time. The neutral color also complements the inviting stone stairway.
Get the look: Glidden Ivory Cream
5. Terra Cotta
This 1935 Spanish revival home in the hills of Los Angeles previously had an off-white exterior before going to terra cotta. The desert color blends easily with the tile roof. Together with the green landscaping, it feels like quite the oasis.
Get the look: Behr Terra Cotta Clay
May this creative color display make you smile. In Southern California, we're no strangers to pink and peach-colored red tile homes. Likewise, turquoise applied as a trim on white and cream Spanish and Mediterranean homes is a common sight. We love how this homeowner applied turquoise and rust paint to frame the windows of the uplifting exterior.
You need not go all red to make an impression. This 1932 Barcelona apartment building, designed by engineer George Fosdyke in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, uses red as a stunning accent. The painted staircase and woodwork beautifully complement the tile roof.
Get the look: Valspar Cut Ruby
8. Mustard Yellow
Whatever its architectural style, a yellow house will always give off an uplifting mood, as if it's bathed in sunshine year-round. Warm mustard yellow provides a comforting companion — that precious golden-hour glow — to the multitoned red tile roof and dark wood elements of this home. It's perfectly complemented by a spray of bougainvillea flowers.
Get the look: Glidden Yellow Coneflower
As Evens noted, a cool color like eucalyptus green provides a welcoming contrast to the warmth of terra cotta tile. Look how clean this garage looks, with the walls and door painted the same shade of green and the brick side wall echoing the color of the tile. Imagine the same monochrome scheme for your front door, providing a soothing welcome each time you come home.
Get the look: Behr Gallery Green
Important Factors to Consider
As you choose an exterior color scheme, keep in mind your home's architectural style, woodwork, and landscaping as well as the natural color palette of your region. You can't go wrong with neutrals, but you can also experiment with brighter colors. Contrasting door colors always make a statement, as can garage doors. And don't sleep on trim, window frames, gutters, and woodwork. These extra touches can add a historic or playful accent to your home.
The landscaping around your home can also influence your house paint color choice. You may want to think twice about painting your house green if you already have tall green plants right in front of your home, for example.
Also consider the climate in which you live and how your color choice will feel year-round under different weather conditions. The degree of sun your home receives affects how paint colors will look over time. For instance, Southern desert climates fade paint more rapidly than cloudier Northern climates.
Exterior Colors That Go With Red Tile Roofs
Red roof tiles are an attractive feature worth preserving, and they can work with many different colors. Neutrals let your roof tiles pop, while bolder colors can be vibrant and playful. Go for warm colors to match your roof or try complementary colors in cool tones, like blue and green. If you're choosing a color family that is different from your red tile, architect Erik Evens has this piece of advice: "You don't want it to be so bold as to become a distraction."
Here's a recap of exterior paint colors that pair with red tile roofs:
- Terra cotta
- Mustard yellow