For decades, white farmhouses have been a staple of the scenic and serene countrysides of America. They've even inspired the ever-popular farmhouse look in interior design thanks to Joanna and Chip Gaines on Fixer Upper. Can we ever really get sick of walls and walls of shiplap or a classic white exterior?
But have you ever wondered the real reason farmhouse exteriors are almost always painted white? Aside from aesthetics, there are a few good reasons why homeowners skip the color and stay with tradition, even for modern farmhouses.
What might surprise you is that in the old day, "white paint" wasn't actually painted at all! There's practical reasoning behind why they are colored this way, after all. Namely, they're whitewashed with a lime-based mixture in the name of utilitarian logic.
As it turns out, whitewashing your farmhouse makes sense for very practical reasons. For starters, whitewash is cheaper than choosing a shade of white paint color. Since it's just made of lime, water and salt, it can even be crafted by hand at home.
Whitewash is also much safer for animals than traditional paint, as it has zero toxins. If you have animals near your farmhouse, whitewashing your exterior helps keep them happy and healthy.
Lastly, whitewash is a natural disinfectant for wood. Many people who look over old farmhouses choose to whitewash them since the mildew-battling mixture keeps dangerous fungi at bay.
So next time you're scoping out countryside real estate and you see white houses, you'll not only know the story behind the color, but you'll know how it was achieved without any paint. Obviously, if you want to design the exterior of your own home in the farmhouse style, you can DIY with real paint to get the same look.
This story originally ran on Jan. 18, 2020.