The history of house painting in America is an interesting story.

The earliest records of house painting are drawn from the stories painted by cave men (and women) on the inside of their caves. The primitive images tell us that humans have been interested in decorating their homes since the earliest of times.

House painting in America got off to a rocky start. The Pilgrims, known for their austere piety, considered painting one’s home to be a sure sign of pride and vanity. A clergyman in 1630 Charleston was charged with “sacrilege” for committing the sin of painting the interior of his home.

As the colonies grew and people became more prosperous, their attitudes about paint and color softened. The cost of importing paint was considerable, so early settlers created primitive products made from recipes that included items from nature. Whitewash was made from lime and oyster shells. Copper oxide produced vivid greens. Red oxide from iron was used to trim houses and paint barns. Other recipes might have included skimmed milk, egg white, coffee, or boiled rice. It seems a professionally painted home has always been a sign of prosperity and status.

Just like Americans’ choice of home architecture has changed, their choice of paint color changed, too. Check out this cool infographic from that shows you how home design and colors transformed over the 20th Century. It’s a true walk back in time.

Over time, front doors have become a symbol. During the Civil War, red doors indicated safety and refuge on the Underground Railroad. The Chinese consider red to be a lucky color, so they put a fresh coat of red paint on their front door as part of their New Year celebration. To the Scottish, a red door indicates a mortgage is paid. A homeowner with a blue door views her home as a place of refuge, calm and relaxing. Another popular color is green, the symbol of health and harmony, highly desirable traits in a home environment.

Americans have come to love color and they use it in every aspect of their life. Color therapy is recognized as an ancient healing art. Color affects us in ways that can soothe or excite.

The production of paint has improved greatly over time. Today’s paints are more eco-friendly. Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints reduce the gas emissions in your home, which can affect the overall health of your family. Another trend is the regionalization and customization of a paint to tolerate local weather conditions. Homes in Michigan don’t withstand the same kind of weather as Florida, for example. Michigan homes are subjected to extreme weather conditions, from the deep freeze of winter to the rain and sunshine of summer. Brands like Motor City Paint are developed to withstand Michigan’s rugged weather conditions assuring a longer-lasting finish to the home.

Bring your home’s history to life with color. At Motor City Paint – Shelby Paint & Decorating, our designers are trained to help you select just the right color for your next home project. We’ve mixed over 7 Million colors for our customers one gallon at a time. That’s why we are “Your Source of a Different Color!”