Shades of periwinkle and coral are combined on this elaborate window.

Paint Schemes for Victorian Homes

by Michelle Powell-Smith

Victorian homes -- sometimes referred to as painted ladies -- offer an opportunity to create a colorful, classic and stunning paint scheme. These houses disprove any notion of a black-and-white past, offering up shades of blue, green, rose and violet. When choosing a color scheme for your Victorian home, opt for colors you love and that the Victorians would have adored to combine your own sense of style with the history your home deserves.

Planning Your Palette

If you're painting the exterior of a Victorian home, choose a palette of at least three to four shades; however, you may use five to six colors on an ornate Victorian. Include at least two coordinating shades and one contrasting color. Typically, the coordinating shades are used for the roof and siding, while the contrasting shades are used on the trim, porches, railings and other accents. Choose the scope of your palette based upon your home. The more ornate the trim and detailing on the exterior of your home, the more elaborate your color palette can, and should, be.

Picking Your Color Palette

Victorian homes ranged from subtle earth tones to much more colorful and vivid tones, both on the trim and siding. A number of paint companies offer reproductions of historical paint colors, allowing you to choose a palette that would have been popular during your home's heyday. Even more colorful tones should be slightly muted, rather than clear. For a bold painted lady, consider a rich blue-green, warm gray, terracotta and light rosy beige. Alternatively, if you prefer a more neutral look, try a soft sand shade paired with brick, deep red, and forest green. Experiment and explore different palettes and different proportions.

Color Proportions

Your palette of three to five paint tones provides the color scheme for your Victorian home. Most Victorian homes use a light-to-medium shade for the siding, a coordinating medium-to-dark shade for the roof and contrasting-color accents. While this is common, it is not essential. You can opt for a higher contrast roof and siding, if you prefer. The trim and accents are most often painted in the high-contrast colors in your paint scheme. You may have light or bright contrasting colors or use both in your palette.

Victorian Interiors

Many of the same colors used on Victorian exteriors were also used on the interior. Darker tones were often favored on interiors, with walls in shades of plum, gray, rose, amber and sage. If you don't favor dark-toned walls, opt to use these rich, muted tones in furnishings and accents, rather than on the walls. Many will pair well with softer shades of peach, beige, taupe or pale gray for a lighter appearance.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

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