You probably don’t light your home with candles, and you likely aren’t grinding pigments in a paint mill or boiling linseed oil in a copper kettle to make paints either. As you might imagine, a lot has changed since the Victorian era and that includes progress when it comes to the world of paint. This includes areas such as paint selection, paint analysis, paint trends and more. Luckily, today this means there is more knowledge available to help educate, inspire and assist you in the planning of your exterior painting project for your Victorian home.
Let’s talk about a few things to know when it comes to choosing a paint color scheme to bring out the timeless beauty of your Victorian style house.
Keeping it Original
If you’re a historically conscious homeowner or your house has an important architectural pedigree, you may be interested in learning about your home’s original color scheme and possibly restoring it to those established colors. You could go so far as to commission a paint analysis, but you’ll also be make some deductions based on clues you’ve found, such as old paint surfaces located atop moldings, in rarely repainted closets, or that emerged with the removal of old wallpaper.
You may even wish to undertake a sand-and-scrape analysis.
After all, this was the standard method of determining a paint chronology (the sequence of colors applied to a surface) just a generation ago closer to the time many Victorian homes were built. The process is pretty simple and consists of simply scraping, sanding, or otherwise exposing the various layers of paint. Keep in mind the colors will appear faded and some will likely have lost their original tones due to sun exposure, oxidation, and the passage of time.
Exploring Your Paint Options
The original paint color schemes from the mid-1800s, when Victorian style houses began to show up in America, were muted and earthy given they were derived from natural pigments. By the late 1800s the exuberant Queen Anne style grew more popular, which also marked the first use of synthetic pigments that allowed for vivid greens, blues, purples and yellows.
Due to the findings from some of the fine work done restoring many historic sites and houses, most paint manufacturers have established collections of hues that replicate popular colors from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century. This means Victorian home owners can honor the historic character of their homes while also using modern water-based paints that offer easy clean-up and shorter drying times. Many of these products are also more environmentally friendly, as low- or no-VOC paints emit fewer volatile organic compounds. Today, modern paint technology also allows for the option of using a much broader array of colors, including saturated shades that, until recently, were prone to fading.
Once you’ve determined to what extent you’d like to stick with traditional palettes or branch out into something bold, you’ll likely want to check out some tried-and-true color schemes used on Victorian homes as well as some rules for paint color schemes to guide you on choosing your color palette.
Just like Thomas Jefferson did in his day, you get to exercise your taste when choosing paint colors for your home. But you’ll likely need some help narrowing down your choices to find that perfect color scheme and choosing the right combination of colors for the subtle architectural details and styles unique to your Victorian home.
View examples of color schemes and get exterior color tips by visiting the Valspar guide to Victorian exterior styles.
Get inspiration from examples of authentic color schemes used on historic homes by browsing Sherwin-Williams’ historic paint color collections.
Looking for guidance on creating a cohesive color scheme for your Victorian home? This post on 12 Rules for Victorian Polychrome Paint Schemes may be helpful.
Choosing an Exterior Paint Contractor for Your Victorian Home
Paint Denver has extensive experience painting historic homes and buildings. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality service and communication and the job is only complete when you are 100% satisfied with our work! Please contact us today to request a quote and consultation on your Victorian style home.