Selecting paint colors for the exterior of your home can be fun and exciting. However, for historic homeowners, the decision is often more complicated. It’s often helpful to know what the original colors were and then research what is historically accurate. A good place to start is the year your home was built. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, most paints were mixed in small batches using naturally found earth pigments; reds, yellows, and greens. After paint production was industrialized, the pallet for exteriors became more bold and ornate; purple, burgundy, yellows and bright greens.

When deciding to paint a Victorian home, there are two common mistakes. The first is to paint it white as white has the potential of covering the details that are important in this period. The second is to paint too bright, as bright colors and the contrast between adjacent colors is too great. It is important to mention that light, or white, trim colors were not commonly used until the 20th century.

Here are a few general things to remember when choosing paint for your Victorian Home;

  1. Highlight architectural elements by using breaks between colors.
  2. Avoid stark contrasts and excessive highlighting of small architectural details.
  3. Use a transition color to break-up light and dark colors.
  4. Use darker colors at the bottom and lighter colors at the top of an architectural element.

It is important to note that Victorian is a term that covers lots of different styles. Elements include carved columns, gables, gable posts, scrollwork, porch railings, spindles, brackets, ornate molding, and gingerbread trim. Each call for specific techniques to paint effectively. Luckily, Hand On Painters specializes in painting historic homes.