Victorian House Color Schemes
Choosing Authentic Exterior Paint Colors
By Mary McCarthy
Victorian paint colors give authenticity to a
19th century home. Here are some tips for choosing
authentic exterior paint color schemes for old
or new Victorians.
If your house was built between 1850 and 1920,
chances are it is one form or another of Victorian
architecture. Detailed gingerbread woodwork, bold
brackets and enormous shutters beg for a color
scheme that will complement their detail. When
choosing paint colors, historic homeowners (that’s
an old house, not necessarily an old homeowner!)
should try to stay true to the historical nature
of the home. An Italianate Victorian built in
1855 would have a much different color scheme
than a Queen Anne built in 1895.
Luckily for homeowners, Sherwin Williams (type
‘Victorian’ in their search browser)
has a great selection of historical paint colors
available in easy-to-determine available catalogs.
In Victorian times, natural earth-tone colors
were favored, as a result of Victorian homeowners'
fascination with nature. White was rarely used-
more common were shades of green, brown, red,
and mustard. The “Painted Ladies”
of San Francisco are often found in more vibrant
tones of purple, pink, and mauve, but the true
Victorian-era homes were originally painted in
much more natural tones.
You are going to be looking at these colors for
a long time. Pay attention to colors of surrounding
houses, your roof color, etc. Consider all the
combinations of colors, dark and light and different
shades of the same color- remember that darker
paint colors will fade over time in sunlight.
Look Before You Leap
It's a great idea to purchase a sample container
of a few colors and paint a few boards on the
house so you can determine which earth tones will
look best. Tiny paint samples in a brochure are
hard to imagine on an entire house and you might
find the shades look very different in daylight.
Ask Your Victorian House Painting Question Here!
For Local Victorian Home Painters and Services
Things you’ll need for victorian house
• Bleach, soap
• Walk boards and planks, ladder jacks
• Scrub brushes and buckets
• Oil Primer
• 100% Acrylic satin latex exterior house
• Brushes / roller / or sprayer
• Drop cloths
• Paper tape, tape machine
• Caulk, caulk gun
• Wood filler
Quick Guide How to Paint an Historic
Repair or replace any damaged surfaces,
1. Wash off all surfaces with a professional
grade pressure washer and bleah water mixture,
this will reduce the overall time of hand scraping,
and hand washing. Make sure to allow all surfaces
to dry thoroughly.
2. Use sandpaper and a paint scraper to remove
all loose, chipping, cracked or blistered paint
- down to raw surfaces if necessary. Make sure
to use a respirator or mask to protect yourself.
Use a small drop cloth as you go to catch loose
bits of paint and debris. If you feel the exterior
needs to be sandblasted, or chemically stripped
hire a professional painting contractor.
3. Patch any nail or screw holes, caulk around
windows, doors, overhangs, trim, where siding
meets, miters joint, etc. Caulk such places as
seams and corners, above door and window trim,
and where trim meets the siding
4. Use epoxy wood filler to repair bigger more
serious problems in woodwork or siding
5. Sand all rough or glossy surfaces; paint
needs a slightly roughened surface to stick to,
by sanding glossy surfaces you are providing key
so the paint can stick. You can also use paint
deglosser on all glossy surfaces.
Remove or cover all light fixtures, plumbing outlets,
electrical covers and house numbers. Roemove or
protect all screens.
7. Use drop cloths to cover everything you don't
want to paint, such as plants, walkways, cars
and your neighbors' property.
8. Apply primer over all raw surfaces. In many
situations where the paint on the siding has deteriorated
and where mold and mildew is accessible it’s
best to prime the entire house. Note that different
surfaces - paint, metal, wood, stucco - require
9. Allow the primer to dry completely, then
apply one-two coats of exterior paint. Let each
coat dry between applications according to the
manufacturer's specifications and instructions.