Interior Historic Paint Colors


Restoring an older home to its original glory drives many homeowners to search for colors typical of the period in which the home was built. Many paint companies offer palates of color indicative of a particular time period. Research the era when the home was built to understand what was common during the time. Many cities and towns feature restored homes that are available for touring. Also, consult the specialists at the local paint store to purchase historically accurate colors.

Colonial Colors

  • Colonial homes, which are the oldest homes built by European settlers in America, are characterized by clean, crisp colors. According to the Sherwin Williams website, navy, cream, peach and soft grays are ideal color choices for a Colonial-built home. Pair a navy wall with cream trim. A soft peach wall is complemented by a soft gray wall. Valspar, in accordance with the National Trust, has developed the Belle Grove colors. Colors were inspired by the 19th century country manor. Belle Grove colors include creams, peach, lavender and soft green-blues.

Arts and Crafts

  • The Arts and Crafts style of architecture arose in the early 1900s. During this time, color palates became bolder and richer when compared to colonial colors. Some of the favorite colors of the time include deep greens, burgundy, gold and deep gray blue. Pair deep colors with vibrant gray, pewter or white trim, suggests the Sherwin Williams website.

Victorian Age

  • The Victorian Age coincides with the Industrial Revolution in America, stretching from about 1840 to 1910. The Valspar paint company developed a series of colors based on the romantic, Victorian age mansion known as Lyndhurst, according to its website. Some of the classic colors of Lyndhurst include rose, jade, tan and sky blues. Colors of the era were soft and romantic. Sherwin Williams' Victorian era palate includes lilac, red and sage green.


  • The 1920s were a rollercoaster time period in America characterized by flappers, the rise of jazz, gangsters and prohibition. According to Sherwin Williams, homes in the '20s were often painted with deep and light contrasting shades. For example lilac and plum are used in one room while another room is painted in sky and peacock blue.


  • During the 1930s, many American families were feeling the depths of the Great Depression. According to Sherwin Williams, the homes of the times were often painted in warm, relaxing colors. These colors evoke a sense of home and simple sophistication. Some suggested colors include mauve, tan, deep greens, soft greens and light purples.


  • In America, the 1950s were characterized by the development of the modern suburb. Families were eager to develop a quiet, simple way of life following the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s. According to the 1950s color palate developed by Sherwin Williams, the '50s also saw the development of bright and vibrant interior paint. Favored colors include vibrant purples, bright blues, pinks and bright yellow-greens.

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