What Color Were Most Victorian Houses

The Victorian era

Queen Victoria reigned in England from 1837 to 1901, during which flourished Victorian architecture and design. Buildings were grand and ornate, often with a range of colors, such as sage green, burgundy, ochre, and blue. Originally, white was a favoured color for houses, but with cheaper paints, homeowners became bolder. Most Victorians had at least three distinct shades on the outside.

Though many people think of Victorians as dark and spooky, this was only true for a few. Many architectural styles emerged during this era, resulting in a variety of colored buildings.

In San Francisco, a great example of the colour schemes available is ‘the Painted Ladies.’ These are vibrant, unique homes with bold design features, which were common back in the day.

Why choose one color when you can have them all? The Victorians certainly didn’t!

Colors used in Victorian houses

In the Victorian era, homes were painted with varied color schemes. A table to showcase “Colors used in Victorian houses” depicts Emerald Green, Rust Red, and Chocolate Brown as popular exterior shades. Ash Gray, Sky Blue, and Pink were also trendy for interior walls. Additionally, homeowners were inclined to have a mix of hues on their homes’ architectural details. Some unique details of the time were colorful stained glass windows and contrasting color schemes for intricate woodwork.

According to the historic UK website, the most popular exterior paint brands of the era included Dulux, Berger and Farrow & Ball. A true fact about Victorian paint is that it was made from natural ingredients, such as linseed oil, chalk, and pigment. (Source: Britannica)

“Who needs a dreary grey exterior when you can paint your house a scandalous shade of red and really make the neighbors gossip?”

Exterior house colors

Victorians were known for their love of bright, bold colors on their homes. Contrasting trim with body, earthy tones, and reds, blues, and purples – they wanted to stand out! Global trends meant similar color schemes were seen in North America too.

Not everyone went for wild color! Some kept to neutral hues or stone finishes. World War II restricted color options due to resource shortages. Yet, people still kept the dream of elaborate exteriors alive.

Today, painting your walls can be a way to make a Victorian blush!

Interior house colors

During Queen Victoria’s prosperous reign, the colors of a home were a sign of class and wealth. Victorian homes had bright color schemes on walls, ceilings and trimmings. Green, blue, beige and red were common. Damask or striped patterns were popular. Wooden panels were either darkly painted or covered with wallpaper. The ceiling was usually white, but sometimes had light floral designs or stenciling. Carpets, curtains and upholstery matched or contrasted with the color scheme. Gold accents added a touch of luxury.

Gothic Revival style often used darker hues. Eastlake-style favored turquoise, mustard yellow and teal as accents. Bay windows were often decorated with bold-colored paneling. It created a focal point in reception or dining rooms.

Fun Fact: In 1856, Winsor & Newton made a ‘Portable Sketcher’s Box’ for plein air painting. So if you want to know what colors are popular, just take a look around the neighborhood!

Factors influencing color choices

Factors influencing the color schemes of Victorian houses were diverse. Apart from the availability of natural pigments, social status, geographical location, and architectural style, factors played a crucial role in determining the color palette of a given house.

Social status, for instance, was a significant determinant of the color scheme of Victorian houses. Wealthy people preferred bold, dark, and bright colors, such as deep red, royal blue, and emerald green, while the middle class preferred lighter shades like yellow, mauve, and light blue. The type of architecture also played a role, with Gothic Revival and Italianate styles lawning themselves to rich dark colors, while Queen Anne styles worked better with brighter shades like turquoise and purple.

The pigments used for both interior and exterior purposes were obtained from various sources, including synthetic dyes, plant extracts, and minerals. Some of these pigments have since become rare or unavailable, leading to a shortage of specific colors and interestingly resulting in a trade of old pigments into “dead cities” in search of needed pigments desperate owners lacked.

The color choices of Victorian houses reflect the era’s incredible wealth, and a more prominent and stable middle class in the late 19th century. The period was also notable for improving railway infrastructure and increased long-distance connectivity catalyzing the transportation of new materials and bright new pigments from all over the world, resulting in a diverse colour palette and exciting new choices for interior and exterior home design.

In Victorian times, your social status was revealed through the color of your house – because nothing says ‘I’m wealthy’ like a bright shade of neon pink.

Social status

Socio-economic status and wealth are key factors in an individual’s color selection. Wealthy people often choose bright, bold hues that symbolize success and power. People may also imitate the color choices of those with higher socio-economic standings, to achieve social mobility.

Designer labels’ signature colors, like Hermes’ orange, suggest exclusivity and luxury. Depending on occupation, lawyers usually choose darker shades such as blue or black, while artists tend to gravitate towards brighter tones as a reflection of their creativity.

Cultural customs, varying from region to region, can also have an effect on color choices. For instance, red is a lucky color in China, while white is associated with death and mourning in many other cultures.

The Pantone Color Institute conducted a study that found blues to be the most popular color globally, regardless of gender and age. This was based on data from countries such as China, Germany, England, India and the United States. Thus, it’s apparent that availability of materials play a huge role in determining color choices—who needs a rainbow?

Availability of materials

When it comes to colors, availability can be a big factor. A company’s ability to source certain hues or shades can heavily influence their products or branding.

To demonstrate this, let’s look at a table. Here are some common industries and materials, along with the available colors:

Industry Example Material Available Colors
Fashion Silk Pastels, Jewel Tones
Automotive Paints Metallics
Food & Beverage Dyes Primary Colors

From this, we can see that different industries and materials have different types of colors available. This affects the aesthetics of a product or brand. It also makes them unique from others in the same industry.

What’s also interesting is some colors may be more popular than others, despite being easily accessible. This could be due to cultural associations or marketing strategies.

Therefore, when you’re looking at colors for a project, keep in mind the availability of materials. Don’t limit yourself to common hues – explore beyond what’s expected!

Architectural style

The style of construction and design of buildings greatly impacts the choice of colors. Different architectural styles, like modern, Art Deco, and Gothic Revival, have unique color schemes that emphasize their distinct characteristics. Applying colors that coordinate with the chosen style creates a unified, harmonious look.

Picking the right colors for architectural styles is essential. Colors on buildings can communicate messages and feelings to those who see them. Art Deco buildings, for example, often show off vibrant colors like gold and silver, expressing their luxuriousness. Gothic Revival structures, on the other hand, feature darker shades like black or red, highlighting their haunting quality.

Moreover, the color trends in architecture reflect changes in society’s values and beliefs. In the Middle Ages, white was widely used in religious buildings as it symbolized innocence and virtue. But as society moved away from religion, buildings started to show more creativity and flair through their bolder color schemes.

Nowadays, certain iconic buildings are known as much for their color choices as for their design. Examples include Carnegie Hall in New York City with its Italian Renaissance style or La Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece, exhibiting Catalan Modernism. These structures’ unusual colors demonstrate their creators’ dedication to creating something special, while making the buildings recognizable around the world.

Popular colors for Victorian houses

Victorian-era houses were renowned for their striking and diverse palettes, reflecting the progress and prosperity of the time. In terms of popular colors, there were a number of options that homeowners could choose from to give their abodes a unique and stylish look. Here are four colors that were particularly popular for Victorian houses:

  1. Warm earthy hues like ochre and terracotta were commonly used as exterior colors, providing a sense of stability and solidity to the structure.
  2. Bright and vibrant shades of red, yellow, blue and green were also fashionable. These colors were applied in different ways, usually with contrasting schemes that enhanced the depth and complexity of the house’s facade.
  3. Neutral tones such as gray and white were often combined with bolder colors, creating a distinctive balance between light and dark shades.
  4. Darker, more dramatic colors like navy blue or hunter green were sometimes used to accentuate the architectural details of the house, adding depth and character to the overall look.

It’s worth noting that the popularity of certain colors varied by region and cultural influences, with some areas favoring only a few specific shades. No matter what color was chosen, however, Victorian houses always sought to inspire a sense of pride and sophistication in their owners.

Interestingly, despite its name, the “Victorian” color palette was not actually established until much later, when the construction of these homes had long passed. The term was actually coined in 1951 by the paint company Sherwin-Williams as a way to market their line of historic house colors, which were inspired by the hues found in surviving examples of Victorian-era homes.

Looks like the Victorians were really passionate about their houses- red was the color of love, and apparently also the color of exteriors.


A rich, deep shade of rust or dried blood is a popular hue for Victorian houses. You can use burgundy, cranberry, or maroon to achieve this look. It gives off a sense of warmth and stability that blends perfectly with the architecture.

Adding red accents to the exterior can highlight window frames or gables. Or, you can go for an overall color scheme. Consider the surrounding homes and landscapes when selecting this bold shade.

Pair it with natural materials such as wood and stone. Brick and stained-glass windows can be used to enhance the aesthetic appeal.

Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837-1901 saw deep reds as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. This historically significant color adds elegance and prestige to your property. Your neighbors will be green with envy!


Victorians favored a natural shade for their homes, resembling lush foliage. This hue evokes feelings of growth, prosperity, and serenity. Common choices include muted sage greens, olive greens, and forest greens. These colors complement the intricate trimmings of the houses.

Green represents balance, nature, and renewal. It can be a highlight or an accent to other colors. Plus, it promotes harmony with neighboring structures and the environment.

Using green paint for wood exteriors wasn’t always popular in Victorian times. Houses were usually coated in their natural material, with ornamental detailing painted in brighter hues like red, blue, and yellow. It was only later that people started painting exterior surfaces green. This was due to a heightened environmental awareness.

Green is still a popular choice among Victorian house fans. It blends with nature and stands out strikingly against its surroundings. Blue houses were the trend back then, although it’s not clear why. Maybe people were feeling blue due to the lack of heating?


Why settle for yellow when you can paint your Victorian house in blue shades? Light or dark hues can add depth to the exuberant style of the architecture. Navy blue works well with ivory trims and white detailing. Sky blue or periwinkle suit red bricks or stone accents. Enhance the color scheme with ornate details in gold or bronze. Go bolder with teal or turquoise to accentuate the grandeur. Optimize natural lighting with large windows and mirrors. Consult an expert to make sure the choice suits the character perfectly. Be the envy of the neighborhood with a stunning and timeless look.


Yellow, associated with happiness and optimism, is often chosen for the exterior of Victorian houses. Its ability to reflect sunlight and radiate warmth is attractive, plus its shades like pale yellow, buttercream, and lemon are gentle on the eyes. To create a warm and inviting effect, consider matching hues like peach or terracotta. Gold can add a touch of luxury, too.

For added impact, choose high-quality paint containing UV inhibitors. White millwork details, distressed wood accent pieces, or delicate lace curtains in soft pastel colors can also enhance the yellow facade.

Using yellow for the exterior of a Victorian house enables homeowners to show off their personality while creating an inviting ambiance. Pink may be too much for your neighbors, but at least they’ll have something to talk about!


Rose pink brings the romantic and elegant charm to Victorian houses. This color takes you back to the 19th century. It looks great on wood or brick surfaces and highlights intricate details. Consider lighter shades of pink for delicate patterns. Ivory accents can emphasize a retro feel.

If you want bolder hues, try fuchsia or magenta. They are perfect for contemporary designs and jazz up dark colors while keeping the traditional vibe. Always get a sample color swatch and test it to make sure it fits your home’s aesthetic. Victorian houses show that color is timeless – bold and bright or subdued and neutral.

Conclusion: Overall color trends in Victorian houses

Victorian houses had a wide selection of colors! Red, green, brown, yellow, blue, purple and grey were the most popular. Dark colors were in fashion due to new pigment technology. Marbling and faux woodgrain made the homes look unique. People even coordinated colors with nearby buildings.

Pro Tip: To get an authentic Victorian-style home, use shades popular back then!