Favorite Interior Paint Colors? I Need Suggestions!

CassandraJanuary 12, 2008

I'm moving from a bungalow (dark stained trim, low ceilings, saturated colors on walls) to an entirely different atmosphere: a 1913 "transition" home with some arts-and-crafts details but also high Victorian ceilings, tons of light from huge windows, fabulous dentil moldings, etc. All the molding is painted white. Unlike my cozy, dark-interior bungalow, the atmosphere of the new place is light and bright. I haven't got a clue what colors to paint the walls (right now, the whole place is white painted). Should they be the saturated bungalow colors or the Victorian lighter colors? If anyone is willing to share favorite interior paint colors -- for any room -- I'd appreciate it! Pictures would be especially appreciated!

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We have sort of the same situation. Our house is a vernacular Victorian with very long windows and some modest Victorian trim that had always been painted lighter neutral colors, but was modified a couple times before 1926 with some very prominent Arts & Crafts features, especially in the LR. The LR actually has windows of both styles in it! My husband likes the A & C better than the Victorian styling, so we painted the LR walls a light yellowy cream and the trim darker brown. I looked at some A & C source books and all the homes depicted had neutral or very subtle, fairly neutral color on the walls, such as off whites and warm but pale creamy yellows. My office has a fireplace that suggests a & C, and a couple A & C windows on each side, so I painted the walls an off white and also the trim the same darker brown. None of the woodwork in the house had ever been stained, so I didn't strip anything for staining. I'll try to post some pictures later.
I've always thought that Victorian color palettes were much darker than A & C, in spite of the dark stained woods used so much in A & C architecture, so if you wish to preserve the very light atmosphere of your present Victorian home you may want to just choose whatever color does that, regardless of the style of the house.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 10:43AM
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The "Victorian" era stretches over enough time that interior paints typiclly found in homes changed with the fashion trends. In the early Victorian days lighter paints were more common but toward the end of the era, darker ones were prevalent, often in more expensive homes and definitely in certain rooms. I'm old enough I have been in Victorian homes with "original" paints and furnishings when I was a child, owned by elderly people who had not changed styles since their young days, and many were anything BUT light and airy. I have also owned two built in the Victorian era, and frankly, with all the very dark woodwork and wainscotting, I painted what I felt looked good in the rooms, and that mean going light. The thing with paint, is it's not going to ruin the integrity of the home to pick a paint you enjoy. It's easily remedied if you sell.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 8:28PM
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I found a picture that shows the 'hybrid' Arts & Crafts/Victorian features of my LR--A & C window with multiple panes on the left, and Victorian window with the corner bull's eyes on the right. As is evident, I haven't finished removing wallpaper and painting the trim brown, but now that it's winter we're back to doing interior work on the house again. We didn't want anything too dark on the walls, and we wanted something that would be OK with the 2 styles of the room:

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:22AM
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i have an 1820-30 Creole cottage -- but I don't think that matters to what i am about to say! My living room and dining room -- essentially former double parlours separated by pocket doors -- are painted a wonderful color that everyone compliments me on: Palladian Blue HC-144 by Benjamin Moore. it totally functions as a neutral color, in my opinion, but it's so much interesting than a beige or white. It's sort of a silvery bluish sageish. Depending on the light in the different rooms at different times of the day, it can look light blue or light green -- so I wouldn't go simply by the swatch or by a photo of it. If you think you might like to try it, buy a quart and paint a 2' x 2' section (2 coats) on several different walls to get a sense of what it looks like in the different light. Also, for a historic house I always use BM's washable flat finish -- the flat can help drywall walls looks more like plaster. I've linked to a photo of my dining room, but I must say it looks much more blue in this photo. It's really not a "strong" light blue color. It's much more subtle in real life, much more blue/green, and very light. It's sophisticated and elegant, and not at all too feminine, either. Like I said, you can't really go by a swatch or photo, anyway! Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: BM Palladian Blue HC-144

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 7:14AM
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I really agree you can almost choose any tint and come up with a zone you could consider a neutral. They don't have to be tan/white/beige. In one of my little turn of the century houses, my daughter chose paints with the lightest suggestion of sage green. It also looks so differentdepending on lighting conditions. I loved it so much I bought more to do a bedroom in my 1820s house and it didn't look anything at all the way it does in the town house. LOL.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 6:09PM
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My favorite paint color is Lowe's/Valspar 'Lyndhurst Spring Eve.' It's in their National Trust color lineup and I have used it in my last two homes. It's a happy green color that everyone seems to love. I match it up with Benjamin Moore's 'Decorator White' for the trim.

Here is a pic right after we painted

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 1:02PM
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If you are interested, I came across this article about spring colors for your paint. Check it out!

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring Interior Paint Colors

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 3:08PM
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From years of researching colors for houses from about 1880-1910 I found that almost anything goes ... well.

During this time three prominent "styles" were, well, in style and homeowners freely mixed and matched, much as we do today (things in our home can come from Ikea, Macy's and a salvage shop and look perfect, to us). The fairly new A&C style coexisted with Colonial Revival (which began in earnest in about 1870) and the last vestiges of Queen Anne style.

Its sad that most people see Queen Anne (what is also commonly called "Victorian", even though, really, any style that existed between about 1840 and 1902 is defined as Victorian) as dark and dreery. I think, marita40, you hit it on the head, the Queen Anne, along with A&C, were "cozy". They both used similar earth-based colors, for the most part, with a few eccentric modern analine colors thrown in for excitement.

So, There is NO REASON to not use your favorite rich saturated earth tones in your new transitional home. It would have been perfectly appropriate to the period, and, best of all, you love them.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 3:44PM
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This is why I push people to live in a house for at least a year before they start doing things to a house.
After you live in a place for awhile you get a sense about how the light in each room works thru the different seasons and how you are going to use that room. Those two things can typically help you narrow your choices down on color.
Color shouldn't be forced upon a house because it was popular in a particular time period. There were lots of colors used that weren't popular but it didn't stop people from using them AND more importantly enjoying them. HOME should be a place that makes you feel good.
If you can feel good about the colors you chose so can your house!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:54AM
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Thats excellent advice, carol_from_ny. We have lived here 3 years, now, and while I was pretty sure what basic colors I wanted I have adjusted them according to the light in each room.

You do also need to keep in mind what effect you want. some are interested in fairly rigid historical recreations, like me. Thats why we buy old houses. We love everything that is not modern (ok, except the kitchen, mine is ultra high tech)

Others have amazing old houses and gut the heck out of them, painting everything white, to modernize them, leaving folks like me wondering why in heavens name they bought an old house in the first place.

If you can live in it, great, if not, it can easily be recolored with just a $30 can of paint ...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 1:29PM
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I'm the OP and happy to see this thread revived. Here are some of the colors I selected and I'm happy with them all. They all "fit" in this 1913 house! The color I agonized the most over was the bluish-green(Breezy) for the main bedroom. I finally decided on it, and began to prep the room for painting. When I removed the light switch covers I found to my delight that the original color of the room was nearly exactly the same!!

Living/Dining Room Laura Ashley Gold mixture of #3 and #4
Hall BM Shaker Beige
Bedroom: Kennebunkport Green
Study: BM Decatur Buff
Master Bedroom and Bath: SW Breezy
Kitchen: Muralo Prairie Path
Main Bathroom: BM Plum Raisin

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:14PM
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