In the early 1900s, houses that had previously been painted with dark, rich colours were frequently repainted in lighter shades with contrasting accents, and new houses were given the same treatment. Commonly painted with dark colours in the Victorian period, house colours lightened up with the change in regime and social climate on both sides of the Atlantic. Traditional three-colour palettes opened up to include more colours and a wider variety of tones. However, in more conservative areas, houses were given new, lighter treatments only on trim and other decorative aspects of the house's external design.
Popular External Colors
Popular external colours of the time included silver grey, cream, lemon yellow, ivory, sage and rose for the walls. Trim colours ranged from blue to olive green, rust and brown. In some areas during the 1920s, entire houses remained deep green and brown with lighter trim. Roofs were usually dark colours, including brown and black.
Many styles of houses built during the early 1900s had interior and exterior colour schemes attached to them by designers of the time. Long-lasting white paint had appeared for the first time in the 1880s, and was used extensively in the late 1800s through the 1920s in Edwardian style homes. In contrast with the white and cream wall paints, edges and decorative work like chair rails were often painted gold, green or red.
Arts and Crafts Interiors
Arts and Crafts style houses, in keeping with the designs and colour palette designed by William Morris, who led the movement, used muted colours drawn from nature, including light olive and sage colours, dark (but not jewel-toned) reds, dark pink, and grey-blues. Colors for Aesthetic Movement houses were similar to those for Arts and Crafts designs, but with slightly brighter shades of the same colours.
Art Nouveau Interiors
Homes styled in the Art Nouveau fashion used the colours associated with the visual art of that style, as seen in the works of Alphonse Mucha. Deeper tones that the Arts and Crafts movement were employed, but were still somewhat muted. Purple and black were popular as accent colours, while mid-range greens and lilac were popular wall covers. Many houses decorated in this style had fairly plain walls decorated with stencils, or wallpaper. Bold, clean design elements were part of the Art Nouveau movement and elaborate wallpapers in these colours were used inside.
Colors by Rooms
Individual rooms also had common colour schemes. Wallpaper in floral patterns and colours was popular in dining rooms, while the drawing room usually sported jewel tones in red, blue or green offset by white trim. Bedrooms were painted to be light and airy, with white walls and pastel detailing. Bathrooms were most often white with blue or brown trim and blue and white tiled floors. Kitchens too were white.