How Do I Choose an Exterior Color for a Victorian Home?

Written by bill brown
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How Do I Choose an Exterior Color for a Victorian Home?
Victorian colours combine the muted and the bright. (modern Victorian image by Andrew Kazmierski from

Exterior Victorian colours combine warm neutrals with bright colours to produce a pleasing blend. The brighter colours are often softened a bit by the addition of some earth tones or other colours that take the edge off of them. For selecting your colours, it's a good idea to balance your natural taste with a sensitivity to the colours of the houses or buildings around your house.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paint swatches
  • Digital camera (optional)

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  1. 1

    Pick out some swatches and palette cards from your local paint store to get your imagination going. Make some preliminary selections of colours that appeal to you, matching muted tones for the base colour and more vibrant colours for the trim. The vibrant colours should not be the brightest colours on offer. For instance, instead of a cherry red, go with a milder brick red.

  2. 2

    Look around your neighbourhood to see the colours of nearby homes. Pay special attention to colours of adjacent or attached homes, if you live in a terrace house or similar structure. Make some notes on what you see, or take some pictures if that is feasible. If you are a large distance from other homes, or your home is obscured by trees and foliage, this step is less important.

  3. 3

    Match some of your selected colours with those of the homes nearby. Using a neutral or earth tone for a base colour gives you many options for trim, sashes, shutters and the like. Using colours based on complements--such as red and green, purple and yellow or blue and orange--adds dynamism. You can go more muted with two or three earth tones and one bright colour, such as viridian.

  4. 4

    Narrow your choices to a final set of three or four colours. More than that creates confusion.

  5. 5

    Pick up some test paints for your final colours and apply them to your house in an unobtrusive spot so you can see how they look. This gives you the real picture of how the colours will work together. You may find you want to tweak your final selections a bit once you have seen them in place on your home.

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