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If you’re living in a historic home, it has probably gone through several painting jobs over the years and can barely show any resemblance to its original color scheme. Historic colors are there to restore the old building to their former glory. Finding the right period-appropriate historic paints is crucial if you’re planning to conduct any home improvement projects.

In this post, let me share you a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right historic paints for your old house or building. Let’s also tackle how different historic paints are from regular paints and why it matters.

Let’s get started.



Why Historic paints?

One major reason why more and more homeowners especially those who own a historic house, uses historic paints is that of its several advantages. As mentioned earlier, historic paints could help restore old or antique buildings into its former glorious-look more than other regular paints. It also boosts the home’s individuality as it transforms the historic building into a refreshing whole block.


How to choose one?

There are several factors that you could use when choosing the right color scheme of historic paints for your antique home. From the year your house was built to its structural style, both of these could yield a better decision. There are two main methods that you could use for choosing the right historic color scheme.


     Hiring a Heritage consultant

Hiring a heritage consultant could also help you choose the suitable historic paint for your historic home. As they take paint samples from the different areas in your home and then analyses it. With this process, they could provide you a list of the closest color match in the modern paints today.

They could also provide accurate details about the house’s structure to conclude effective substitute, adjust for soil or fading, and protects you from dangerous exposure of lead paints.


     Bull’s eye method

In this method, you have to do the work yourself. This could help you determine the colors that were used in the house’s original construction accurately. It involves the process of assessing the different areas in your homes like trim, door, shutter, and siding, depending on style structure of the historic home.


Common color schemes

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of paints will solely depend on the architectural styles of the historic home. If you ever find that the original color scheme that was used in your home isn’t your “type”, the good thing is, you can still restore its former beauty. This is by looking for common color schemes in that style and era.

Here’s a guide that will help you determine what color scheme is used in that era and house structural style:


·         Colonial Homes

This style was originated from New England and has been popularized in the Southwest and Gulf Coast. They typically come in one or two stories and symmetrical windows. Best historic paint for this style is earth-based colors like ochre, red, umber, and indigo.


·         Colonial Revivals

From 1900 to 1940’s, this style features gabled roofs, classic moldings and columns, and multi-pane windows. Best color scheme for colonial revivals is gray, brown, and blue.


·         Federal Style

Commonly found in port cities, Federal or Adams-style houses are popular from the 17th century until 18th century. Typical features include low or flat roof, arches, balustrades, shutters, and elliptical windows. Historic paint colors like sage green, neutral cream colors, and soft blue looks best in this type.


·         Neoclassical or Greek style

These classical style houses are common in Southern areas. It features Greek columns and other classical details. Best colors are white, or any color scheme that reflects the sun during the summer season.


·         Victorian style

This style typically associated with fairy tales like the gingerbread house. Victorian homes feature towers, turrets, lace trim, and different shingles that are patterned. Colors including mulberry, moss green and gingery yellow will work best.


If you’re still undecided about what historic paint should you choose for your home – you can seek help from professional painters that have proper training, experience, and tools for any painting jobs. In this way, they could optimize the result of your home improvement project.



Having a comprehensive understanding of how historic paint colors could influence the performance and effects is vital. This could prevent or minimize fading, discoloration, or staining of the walls in the home. Remember that historic paints aren’t the only option, both exterior and interior should always reflect your personal tastes.