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Historic Paint Colors

Historical Paint Colors

This is my resource guide full of info to help you choose historic paint colors for your old home. You can find links to almost anything related to painting and paint colors for historic homes right here.

So many people have questions about the how and what of painting a historic home. And although I’ve done several posts about painting and historic color choices, I felt like people would benefit from a resource page that brings together all the information you could possibly need about painting and historic houses. Color palettes, techniques, materials, and tools are all here!

4 Steps to a Perfect Historic Paint Job

Step #1 Plan Your Color Scheme

First, you need to determine what kind of color scheme you want to go with. Read through Choosing Exterior Paint Colors For Your Historic Home, which will explain the different options you have and how to combine colors well. Then, you can start choosing the actual colors from the Historic Paint Colors below.

Step #2 Choose Your Historic Colors


Here I’ve collected links to every major (and a few obscure) paint manufacturers that carry a historic colors collection here.

Step #3 Prep the Surface

Now that you have your historic colors picked out, you need to prep the surface for paint. Without a proper preparation, your paint will not last very long and you’ll be repainting very soon. With the proper prep, your paint job will last maybe a decade longer and save you tons of money in the end.

Step #4 Time to Paint

Once you’ve done all the hard work researching your colors and prepping the surface, you’re finally ready to paint!

Books About Historic Paint Colors

Here are some additional resources that I have found helpful that discuss painting and paint colors for historic homes.

My Tools

I use every one of these tools in our painting projects, and these are my favorites and personal and professional recommendations.

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12 thoughts on “Historic Paint Colors

  1. Hi Scott,

    I am trying to find a copy of a very useful guide by Sherwin Williams Company titled, (I believe), Historic Paint Colors. It matched old Victorian color names w/ current S/W numbers. It had a number of color plates that were very helpful examples. Would you be familiar w/ this book? I am trying to acquire a copy.

    Thanks for any sources for mid – 19th Century Queen Anne original color palettes.

    Duane Schrempp
    Academy Heights – South Orange, NJ

  2. AND I had the entire paint sample collection in two suitcases from Benjamin Moore and their Historic Colors are fabulous and their paint quality incomparable – far better finish to a professional eye and covers so much better that it actually saves considerable money over less expensive brands

  3. well, just the fact that you like Purdy Brushes is a great sign! Listen, before I retired I was a Design Associate Of the National Trust, Professional Member of ASID,and on the board of directors for the New England Chapter,was NCIDQ Certified, and was a juror for the NCIDQ exam and coordinated the NCIDQ Exam preparatory program for all of New England. And as a Licensed Construction Supervisor in Massachusetts I was qualified to design and build any residential structure and up to medium sized commercial structure without an architect. In all my 35 years working with clients in the MOST amazing breadth of projects from hair salons to amazing kitchens,late 1600s Saltbox restoration, to horse barn…..without ever a single complaint………I loved historic preservation and authentic restoration most. YOUR Web page is a HUGE relief to me – your advice is exactly right. I have the utmost respect for those rare humans who focus on caring for historic properties the RIGHT way – and spread accurate information before more of them are Home-Depotized, vinylized and ruined for all time historically …along with their financial worth for their unsuspecting owners. I admire you SO much for doing your research, applying your mind and skills, and sharing the CORRECT information with others! A huge tip of my hat to you!

  4. This blog looks like a great resource, even if I may never have a historic home to restore (I might just emulate historic colors in new construction). I would like to save this with the illustrations, and also with the links showing. I could C&P everything into a Word doc. This takes time. Is it possible you have it in PDF form? RSVP.

  5. Hello, I have a historic home in upstate NY, Its over 200 yrs old! Gotta love Em! My Hubby and I are landlords with a property management business. I just found your site and Its amazing, Great easy how-tos on everything! I have added you to all my social media sites! We are great for sharing your info! Keep on Keeping on! Thanks Cindy & Len Attanasio Ballston Lake NY

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