What is the process for selecting colors palettes for older homes? First, I read what designers and architects wrote about house colors and fashion in the 19th century. Andrew Jackson Downing, Samuel Sloan and many others wrote in detail about selecting paint colors and how they thought a paint scheme should be arranged. By working my way through these primary sources I can get a good idea how Victorian homeowners and designers picked their color palettes.
Earth pigments proved to be durable and were widely used until the 1870s when they began to be replaced by brighter, more vibrant colors made from the by-products of the petroleum industry. This is why the bright, saturated colors commonly used in the early 1900s on Queen Anne homes look out of place on earlier Italianate and Gothic Revival examples.