Heritage Colours to Use Around the Home

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If you have an older home, it will usually be a certain style, depending on the era it was built in and a good way to highlight its attractive period features is to paint using heritage colours.

What are heritage colours?

Heritage colours are the colours that were popular at the time your home was built. Early Australian architecture can be traced through several distinct periods.

  •     Victorian (1850s – 1900s) – villas, terrace houses and miner’s cottages that featured elaborate cast iron work and ornamental plastered facades in colours such as cream and stone, with darker green or red trims. If your home has Victorian features, highlighting the intricate details in the iron and plasterwork with heritage colours can create attractive focal points around your home.
  •     Federation (1900s – 1920s) – terrace houses and single storey cottages and bungalows, usually made from brick and framed by wooden trims and detailed fretwork, using understated tones of green, blue and pink. The exterior of a Federation home can be highlighted by picking out the details of the woodwork in contrast to the softer background colours.
  •     Californian Bungalow (1920s – 1940s) – made from fibro and weatherboard, these bungalows featured a columned front, a gabled roof and stained glass windows and a colour scheme of earthy reds and greens. As with a Federation home, the exterior of a Californian bungalow can be enhanced by highlighting the woodwork in contrast with the neutral base colour.

Colour tips

Whether you use heritage or more contemporary colours, here are some basic colour tips that are worth keeping in mind:

  •     For good even coverage of the paint, make sure you always stir the can well every time you open it.
  •     Use lighter colours in smaller rooms to make them feel larger, or if you must use a dark colour, limit it to one feature wall only.
  •     To create a warm and cosy feel, use reds, browns and yellows, for a cool, clean look, use predominantly whites and creams and for a bright and breezy feel, go for pastels in blues and greens.
  •     Always use a matt finish when painting ceilings, as it will hide any imperfections, whereas a gloss finish will highlight them.
  •     Never use more than three colours on your home’s exterior (one for the walls, one for the trims and one for the accents).
  •     When choosing the interior colour scheme of a room, make sure you take the existing colour of the floor into account, as this will have a big influence on the overall effect.
  •     Always use an enamel paint on skirting boards, as these tend to take more of a beating than the walls and the paint needs to be more durable.
  •     Incorporate colours from outside in your yard (e.g. greens and blues) to give the interior of a room a more free-flowing indoor/outdoor feel.
  •     When you add blinds and awnings to a period home, make sure they complement the heritage colours you have used.
  •     Always sample your chosen colours in the rooms they are intended for. If you don’t wish to paint them on the walls, paint sections of cardboard or wood instead, but make sure you paint a large enough area to determine whether the colour works or not.
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