Accenting Victorian house colors is a good way to show off and allow viewers to appreciate the details and craftsmanship of Victorian architecture.
The problem is that almost everyone agrees with this and tends to go overboard when painting their home.
There are interesting architectural details that may seem Victorian to some people on all styles of architecture – even Ranch houses.
Accenting Victorian house colors does not mean that every feature on every style home should be accented. You can’t turn every home with nice features into a Victorian or to take it to an extreme like a painted lady. At least you shouldn’t.
In my business I get requests for this everyday.
When accenting Victorian paint colors there are some common color placement errors I would like to point out.
One common blunder is accenting the crown of a window header.
Here we have two windows. Notice the window on the left has a nice wide window casing with a crown on the top. Notice the shape of the casing against the dark green siding and how the casing veers up at the top looking decorative.
This window casing is viewed as a single unit that is ornate in shape because it is not just rectangular. The crown at the top adds lots of appeal.
Now look at the window on the right. The crown is accented but really it is “painted out”. The crown no longer part of the casing for it is a different color. The casing is no longer ornate but merely just a rectangular trim. The head casing (top) also looks small now.
By accenting Victorian paint colors and trying to be fancy, the window instead became plain.
Painting the Handrail
Many homeowners believe they can make their house look fancier or more Victorian by accenting Victorian house colors on the handrail of their balustrade.
This is a very common mistake.
Porches are shaded and a accented (especially in a darker color) handrail makes part of the handrail disappear.
One of the qualities of a well designed balustrade is to have a hand and foot rail that are thick when viewed facing the house. Click here for more porch railing design information . If you have a white hand rail and paint part of it a darker color, the result is a skinny looking handrail. You only see what is painted white as being part of the porch handrail.
When painted all one color notice how thick and strong the porch handrail appears.
Spandrels are a decorative feature like a small balustrade located under the porch beam.
Here again the homeowner loves their ornamentation and wants to show it off. Instead they made it disappear.
See how less is more?
Accenting Victorian House Colors Exceptions
Yes there are exceptions and that is mostly case by case. In the above examples the houses have a darker body color and a light or white trim color. The exception is when the light and dark are reversed. When your trim is a dark color and the body of the house a light color. Accenting Victorian house colors with a color that is similar in light reflectance value will not visually change the architecture of the house.
An example might be a house with a light tan body color. Paint the balustrade a dark green and the handrail a dark red.
Here is a good example of the house above.
So if you have nice features on your house, admire them and think twice about accenting them. They may be just a small piece of a large picture but they can have a positive or negative impact. If you’re still not sure about accenting Victorian colors, Old House Guy offers a virtual house painting service to help you with.