In the mid-1800s, when Italianate and Second Empire houses started dotting America, paint colors were muted and earthy owing to their natural pigments. Reds and browns, for instance, were derived from ferric oxides. By the 1880s, when the exuberant Queen Anne style became popular, synthetic pigments allowed for vivid blues, greens, purples, and yellows; also common were multihue schemes that celebrated the style's diverse architectural details, such as turned porch spindles and fish-scale shingles under the eaves.
Now, modern paint technology allows for an even broader array of colors, including saturated shades that until recently were prone to fading. Homeowners have more choices than ever, giving them the option of sticking with traditional palettes or branching out into something bold. To help you narrow down your preferences, here are some of our favorite schemes for making your Victorian-era house a standout on the street.