While you may think that colours really don’t change that much, there really have been some notable shifts in colour preferences and palettes through the decades. As part of their 150th anniversary, Sherwin-Williams has curated collections from existing palettes and historical interior paint colour collections spanning back as far as the 1830s.
Victorian Style: 1830s – 1910s
Contrast and variety were truly the hallmarks of Victorian style. Period décor brought together multiple rich, intense shades, often from opposite sides of the colour wheel. Reds were paired with greens, golds with purples.
As time went on, the Victorians began to favour slightly more subdued colours.
Arts & Crafts: 1880s – 1910s
As a counter trend to the excesses of the Victorian era the Arts & Crafts movement embodied honesty in craftsmanship, celebrating the joys of nature and hearth and home with colours that range from simple off whites to rich earth tones.
The Jazz Age — wall colours were generally light neutrals and greys with accessories and accents in vibrant colours like Chinese Red and Blue Peacock.
The Bauhaus inspired modern movement and streamlined design were making an impact. Interior colours of the time were soft and dusty with creamy yellows, blued grey, soft pinks and accents in deep forest green and burgundy.
The exuberant post war boom was a mix of styles with mid-century modern and Scandinavian influences making the most impact. Pastels are the norm with pink and turquoise appliances adorning the kitchen and laundry room. Lilac and Chartreuse are very popular.
Peace, love and the Beatles rock the world. Colours in this era are bright, modern and psychedelic with paisley patterns, mod graphics and clashing colour. Black and white also makes a statement during this decade with super groovy op art and geometric patterns.
Earth tones dominate in this era as the “earth movement” begins in earnest in 1970 with the first Earth Day. Beige, rust, avocado, harvest gold, mustard yellow, earthy brown play together in patterns and solids. Appliances take on these colours as well.
The “mauving of America” is in full swing this decade with coordinates in baby blue and grey. The Miami Vice effect begins in the mid 80’s where pastels begin to dominate. The “country” trend also takes hold but the others dominate the colour scene.
McMansions and Tuscan style influences begin on the west coast and make their way to the southwest, south and midwest. Beige dominates, rustic golds, terra-cotta, putty, sage, earthy reds are plentiful.
Tuscan carries over and Latte becomes one of our most popular colours. Dark wood tones and deep coffee accents paired with blue make a brief but noticeable impact. The spa trend makes its way into our bedrooms and baths to remind us of coastal vacations with pale blue, aqua and white hues.
The greying of America begins in full force. Stainless steel appliances are the norm and we now opt for grey on our walls rather than beige. Whites, black and off-black become popular wall colours as and blush tones are starting to make their way into interiors.
If you had to live your life with the palette of one particular decade, which would you choose?