August 18, 2014
When homeowners replicate the colors our ancestors used on Victorian and bungalow-style homes, it's not unusual. Colonials, on the other hand, have been left out of this home design trend. But just as classic maple floors like those in Anderson's Vintage mixed-width plank collection have survived for generations, the colors that the founding fathers would have lived with can still resonate with modern houses.
In fact, some of those colors have resurfaced in recent years and become trend-setters. Gray has virtually replaced beige and off-white as the go-to neutral wall color with homeowners who aren't sold on bold colors in room design. It was one of the colonists' favorites, and today, it ranges from shades of silver to subdued fieldstone gray.
House Beautiful magazine reported that gray's variations lend itself to blue-gray wall tiles, traditional white cabinetry and stainless steel appliances in kitchens. When used in bathrooms with chrome hardware and large mirrors, it takes on a sleek contemporary look.
Virtually any color works well as an accent to light gray walls. Hunter green or eggplant purple, for instance, are colors that are reminiscent of colonial times but in tune with modern furnishings. For a decorating idea straight from the colonial era, period hues can be offset by a chair rail for trim in dining and living rooms.
Early hues remain popular
Many early American colors are as popular today as they were in colonial times - tan, red, mustard yellow and moss green. While home decorators may not know of their historic nature, they appreciate the versatility of these shades in present-day decorating.
According to Ideas For Home Decorating, walls and ceilings in colonial homes were usually painted white with colors reserved for wood trim. Paneling was also painted unless it was made of mahogany, which was left in its natural state.
Wallpaper could be afforded only by the wealthy, so those with more modest means often painted a stenciled pattern or produced a grained or marbled faux finish on their walls for an elegant effect.
With gray or tan as a base, modern homeowners can find plenty of accessories to fit decor with a colonial touch - pewter lamp bases, silver gray fabrics and rug patterns that include gray and several accent colors. Patchwork quilts can be used as wall hangings as well as bedding, and needlepoint cushions on upholstered furniture are in keeping with what might have appeared in early American homes.