The Victorian Colour Palette (1837-1901)
In the Victorian era excessive ornamentation and deep rich colours were utilised which were inspired by the Gothic revival movement of the 1830s and 1840s. Colours such as deep velvety greens and claret red hues were common in homes. In the mid 19th century new dye technology was introduced which produced an array of sharp yellows, deep blues, acid greens, purples and mustards which are used in modern decor today.
Victorian homes do have high ceilings and are able to take this depth of colour, however if you are decorating a Victorian property be cautious with the use of such rich, dark colours unless you have large, well lit rooms.
When choosing from a colour chart, bear in mind that colours often look slightly darker when dry. I would advise purchasing a tester pot and painting some of your chosen colour onto paper or card and once dry pin this to the wall where you are intending to use it. Live with this for a while to assess how the colour looks in different light.
Strong dark colours draw the walls in so be careful when using them in a small room. A deep red shade will create a sense of cosiness or use midnight blue for a more dramatic effect. Bold colours work well in a dining room and lend themselves to intimate candlelit evenings.
Another way to introduce Victorian colours is to try them as accent shades within a neutral scheme. Paint the alcoves or chimney breast in your chosen colour and keep the rest of the decor pale and neutral. Accessorise with your chosen accent colour. Finish the scheme with a high proportion of off-white to maximise light and prevent the overall scheme from feeling closed in.