What were the most popular colors in the Victorian era? Discover a timeless color palette for your home.

During the Victorian era, there were a wide range of colors that were popular at different times. In the early 1840s, soft, muted hues like gold, yellow, and blue were all the rage. However, by the end of the decade, more striking shades and patterns like stripes and plaids became popular. As the 1850s rolled around, deeper colors like dark greens, blacks, and browns were in style, typically paired with brighter, contrasting trim. Here are some popular colors that were used during the Victorian era:
  • Soft golds
  • Yellows
  • Blues
  • Stripes
  • Plaids
  • Brights – greens, blues, reds, and yellows
  • Dark greens
  • Blacks
  • Browns
  • Whether you’re looking to incorporate Victorian-era colors into your home decor, or just curious about the changing color trends of the past, these popular colors from the mid-19th century can provide some inspiration for your next project.

    Victorian Era: The Colors of Fashion and Society

    Victorian society was defined by its strict codes, hierarchies, and social conventions. However, these rigid structures did not impede creativity and expression, especially in the world of fashion. The Victorian era was marked by vibrant and diverse color choices that reflected the changing times and the evolving tastes of society. In this article, we will take a closer look at the most popular colors of the Victorian era, from the soft hues of the 1840s to the bold shades of the late 1850s. We will also explore how color choices reflected the values, aspirations, and culture of Victorian society.
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    Soft Hues in the 1840s

    The early years of the Victorian era were marked by a fascination with the elegance and refinement of the past. This nostalgia manifested in fashion through soft, muted hues that evoked a sense of gentility and femininity. In the 1840s, gold, yellow, and various shades of blue, such as robin’s egg and Wedgwood blue, were popular among the upper classes. These colors were often used in delicate, floral patterns, lace, and embroidery. However, as the decade progressed, bolder hues and patterns started to emerge.

    Bold Stripes and Plaids in the Late 1840s

    From the late 1840s, fashion became more daring and expressive. Stripes, plaids, and other patterns became fashionable, and colors became more saturated and intense. Greens, blues, reds, and yellows were among the most popular colors of the late 1840s, and they were often used in combination with black or white. Striped or plaid skirts, shawls, and jackets became popular among both men and women. However, these bold patterns and colors were still considered somewhat daring and unconventional, and they were often associated with the artistic and bohemian classes.

    Striking Shades of Greens, Blues, Reds, and Yellows

    The 1850s marked a dramatic shift in Victorian fashion. Bright and striking shades of green, blue, red, and yellow became all the rage, and they were often used in bold combinations that challenged conventional notions of taste and style. Darker hues of green, black, and brown were still prevalent, but they were now paired with bright or contrasting trimmings and accessories that added a touch of flamboyance and flair. This more ostentatious style reflected the growing confidence and prosperity of the Victorian middle classes, who were eager to display their wealth and social status through their clothing and accessories.
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    Dark Greens, Blacks, and Browns with Bright Trimmings in the 1850s

    The late 1850s saw a return to subtler and more muted tones, as a reaction to the excesses of the previous years. Dark greens, blacks, and browns were still popular, but they were now combined with bright and delicate trimmings, such as lace, ribbons, and frills. This trend towards a more understated and refined style reflected the changing social and cultural values of Victorian society, which was becoming more focused on domesticity, family, and morality. The color trends of the Victorian era were not just a matter of fashion and taste. They also reflected the broader social, cultural, and political changes of the time. The early years of the Victorian era were marked by a fascination with the past and a desire to recreate its elegance and refinement. As the era progressed, however, there was a growing appetite for innovation and progress, which manifested in more daring and unconventional styles. The shift towards brighter and more striking colors and patterns in the 1850s reflected the optimism and confidence of the expanding middle classes, who were eager to assert their social and cultural superiority through their fashion choices.

    How Color Choices Reflect Victorian Society

    The colors of the Victorian era were not just a matter of aesthetics or personal preference. They reflected the complex and shifting values, aspirations, and culture of society. Soft and muted hues evoked a sense of gentility, femininity, and nostalgia, while bold and striking colors expressed a desire for innovation, progress, and social status. The use of certain colors also had symbolic or cultural significance. For example, green was associated with nature, growth, and fertility, while red was associated with passion, love, and danger. The color choices of the Victorian era were thus a rich and nuanced reflection of society’s hopes, fears, and ambitions.

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