Style guide and colour schemes

Choosing paint colours for a house can be based on the style of the building as well as researching its original colour scheme. This page presents the main residential architectural styles of Maitland and principles for designing traditional schemes. Information about the original colour scheme can be sourced from historical documents and early photographs of the house, as well as an investigating existing paint layers on various surfaces. Removing successive layers of paint can reveal earlier colour schemes. Methods of revealing paint layers can be found on the NSW Environment & Heritage website.

The colour schemes presented here are typical to the principal periods of residential architecture in Maitland. They are not intended to be restrictive or prescriptive, but informative and motivating. The colours shown are produced by Dulux paints as a guide to the range produced for the Standards Association of Australia under AS2700-1996. Download the full colour scheme examples in high resolution.

Colonial 1830-1850
  • Wall surfaces in semi-transparent red oxide wash, or lime washed in colours ranging from off white to light beige or beige pink.
  • Timber work (windows and doors) usually painted in only one colour.
  • Colours included beige, stone, drab and dark green.
  • Window sashes and glazing bars sometimes black.
  • If two colours were used, a darker colour (e.g. drab or crimson) used for doors, door frames, shutters and window frames.
  • Verandah flooring often in sandstone flags, rectangular and random.


Early Victorian 1850-1860
  • Walls often lime washed in colours ranging from light beige to biscuit to pink beige.
  • (only occasionally strong colours such as terracotta or deep buff).
  • Windows and doors usually in deep Brunswick green, crimson or drab, with frames.
  • sometimes painted in contrasting colours such as beige or off white.
  • Other external timber usually in shades ranging from stone to beige.
  • Eaves often dark - earth or drab.
  • Verandah roof underside in eau-de-nil or opaline green.
  • Verandah flooring often in sandstone flags, rectangular and random
  • brick paving, sometimes in tiles.

Early victorian

Mid Victorian 1860-1880
  • Lime washed or oil painted walls in beige to salmon pink.
  • Window sashes and doors in dark colours - deep Brunswick green or dark crimson.
  • Frames often contrasting in beige or cream.
  • External timber work in shades ranging from off white to deep buff.
  • Bracketed eaves painted in the same colours but gutters and downpipes often in dark shades used for doors and windows.
  • Cast iron verandah work usually in deep bronze green.
  • Verandah flooring in timber boarding (in this example) but also common in this period in stone paving or two-colours of tessellated tile (for more elaborate mid Victorian styles).

Mid victorian

High Victorian 1880-1890
  • Style characterised by a reflection of wealth and grandeur of this period; high ornamentation.
  • Stronger and more vivid colours.
  • Colour highlights the ornamentation and detail.
  • Walls most often painted in a stone colour.
  • Windows sashes and frames in different colours.
  • Door panels highlighted in different colours.
  • Colour highlighting the elaborate detail usually found in wall frieze,
  • verandah detail, and chimney banding.
  • Verandah flooring often in multi-colour tessellated tile with slate or brick edge nosing; timber boarding to upper verandah.

High victorian

Late Victorian 1890-1900
  • Characterised by a picking-out different elements in a variety of colours.
  • Rendered walls were painted in two tones of colours ranging from beige to pink to deep buff, and also strong colours such as dark brown, deep crimson, terracotta, dark earth and drab.
  • Small mouldings often picked out in a third colour such as dark crimson, off white or pale pink.
  • Doors often painted in two tones such as Venetian red and cream, Brunswick green and biscuit or dark crimson and beige.
  • Woodwork picked out in two shades of cream or buff with dark joinery colour used for small mouldings such as the lip mould under verandah edge. Gutters and downpipes also painted in this trim colour.
  • Cast iron in deep bronze green or dark crimson.
  • Floral and other motifs in cream, sage green or pink.
  • Verandah flooring often in timber boarding; also common was the use of a red screed simple concrete-type screed.

Late victorian

Federation 1900-1910
  • Red face brick walls were fashionable; where walls were rendered they were commonly painted in shades of cream.
  • Dominant colour schemes were shades of green, or shades of cream to buff.
  • Deep Indian red on masonry such as window sills to simulate dark, well-fired bricks.
  • Windows sashes commonly cream with red oxide or forest green doors and frames. A combination of mid buff and beige was also common. Other external timbers painted in the same way.
  • Exposed rafters and large areas of timber usually painted in the lighter colour, while darker shade used on smaller areas and framing timbers.
  • Darker shade in the colour scheme used for gutters and downpipes, barge boards.
  • Verandah flooring commonly in timber boarding; sometimes brick on edge.
  • Verandah brackets sometimes picked out in off white.


Interwar 1920-1940
  • Schemes usually consisted of no more than two colours.
  • Typically mid Brunswick green and pale cream, or red oxide and pale cream.
  • Rendered walls in off white, beige or pale cream.
  • Window sashes and frames often in cream, and sometimes the external storm mould was painted in the darker colour.
  • Doors and frames normally painted in the darker shade.
  • Shingles, posts and trim were painted in the darker shade in the scheme, and rafters, fascia, barge, soffits and panels were all in the lighter colour.
  • Verandah flooring in timber boarding.


Post War
  • Shortages of paint post-war resulted in colour schemes based on availability.
  • Schemes of in whites, off whites and creams with brightly painted feature walls.
  • Weatherboards often in pale creams and ivory.
  • Bold uses of colour often eclectically applied.
  • Colours: pale or smoky slate blue, off white; canary yellow for eaves or doors signal red. Detail colours: rose pink, parchment, royal blue, golden tan.
  • Grey and black were the neutrals of this era, mixed with vibrant pinks and yellow greens.
  • Sharp lemon or turquoise.
  • Verandah flooring common in unpainted concrete.

Post war

The Maitland Heritage Kit is an initiative of the Maitland City Council Heritage Group, with assistance from Heritas Heritage & Conservation. Illustrations from the Pender Archives are reproduced with kind permission from the Cultural Collections Department of the University of Newcastle.