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Happy President's Day: Color Palettes Inspired by Presidential Homes

Design Trends

As we celebrate our nation’s founding fathers and current Presidential figures, let’s take a look back at where some of the past Presidents lived and how color inspired them.

George Washington – Mount Vernon



President and First Lady Washington loved bold colors and their Virginia estate showcased their love of
color – from the kelly green dining room to the Prussian-blue parlor room, history shows the use of color was indeed plentiful through our history. Today, the Estate of Mount Vernon offers a color card as further historical reference. Here are the closest Dunn-Edwards color matches to several of the homes noted interiors:

New Room – President Washington called the grandest room, and last addition to Mount Vernon, the New
Room. This room was intended to emphasize craftsmanship and unpretentious beauty, qualities that he believed showcased America’s values. He chose vivid paint and wallpaper color, at a time when using bold color was a sign of wealth.

New Room Color Scheme:
DE5724 Polished Aqua, DE6198 Cream Wave, DE5692 Fern Gully

West Parlor – Used as a public space to receive and entertain guests, visitors were customarily served tea and coffee while discussing the latest political news, read and play games. In 1787 updates were made to the room, including painting the room a fashionable shade of blue called Prussian blue.

West Parlor Color: DE5764 Blue Moon

Small Dining Room – Built in 1735 as part of the original home, this room was renovated several times, including 1785 when a verdigris-green paint was added to the room. President Washington believed the color to be “grateful to the eye” and less likely to fade over other colors. A glaze overcoat was applied to intensify the color.

Small Dining Room Color: DET524 Green Tourmaline


For more information, visit

Thomas Jefferson – Monticello


It was believed that Thomas Jefferson loved color and so had his dining room painted a brilliant yellow in
1815, a paint color that was both trending and extravagant.


James Madison – Montpelier


For the couple’s bedroom, known as the Honeymoon Suite at their Georgian-style mansion, Dolley Madison ordered “lively colours with fringe to suite” in 1820. Here are the closest Dunn-Edwards color matches to the colors shown at the Montpelier estate –

Montpelier Interiors


Montpelier Exteriors


Abraham Lincoln – The Lincoln Home


Before moving to the White House, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln lived in a Greek Revival home located in Springfield, Ill, from 1844 to 1861. The exterior was described by one newspaper in 1861 as being painted “a pale chocolate color.”



Lincoln Summer Home. Washington D.C.

John F. Kennedy – JFK Historic Site


John F Kennedy was born in a Colonial Revival, in Brookline, Mass in 1917, where he lived for the first few
years of his life. Years later, upon his death, his mother Rose Kennedy bought back the home, had it restored then donated it to the National Park Service.


The White House


From 1800 when President John Adams came to reside in the completed White House, to President Barack Obama’s residency today, the nation’s White House has gone through several transformations, though never
veering too far from the original design and architectural ideal. Built in the Neoclassical, Palladian style by architect John Hoban between 1792 to 1800, the building became the official workplace and residence of the Presidential families ever since it’s completion.


The exterior, original made of white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone is painted in all white while the interior rooms display a wider range of color palettes. The most notable restoration was completed by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who, with the design firm House of Jansen, selected themes for each room based on historical periods of the early republic and world history – the Federal style for the Green Room, the French Empire for the Blue Room, American Empire for the Red Room, Louis XVI for the Oval Yellow Room, and Victorian for the Treaty Room. A televised tour of the completed restoration was shown on Valentine’s Day 1962.

Images by Getty Images and iStock Images