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Sharp Objects: Exploring the Victorian Colors of Towers, Turrets and More

Design Trends

This summer, Victorian-era color and style is getting fresh attention with the premiere of HBO’s Sharp Objects, a murder mystery and psychological thriller based on the book by bestselling author Gillian Flynn. The show is set in a beautiful, yet haunting Victorian mansion located in the fictional town of Wind Gap, Missouri. In reality, the 7,500-square-foot home used for the show’s exterior shots is located not in Missouri, but in Redwood Valley, California, according to House Beautiful (and built 1997, not exactly the Victorian era).

Victorian House

Much like the characters in Sharp Objects, there is more to Victorian homes, old and new, than meets the eye. And let’s be honest, there’s already a lot that meets the eye. Victorian homes are known for their bold colors and elaborate design detailing. It’s an unmistakable architectural style that was popular throughout the country towards the end of the American Industrial Revolution through the late 1890s. The ornate homes were an expression of the wealth and opulence of the time. For most, towers and turrets are some of the first features that come to mind when picturing a Victorian home. In fact, these homes feature design elements
that take inspiration from English and Italianate architecture, as well as other styles.

There are several design elements working together in these intricate structures and lots of places to find color inspiration. An exterior might have a few different colors (typically three, though some might have more), each highlighting an important design detail. Explore the origins of the Victorian architecture in our look at Victorian homes, past and present. The Dunn-Edwards Then, Now and Forever Collection® has carefully curated 300 colors inspired by both the rich architectural history of the American West and what’s trending today. Of the 300, 142 are historically accurate and 158 are based on modern trends.

Looking to incorporate some Victorian color in your next project? Dunn-Edwards has a lot to choose from. We’ve put together a selection of historic Victorian color palettes from the Then Now and Forever Collection® to give you a little inspiration.

Victorian Exterior Colors
Color is an important way to showcase the ornate details in Victorian homes. Like the home in Sharp Objects, each has its own color scheme, featuring a main exterior color with lighter or darker trim.

Victorian Exterior Palette 1

Victorian Exterior Palette 2

Victorian Exterior Palette 3

Victorian Interior Colors
Victorian interiors can also be colorful, though typically interiors may have more subdued tones. It was also common to find contrasting colors together, such as amethyst and yellows. Popular colors ranged from pale pastels to dark, rich jewel tones. One home might also feature a few different shades of the same color palette to create depth.

Victorian Interior Palette 1

Exploring the Victorian Colors

Victorian Interior Palette 2

Victorian Interior Palette 3

Looking to go a little further. Try our historic architecture color matching guide here.