Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform


I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 02 September, 2015


Orange Victorian on Housekaboodle

Help Stamp Out Beige

Help Stamp Out Beige was the tag line in a paint manufacture’s advertisement in the ’70s, touting a new line of vibrant colors. I guess that’s what’s put me on this be bold with color binge.

Victorian dollhouse and miniatures are one of the most popular styles. So when it comes to color, be like the Atlanta residents in the 1870s. For those that could afford it, spectacular Victorian homes rose from the ashes of the Civil War. By the 1880s, when the Queen Anne style became popular, synthetic pigments allowed for vivid blues, greens, purples and yellows. Also common were multi-hue schemes that accentuated the style’s diverse architectural details, such as turned porch spindles and fish-scale shingles under the eaves.

A Wacky Tradition


Victorian dollhouse kit no longer available


Victorian homes also have a long and illustrious tradition of whacky color. Different colors helped to highlight the incredible details on these homes. Multicolored palettes can still be found on beautifully detailed homes today.

You really can’t go too far with your next Victorian dollhouse, or one that needs a remodel. The Victorians believed that if one detail would do, two was better. Better yet was to paint them a different color, not necessarily compatible. They loved repetition, like putting enlarged porch spindles on the front gables.

Paint schemes with several colors and sharp contrasts play up these architectural features. The more detail, the bolder you can be. Extremely ornate corbels can have sharp contrast between light and dark colors, while the less detailed panels can be painted in two dark colors.


Victorian Painted Lady in Brookline, Massachusetts

Painted Ladies

Why not a red dollhouse, or one patterned after the wondrous orange Victorian above, decorated by Sue Pekaric. And for inspiration, you can’t beat the Painted Ladies in San Francisco or some New England towns, like the beauty pictured here.

So fear not! Be as lavash as you want with color. Some might question your taste, but no one can accuse you of not being authentic.

What do you think? Can a Victorian dollhouse be too garish?


Susan Downing, with Patrick Owens


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Posted by Susan Downing

Categories: Victorian

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