Neutral Paint Colours for Period Homes

I get asked A LOT on Instagram what colours I have on the walls and woodwork. I thought I’d put together this quick blog post so I can refer people back here (and save me telling everyone all the time!). I’m a big fan of neutral paint colours. I’ve tried darker colours on feature walls and they never sat quite right with me, so I’ve always returned to the light side. If you are looking for neutral paint colours for period homes, this might give you some ideas too.


Our Victorian end terrace faces north-east so gets a lot of morning sunshine. The front half of the house is lovely, light and bright as we have huge sash windows bringing in a lot of light (and draughts – living in an old house is draughty AF). To the back of our house we have the same lovely big windows but there’s woodland about 20m away, meaning that when the trees are in leaf it can be quite dark and gloomy. Luckily our downstairs is open plan so the living room/kitchen diner is always light and bright but our bathroom can be really dark, as can Holly’s room. Luckily light neutral colours work well and help to stop the house feeling too dark.



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Let’s go on a little house tour! Starting in our lovely Victorian hallway. This part of the house is always light and bright, and we have used Cornforth White on the walls. I used Calamine on the back of the door (if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know it took my husband over three weeks to realise I had painted the back of the front door, despite him using it every day!). The woodwork is B&Q Colours Antique White (which I don’t think they make any more!).


Victorian hallway with original floorboards, wall panelling and pink front door from Life with Holly


Onwards to the kitchen – here it can be quite dark so I’ve painted the walls Dulux Fine Cream (colour matched from Decorating Centre Online) and the cupboards were Purbeck Stone but are now School House White, just to add in a bit more neutrality. Our kitchen has been opened up into the dining room so the walls are all the same. The dresser is a Rustoleum Chalk Paint Clotted Cream and the Shit Cupboard is a B&Q Colours Slate or something, but I painted it ages ago and I think they have changed their paints. Something like Valspar Ganymede, Warm Shale or Stone Age is very similar.


Country style kitchen sink with cupboards painted in School House White.

Rustic dining table with wooden chairs, grey pantry style cupboard and stove fireplace. Large foliage wreath on the wall.

Next stop on our whistle stop tour of my gigantic house is the living room. Here the walls are Cornforth White and the woodwork, fireplace and alcove cupboard is Wevet.


Victorian living room painted in soft greys with original fireplace, alcove shelves and grey Chesterfield style chair.

Soft grey Victorian living room with grey Chesterfield sofa and footstool. Black lamp and side table. From a blog post about neutral paint colours by Life with Holly, a period interiors blog.

Up the stairs we go, with yet more Cornforth White on the walls. The woodwork is again Antique White by B&Q but needs redoing! This is a dark area of the house and I’m toying with the idea of painting the panelling a white or cream but that’ll have to wait until my crazy summer of work is over. Check out how I panelled the stairs.


Victorian staircase with original panelled detail and wall panelling painted in Cornforth White.

The bathroom has Ivory Lace on the wall and Purbeck Stone on the panelling. I used to have Railings on the panelling but decided I wanted more neutral paint colours around the house. A quick paint job later and I love that it feels so much lighter. This is quite a dark room thanks to the trees out back, so I’m pleased we went lighter.

Our-Neutral-Bathroom-Makeover-by-Life-with-Holly-Modern-Victorian-Bathroom Grey Wall Panelling Star Tiles

Antique Cabinet for Linen Store Modern Victorian Bathroom with Dark Wood Wall Panelling by Life with Holly

Holly’s room has a feature wall with wallpaper from Wallpaper Direct which is the Kelda in the Scion Levande Collection – here’s a tutorial if you want a tutorial for how to use paste the wall wallpaper. The rest of the walls are painted in Ammonite, which acts as a great neutral colour to make all her accessories pop.

Vintage Pink and Grey Girls Bedroom by Life with Holly

Our room has Ammonite on the walls and the Antique White woodwork.

Master bedroom in a Victorian terrace with black fireplace, antique wardrobe and chest of drawers. Large pampas grass to the side of the fireplace. From a blog post about neutral paint colours in period homes by Life with Holly

Image shows a bed with white bedding against a soft grey wall with wall panelling and framed oil painting. Side table with lamp and books. From a blog post about neutral paint colours by Life with Holly

We have a tiny office as well but this is such a mess and in need of a refurb. It’s got Ammonite on the walls (just because we had a lot of it left over and it needed a lick of paint before Homestyle Magazine came to take pictures), but needs the carpet replacing and the walls sorting out. We have a huge Ikea Kallax thing that takes up half the room, which is full of our stuff (despite us saying we wouldn’t fill it full of stuff, we have done). I’ll sort that out and then give you an update!


So there you go – a quick tour of the house and my favourite neutral paint colours for period homes. As I mentioned before, I’ve tried to embrace the darker colours and love seeing how people use them in their own period homes, but I always revert back to neutrals. There’s something so calming about them. What do you think? Are you Team Neutral or Team Darkside? Let me know in the comments!


Comments (5)

  • Ramona

    13 June 2021 at 11:28 am

    I love the simplicity of these colors, they are Great for every interior, Thanks for sharing!

    1. lifewithholly

      14 June 2021 at 8:14 am

      That’s why I love them too! They work in so many different types of interior and are the perfect backdrop for other coloured accessories. Thank you for commenting!

  • David

    31 January 2022 at 5:02 pm

    i love the metal head rail, can you possibly tell me where you purchased it from?

    1. lifewithholly

      10 February 2022 at 12:39 pm

      Is this the bed frame? It’s from Feather and Black but I don’t think they make it any more unfortunately.

  • David Dukes

    10 February 2022 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks for your reply and yes unfortunately they have stopped selling them.

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