46 new historic paint colors for Arts & Crafts bungalows

The folks at California Paints sent me a bunch of materials on their new 20th Century Colors of American paint portfolio — a historic line that includes 110 colors in all. Their package included a deck of large paint chips — so yesterday I literally pulled out the hacksaw to cut apart the little plastic doodad that held the chips together so that I could scan the large chips in my by period.Today: 46 colors that are recommended for Arts & Crafts homes… also known as Craftsman homes… from around 1900-1920..

Like California Paints does on the its website, I will forewarn that neither my scanner nor your monitor is going to capture these colors perfectly. Take these images as directional only… get actual samples from a California Paints dealer. Even so: 46 paint colors to ogle.

To launch the slide show: Click on the first image… Look for the little arrows below each image to move forward.


The Arts & Crafts period is famous in particular for its bungalow homes — like the kind that are now very popular and I am told, expensive, in places like Pasadena and Portland, Oregon. You also see Arts & Crafts… also known as Craftsman detailing in Colonial Revival homes of the period. My 1912 home in Michigan, the one I owned before this one, had beautiful quarter-sawn oak in the dining room, foyer and two parlors. I was all about Stickley, Rookwood, Roycroft, and the like. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt of what California Paints says about the period and its iconic paint colors: “This period emphasized the handcrafted and the natural in all aspects of home. Natural color inspiration came from wood grain and textures of stone, tile, leather and metal. Earth tones, unexpected shades, and rich accent colors defined this era’s palette.”

Disclosure: At the time of publication, California Paints is an advertiser on the blog. Girl Scouts Honor I woulda done this post regardless. In fact, I’ll be posting all four 20th Century palettes soonest.


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  1. Cindy says

    The raised ranch I grew up in was brown with turquoise trim and it must have been this brand because that’s the exact shade of turquoise…..kinda makes me want to add it to my home’s exterior.

  2. sablemable says

    Those colors are lovely, especially the pink and aqua paint chips! All of those look similar to the MCM paint colors, too.

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, sablemable, some of the colors are actually from the mid-century palette… demonstrating, I guess, that in the mid-century, they used some of the colors from earlier in the century. Makes sense!

  3. pam kueber says

    Of course, I love the way this post look at the top of my blog today — my site looks like a scrumptious lollipop!

    • TappanTrailerTami says

      Luscious colors for sure! Did you ever hear back from CA Paints to see if they are going to get any distributors here on the west coast?

  4. Mark says

    I just finished stripping years and years of paint off my kitchen cabinets, the original color was ‘wicker basket’. (they were pink at one time!)
    I was wondering if that was the color or if it had ‘yellowed’ with age, now I know!

    I would like some ideas on what to paint the walls.
    White cabinets, navy blue and yellow VCT floor and light yellow with black trim tile counter tops in a 1924 craftsman.
    (I know lots of colors that seem strange together but what can I do?)

    Any ideas on wall colors? I’m thinking a light yellow but…….?

  5. TappanTrailerTami says

    Mark – I’d maybe swap a little, and use Navy as the accent, and do your floor in black/yellow to go with the black/yellow tile, and possibly smaller navy blue squares in the floor or a navy border in the floor.

    Then you could paint your walls in a pale yellow, or even pale blue and use navy as the accenting, either through decorative tiles, or navy glass knobs or such.

  6. Mark says

    I would like to be able to do that but the floor is new so I don’t really want to tear it up just yet.
    My original plan has changed because the counter tops I had planned on fell through.
    Right now the walls are pale blue and I would like to change them.
    Your suggestions are goo though!

    • TappanTrailerTami says

      Sorry Mark – I just assumed that you were still in the planning stages – I wouldn’t rip up your floor either if it is already down!

      Hmmm…..I’ll think some more, if I come up with something good, I’ll let you know.

  7. says

    Now we’re talkin’!

    We live in a 70s ranch which we’re remodeling in the Craftsman style. By that I mean, oak Arts and Crafts style cabinetry and trim, bamboo, wood, vinyl, and ceramic flooring, and color. Lots of earthy color.

    I have no qualms about remodeling the house in that style, as later ranch homes lost most of what made them special. That’s what we’re putting in to this house, those lost features and details. Craftsman/Arts and Crafts/Prairie Style were all predecessors to the ranch, and it all fits aesthetically.

    Even with as popular as the style is, and with as many Craftsman style homes as their are here, it’s difficult to find the ‘right’ colors.

    I’ve found colors that are close to what I want from a local company, but there’s still room for improvement.

    Are the paints from this company eco friendly (low or no VOC’s)?

  8. Frances says

    Which California Paints color most closely matches your kitchen cabinets, do you think? Is it the teal accent or the ballroom blue?

    PS Would you like to see photos of me retro kitchen?! Everything in in tip top shape! I don’t see a way to attach…

  9. Alex Hajdu says

    I am a production designer for film and television. I was excited to see the California Paints article. I am always looking for accurate color palettes for particular periods. Sadly, when I called California Paints to order the 20rh Century Colors of America swatch book, was met with an indifferent and rude attitude along with ‘we don’t sell to consumers’ – and the word ‘consumers’ had a particularly nasty ring to it. I think it’s a mistake to treat anyone that way, particularly a design professional – and their not even in California- so they cop an attitude, and misrepresent themselves- to a Californian, in the film business- how stupid is that? I guess you know what they can do with their swatchbook – but it will too dark to see the colors there 😉

    • says

      Alex – Thank you for your feedback and we are truly apologetic for what happened. We would be more than happy to accommodate you and are so pleased that you are interested in our 20th Century Colors of America palette. Please send an email with information to marketing@californiapaints.com. We will make sure to send you our color tools for the 20th century color palette.

  10. Helen chance says

    Hi I’m a fine art student looking at the 1950,s colour palettes and really need one of those colour fan, colour swatch things for my work……please help me to acquire one for my studies, yours hopefully Helen chance x x x

      • Helen chance says

        Hi I read the above comment almost as soon as I had sent you a message, and noticed the email add for the company! I’ve just penned them a hopeful mail to see if they can accomodate my request. You have such a lovely page here and it’s been great inspiration for me as a fine artist interested in the 1950s art, design and archetecture, keep up the good work!!! Thanks again Helen x

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