Colonial Revival

Originating in the second half of the 19th century in the United States, Colonial Revival consciously strives to emulate the architecture, interiors, furniture, and decorative arts of English and Dutch settlements in North America. The style adapts elements from America’s colonial past to contemporary lifestyles. Colonial Revival is one of the most enduring of all styles, even maintaining popularity today.


These derive from precedents, but the historical images may be simplified with less detail. Examples include columns, pilasters, pediments, engaged columns, lintels, stringcourses, quoins, urns, acanthus leaves, shells, rosettes, palmettes, and eagles.


Types- Houses are the most common expression of the Colonial Revival. Other buildings include exposition buildings, civic buildings, banks, schools, and even gas stations.

  • Buildings do not replicate the surroundings of the originals.
  • Commercial buildings may have large areas of formal green space.
  • Public buildings floor plans develop from function and contemporary requirements
  • House plans often illustrate openness and asymmetry and combines details from srveral styles.
  • Incorporates one, one and a half, two, or three stories
  • Double-hung windows emulate precursors
  • Shutters frame most wondows
  • Doorways are a defining feature of the style
  • Paneled doors are most common, topped with fanlights and flanked by sidelights
  • Common roofs are gable, hipped, gambrel, and shingles cover them.

Germantown Cricket Club, Philadelphia, PA

West Virginia State Building, World’s Columbian Exposition

Governor’s Palace, Willamsburg, VA

Commodore William Edgar House

Colonel George Waring House – Hypotenuse

The Martha Washington Model Home


  • No room types are particularlly associated with the Colonial Revival
  • Light colors, such as ivory, white, gray, or yellow, dominate in the 1920s.
  • A grayed palette of tans, browns, yellows, blues, greens, and reds copied from existing 18th century colors in Virgina.
  • Lighting comes from contemporary or reproduction fixtures, sconces, or Colonial- style lamps.
  • Chandeliers are used in more spaces than ever before.
  • Floors are wood planks usually in a dark stain
  • Alternatives to flooring include braided rugs, rag rugs, rugs witgh simple floral or geometric patterns, unpatterned rugs, wall-to-wall carpeting, and linoeum.
  • Paneling, wallpaper, and paint are the most common treatments.
  • Interior windows rarely have surrounds or interior shutters.
  • Window treatments range from simple panels to elaborate swags, cascades and cornice boards and tied- back draperies.
  • Door surrounds may be bold and classical or simple depending on the importance of the room
  • Doors may be six or eight panels.
  • Most ceilings are plain or painted white of a lighter tint than the wall color.
  • Some ceilings may have beams and more eleaborate designs.

Furnishings and Decorative Arts:

Typical types of the Colonial Revival furinture includes chairs, tables, cabinets, and beds, most of which emulates many of the earlier precursors.


Colonial Revival Bergere Duncan Phyphe style


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