The return of Victorian colors to the walls of the Utah Governor's Mansion is one of the most striking aspects of the restoration. During the Victorian era, brilliant colors were "in," while white and neutral colors were avoided because they showed soot easily and yellowed over time.
Historic evidence provided the basis for the selection of paint colors during the restoration. In some cases, patches of old paint were found and could be matched. Written descriptions of rooms provided further hints about original colors. Even historic photographs, although in black and white, permitted designers to judge the "weight" of the color by comparing painted areas to wood finishes. Where there was little evidence, experts selected an appropriate color from the Victorian palette. All of the colors used in the restoration are colors which were popular during the early 20th Century.
Embellishing painted surfaces with decorative elements -- particularly stencils and glazes -- was central to Victorian aesthetics. Following the fire, most of the stencils had to be reproduced from historic photos. Each color in a pattern required the creation of one or more separate stencils, which were applied with the same techniques used 100 years ago. Glazes were used to brighten painted surfaces like the ballroom ceiling and have been used again to help emphasize the sculptural details in three-dimensional elements, like those in the dome.