Why would you want to use a paint color that dates back 250 years?

Benjamin Moore is hoping that you’ll find the 144 colors in its new Williamsburg Color Collection fresh, rich and even modern.

It’s not the first time a paint company has created a historical Williamsburg paint palette; the colors were updated as scientists over the years discovered that many paints used during Colonial times were actually brighter than originally thought. Using even more advanced research technology, Colonial Williamsburg’s conservators recently reexamined period documents, paint samples, wallpaper and architectural fragments to uncover new evidence of even more intense colorations. These new colors are part of the recently introduced collection.

My favorites: Williamsburg Stone, Geddy Gray, Green Umber and Ludwell White.

“These new colors are more vibrant and more color-saturated than the previous Williamsburg colors,” says Jean Molesworth Kee, an Alexandria color consultant. “They have a great range of grays, a color really in demand right now.”

Kee says few homeowners today aspire to the strict 18th-century look of formal dining rooms and stuffy sitting rooms filled with brown furniture. But Benjamin Moore has taken the Williamsburg colors and shown them as a backdrop for contemporary furnishings to illustrate their 21st-century appeal as well.

Check out this photo gallery for some inspiration.