How to Choose a Color Palette to Suit Your Entire House

Most people find it challenging to pick a color for a space. So how do you choose suitable colors for the entire house?

When choosing colors, you can follow these guidelines to avoid making a complete mess of your interior walls.

1. Make a note of which rooms are visible to one another

Sketch a mock floor plan and track which rooms or spaces are visible to one another. This includes adjoining rooms and any other line of sight such as down a hall or into a dining area. Your notes and floor plan will be the foundation for determining the color palette for the whole house, so keep them handy.

2. Pick the most central, largest space and start from there

Make your first color choice based on the main room in your home. Usually, this is either the kitchen or the living room. Make this your starting point, and everything else will fall into place.

Some people get stressed and frustrated when picking out colors for their home. If you’re one of those people, try picking a more neutral shade for the first room and make it easier to choose the remaining colors. Keep in mind you can never go wrong with white or a really soft beige.

On the other hand, it might be easier for you to start in the room you wish to paint the strongest or boldest color. If you have no fear of color (most people do) and have a clear choice in mind, make that your starting point instead.

After you determine the color in your starting room, look out from that room and pick softer, more gentle colors for the others. You can pick bold colors for those rooms as well, but that could turn out overwhelming and garish.

When it comes to paint, softer tends to be better and safer.

3. Build your color palette with various shades of the same color

As soon as you’re done in the first room, select colors from the same family for adjoining rooms and connecting wall spaces. Look at your paint chip and choose the next color going either up or down.

This is virtually foolproof in terms of coordinating colors well. You can have your local paint store simple add some white to your main color to render a lighter and softer version for other rooms. A good rule of thumb: the smaller the room, the softer the color — or else the room may “shrink.”

4. Look to nature for inspiration and guidance

Colors that work well in nature will always coordinate in your home. For instance, deep aquamarine (water) will always coordinate with beige-y taupe shades (sand). It’s just a matter of deciding what you like and moving forward.

5. Connecting spaces work better with neutral colors

Colors such as beige, white, or gray are relatively safe for passages like landings and hallways. They’re easier on the eye, in contrast to bolder colors you might use in your home.

You can experiment with color in rooms like a small powder room. Many people choose bold colors or elaborate wallpaper patterns in a guest powder room because it’s not used as much as other rooms.

Whatever colors you choose, it helps to paint swatches and observe them at various times throughout the day since colors appear different in the changing light throughout the day.

Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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