Hopefully, the title of this post didn’t make you break out in hives. Trying to figure out how to pick a whole house color palette can be super intimidating and overwhelming. If you find yourself chasing after the elusive ‘cohesive feel’, stick around and I’ll help you find it. Pinky swear!
Picking out a single paint color can be tricky enough, right? Trying to navigate a whole house color palette can make a girl want to run for the hills! Where do you even begin to tackle this paint color journey? Ready to begin?
How to Pick a Whole House Color Palette
1. Note All Your Visible & Connecting Spaces
Everyone desires open concept homes. Seriously, turn on any HGTV show and count the number of times you hear ‘open concept’. If I were a college student I may or may not have found it fun to turn this into a drinking game. Anyway, I digress… Visible rooms do not have to be adjoining they just need to be, you know, visible. So if you are able to look down a hallway and into a powder room or kitchen, those are visible.
Anyway, I digress… Visible rooms do not have to be adjoining they just need to be, you know, visible. So if you are able to look down a hallway and into a powder room or kitchen, those are visible. All the visible rooms are key to creating the best whole house color palette.
2. Pick a Neutral for the Largest Common Room
In most homes, this will likely be the family/living room or the kitchen. When I help homeowners with paint colors, I try to guide them toward neutral. My reason for going with neutral in these areas are two-fold. Reason #1: neutral paint color allows for flexibility. If you’re like me, and you enjoy changing your throw pillows with various seasons, a neutral paint color on the walls will not compete with your accents. Reason #2: these rooms are an utter pain in the booty to repaint. In the
Reason #1: neutral paint color allows for flexibility. If you’re like me, and you enjoy changing your throw pillows with various seasons, a neutral paint color on the walls will not compete with your accents.
Reason #2: these rooms are an utter pain in the booty to repaint. In the kitchen, you have to deal with maneuvering cabinets and countertops. There is a TON of climbing up and down a ladder. In the family room, furniture is large and heavy. Painting in the room requires moving furniture twice.
Pick the right color the first time and enjoy the fruits of your (or your painters) labor.
3. Pick Coordinating Colors with Your Heart
So after you’ve chosen your neutral color (think of it as command central), pick a coordinating hue that you love. From that color hue, chose various shades or tints on the same color swatch. I’d recommend opting for 3-5 color tones here. Those are the paint chips that are up and down on the color swatch. Another option is to pick colors on a nearby color deck with similar undertones. If you opt for a base color you love and vary the lightness and darkness, you won’t tire of it quickly.
When I was choosing colors for our home, I opted to go with colors near each other on the color deck. The kitchen and great room area are close enough in color that in different times throughout the day, most people would not realize the colors are different.
In this photo, there are indeed 3 different colors but all with a similar color depth and undertone. Yes, even the blue in the dining room has a warm undertone. The kitchen wall is the smidgen of a wall you can see with my knock-off cafe shelves.
Remember, what we are doing with a whole house paint palette is creating a master plan. Well planned paint colors will make you happy for years thereby saving you time and money.
4. Determine How to Use Accent Wall Color (if you want one)
If your home is primarily neutral and there is a strong color you are itching to put on a wall, go for it. It’s your house so have fun. To keep your whole house color palette cohesive, use a color that works with the other colors. Perhaps look at one of the darker colors on the paint chip of a complimentary color. Use that color on a predominate wall to provide a big impact.
5. Buy Mini Paints Samples
Do yourself a HUGE favor and buy the mini containers of paint swatches. Where I live we can buy Sherwin William test jars right at the SW store. The samples are rather large and cost around $8.00 each. Since this is a whole house paint palette (where you may have up to 6 colors total) I’d go to Home Depot. Their samples cost around $4.00 each. To the best of my knowledge, all national paint stores will color match other brands.
Test these paints in a variety of rooms. To avoid painting the walls with a variety of sample color, consider buying poster or foam board at the Dollar Store. Paint the color on the board and voila, you’ll have HUGE portable paint swatches. You’re welcome!
6. Whole House Color Palette is a PLAN
So if you’re like most people, you are not going to tackle your whole house color palette in a weekend. The purpose of a color palette is to help keep us on track when it comes to decorating. It’s simply a plan or a map to creating the cohesive interior design look you desire.
These are the steps I use when creating a whole house color palette. I’ve found it keeps me on track and diminishes the potential of drive by decorating. With a plan, a budget, and a mission, I’m able to focus on what needs to be done and work towards finishing the project.
For years, I decorated without a plan and it was an utter waste of resources. Once I began planning with the big picture in mind, changes were minimal and I have found myself more relaxed and content with my decor choices.
I’d love for you to share if you have a whole house color palette or if you prefer to decorate on a whim. Follow me on Pinterest and go check out my paint color board. There is a ton of great inspiration to be found there!