Why A Whole House Paint Color Scheme Is Important (& a Real Life Example)

A whole house paint color scheme graphic featuring coastal colors from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams.

Whether you’re designing a new build or want to refresh your longtime family home, a whole house paint color scheme is your design best friend. Think of it as a plan for the future. Not everyone paints every single room in their house at once. It’s more of an evolution as time goes by.

It’s a lot better to create a cohesive plan that you can work toward with a foundation color palette. That way you don’t get distracted by pretty colors that may not look good in your home. This is exactly what professional designers do, and you can too!

A good home color palette will consider all of your home’s finishes (like flooring, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, furniture, and decor), your surroundings, and your natural light throughout the home to help you find the perfect paint colors for each room.

But the true goal of a whole house color palette – and the reason they’re so important – is that they help you bring together all of your favorite things in a cohesive way, from the colors you love and the art you own to the furniture and family photos you treasure.

Today I’m going to walk you through a real-life example of a whole house paint color scheme for some lovely empty-nester clients of mine. With the kids officially out of the house, they were ready to update their family home and really make it their own.

They were also ready to do away with the intense paint colors that made their home feel disjointed and bring a calming, coastal vibe to the Denver mountains.

But before we dive into their whole house paint colors, let’s take a moment to get clear on what a whole house palette is and why a color palette is important.

What Is A Whole House Color Scheme?

A whole house paint color scheme is a selection of paint colors that are made to work together. You can use these colors throughout your home in different ways, from common areas like open-concept spaces, stairwells, and hallways to bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and – of course – the kitchen.

When a whole house color scheme is used, you ensure the whole house feels cohesive thanks to the repetition of colors, both through the paint on your walls and the finishes, furniture and decor in your home.

Why is a color palette so important?

Work with any kind of interior designer or paint color consultant who knows their stuff and you’ll be sure to see them building and using a whole house paint color scheme. And that’s because the colors of your home play an important role in the way you feel in your home.

A color palette brings a feeling of harmony to your living spaces and can incorporate your favorite colors and decor items. A color palette can also be used to create a specific feeling within a single room or a whole house, such as calm, focus, or creativity.

Without a whole house paint palette, it’s hard to create that cohesive, strategic look and your home may feel like mismatched puzzle pieces that have been forced together.

Should your whole house have the same color scheme?

This is a question I get all the time. Homeowners often think that using a whole house paint color scheme means every room of their home will end up being the same color. But that could not be farther from the truth!

In reality, you should not paint your entire home one color – not even when trying to paint with neutral paint colors to sell your home.

Instead, you’ll want to choose a few foundational neutral paint colors that can be used in different spaces in your home and then incorporate accent colors in rooms like bedrooms, bathrooms and offices. These same accent colors can be reflected in your flooring, hard finishes, decor and furniture to bring the whole house together.

A stairwell painted with White Dove paint by Benjamin Moore as part of a whole house paint color scheme.

How many colors are too many in a house?

We’ve all been to a house (or maybe even owned a house) that just has too many colors going on. These are the homes that I like to call “Skittles homes.” 

They’re the ones that have been painted room by room over the years, without much thought about how the paint colors would work together (that was definitely the case for the clients whose whole house paint color scheme we’ll be exploring below).

Having too many colors in the home can absolutely create a space that feels chaotic or disorganized. But there’s no hard and fast rule about the specific number of colors to include in a whole house color palette. 

Instead, you’ll want to ensure you’re using colors with similar undertones that are similarly muted. After that, it’s the repetition of the same colors throughout a home that really makes a palette work.

Which color is best for the whole house?

The foundation of any whole house color palette is a versatile neutral – typically either a gray or beige. Agreeable Gray by Benjamin Moore is one of the most popular whole house paint colors because it looks beautiful in just about any space. In the color palette I’m sharing today, Benjamin Moore Gray Mist is my foundational neutral.

Make sure that the foundation neutral color looks great with your hard finishes, especially kitchen countertops, backsplash and floors.

After that, the next most important colors to choose are your trim and ceiling colors. These will be used in every room of the house, so it’s important to choose a white paint that will complement the other colors of the palette and work well in your home’s natural light.

But while neutral paint colors may often be the focus of a whole house paint color scheme, don’t be afraid to go a bit bolder with accents. In today’s whole house color palette examples, you’ll see how we mixed bright, bold colors into an otherwise neutral palette with beautiful results!

A Real-World Whole House Paint Color Scheme Example

When I first started working with these wonderful clients, they wanted to update their home after living in it for so many years. They love the beach and are lucky enough to have one of the few houses in Denver that actually has a water view.

Their art and decor already brought a coastal vibe to their home, but their current paint colors were too dark throughout the house, too bright and not the right hues for their space or personal style.

The goal of this whole house paint color scheme was to simplify the colors used throughout their home, create a cohesive look between their decor and their paint and reflect their shared love of the water.

Benjamin Moore White Dove

We started by choosing the foundational white for this color palette, which is used on all of the baseboards, molding and trim throughout the home. We selected Benjamin Moore White Dove for this important spot in the palette because it is warm and versatile.

White Dove trim paint is used on the stairways and railings in this Denver home

White Dove has soft, almost invisible yellow undertones and it works equally well in darker spaces and in spaces with a lot of natural sunlight. This color is used as a trim color in every room of the house. White Dove kitchen cabinets were also painted to brighten up the kitchen space and simplify the palette in that room.

Benjamin Moore Oxford White

In many homes, we use the same white paint color for both trim and ceilings. But in this space, we wanted to use a lighter white for the ceilings.  This is another cultural convention, and we loved it here. We used Benjamin Moore Oxford White – one of my favorite Benjamin Moore white paint colors – for the ceilings in this home to help brighten up some of the darker spaces.

Benjamin Moore Oxford White paint is on the ceilings in this whole house paint color scheme

Oxford White is a clean white paint color with slightly warm undertones that looks really nice with cool gray finishes. It’s just a bit brighter than White Dove and when used on the ceilings really brightens up the whole room.

Benjamin Moore Gray Mist

The foundation of this whole house paint color scheme is Benjamin Moore Gray Mist. Gray Mist is a very light greige paint with hushed green undertones. 

With an LRV of 74, Gray Mist is almost off-white, but it still offers enough vibrancy to work well in spaces with lots of natural light (like this client’s living room) and in spaces with less sunlight (like the hallways of this home).

A hallway and living room are painted with Benjamin Moore Gray Mist paint in this whole house paint color scheme

Gray Mist on the walls of this bright and sunny living room helped simplify the look and feel of the room. Removing the former accent wall helped bring more focus to the fireplace in the room, which itself was updated with some black paint over the original brass fixtures.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

We knew we wanted to incorporate another, slightly darker gray color into this whole house paint color scheme. Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray was the perfect complement to Gray Mist and the other colors in this home.

Edgecomb Gray is a light greige color that pairs well with both earthy finishes and modern, crisp white finishes. It also works really well in both brightly lit or low-light rooms, making it perfect for this client’s bedroom.

A Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray bedroom in a whole house paint color palette.

The warm green undertones of this gray is also really helpful for neutralizing any green foliage from the outside so that it doesn’t reflect on your interior walls. For these clients who live in the beautiful Denver woods, this was a big selling point for this paint color.

Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt

For this client’s office, we wanted to create a breezy, coastal feeling to pair with his beautiful and happy beach art and surfboard. Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt was the perfect primary paint color for this space. 

Sea Salt is an iconic blue-green paint color that is soft and muted, but still colorful. It leans more toward green than blue and its warmth helps it pair really well with warm terra cotta-colored wood flooring.

A home office painted with Sherwin Williams Sea Salt paint on the walls.

In this client’s office Sea Salt brings a dose of beachy freshness to this space and pairs beautifully with the client’s beach-themed art and the office’s accent wall in Kensington Blue.

Benjamin Moore Kensington Blue

We wanted a darker accent wall in the office that would help create a calm, focused environment for this client’s workspace. Benjamin Moore Kensington Blue was the perfect complement to the client’s coastal decor. A dark, classic navy with gray undertones, this color looks beautiful as an accent to the Sea Salt walls in the rest of the office.

An office accent wall in Benjamin Moore Kengsington Blue

Benjamin Moore Seaside Resort

This client was not afraid to incorporate color into their whole house paint color scheme. Their original house paint was a bit too all over the color wheel. In this color consultation project, we knew we needed to find a colorful accent paint that would coordinate with the simpler hues in the rest of the house, and make the art in the power room come to life.

A bathroom wall painted in Benjamin Moore Seaside Resort paint

The painting in the bathroom was our inspiration, and Benjamin Moore Seaside Resort matched one of the colors in the piece.  This was the final color for the downstairs bathroom in this home. A nicely balanced turquoise, this color brings warmth to this room and the vibrant color works well in this small space.

Hard Finishes, Furniture & Decor

This whole house color scheme is rounded out by incorporating warm wood and earthy tones through the floors and decor. A muted purple shade comes through in their unique living room couch and is carried over through the rest of the house through some of their artwork and decor.

Purple couches in a Gray Mist living room as part of a whole house paint color scheme

Together the combination of neutral greige paints, warm white trim and ceiling, and coastal blues and aquas merge to create a simple, yet vibrant color palette that feels cohesive and feels like it uniquely belongs to this couple and their home.

Planning Your Own Whole House Color Scheme

Feeling inspired by this whole house paint color scheme? Creating your own palette is a simple way to change the whole look and feel of your home – even without extensive renovations or redesigns.

Remember, if you want to build your own whole house palette, it’s important to follow these steps:

  • Consider your hard finishes and decor
  • Pick a white trim color (and stick to it)
  • Start with colors for common areas like living rooms and kitchens
  • Choose coordinating colors for bedrooms, bathrooms and office spaces
  • Select a few accent colors to use throughout your home

Most importantly, don’t forget to test your paint colors in the spaces you plan to use them and to do your tests in natural light.

Our favorite way to test paints is to purchase Peel-and-Stick paint samples from companies like Samplize. Their colors are consistent, they use real paint in an eggshell sheen, and there is no mess. 

Our recommendation is to stick them onto a white poster board and move them around the room at different times of the day. Compare them to your trim, carpet, and even your art. With a white background, you can see how the samples compare to the current color and the carpet.

Visit the Samplize website to get samples of a broad range of paint colors and get more whole-home color palette ideas and inspiration.

Get an Expert-Made Whole House Paint Color Scheme

For more details, read our full step-by-step guide to creating a whole house color palette, or contact The Color Concierge to learn more about our in-person and online paint color consultations.

Or, DIY your project the right way with our upcoming Ready-Made Interior Color Palettes that can work in any home. The color palettes will drop on November 23, 2022!

Online Color Consultation Interiors

We love your comments! Please note that the blog is meant as general advice, and it is not possible to give out specific answers to your paint questions.  If you want more specific advice, please consider purchasing a color consultation. Thank you for your understanding.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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