Does an entire house have to be painted the same color?

Painting every room in a house the same color is an appealing prospect for some people. After all, if like me you spend hours, days, even weeks with the right paint color, you only have to make this decision once.

Once I find a color that I love, that’s half the hard work done, and it’s not uncommon for me to use it in multiple rooms in a home design as a thread of color that brings the schemes together. However, the question of whether each room should be painted the same color is a little different. Let’s see why you might be wondering if it’s even a good idea…

If you’re naturally experimenting with paint ideas as part of your home decor, chances are this question will never cross your mind, so is it fair to say you’re being more conservative with your color choices? The question then becomes, will one color really work well throughout your home? Will it feel dull or stagnant? Will it affect the flow between spaces? Will it be read consistently everywhere?

To get the answers to these questions, we asked interior designers if they would use the same color in all the rooms of a house. Here’s what they had to say.

Luke is an interior writer, award-winning blogger and stylist. With a preference for light, minimalistic yet characterful interiors, he set out to investigate with the help of his contacts within interior architects whether it is a good idea to paint every room in a house in the same color.

Does your home need the texture of color?

Notes of color

Credit: Notes of Colors

Paint colors are a tool that many people, whether they are interior designers or not, use to make a space meaningful. They can zone open spaces, add visual breaks that guide the eye, and be used in different rooms to give them a different feel from other spaces.

When we talk about using different colors, you don’t have to imagine a rainbow spectrum house, different shades and shades of single shades, be it neutral or something more colorful can all be used in this way.

However, not all homes demand this structure through paint. “Paint can create naturally defined areas in a home,” agrees Ginger Curtis, owner and chief designer of Urban Designs (opens in new tab)“But if that’s not your goal, consider keeping your base color palette consistent.”

“Some homeowners, especially those with an open concept, prefer the paint to be the thread that connects all the spaces,” Ginger adds. ‘It’s not right or wrong, it’s leaning on what you love and what gives you the most joy and inspiration. For each of us, that looks a little different, and it should. Use guiding principles to guide you, not hard and fast color rules.’

Have you thought about the lighting?

a modern living room by Emmanuelle Simon

Credit: The Invisible Collection

Just because you pick the same paint color ideas for every room in your home doesn’t mean it will read the same color in every case. If you chose a color because you love it in your sunny, south-facing living room, that shade will look very different in a shady, north-facing room.

“Colors react differently to different lighting conditions, and you’ll get the most accurate representation of your selections if you do a test and place your colors vertically on the desired walls, rather than flat on a table,” says interior designer Annaliesse Kelly, founder of AK design (opens in new tab). ‘Think of the lighting in the room as well. Do you mainly work with artificial light or natural light? Before coloring, take paint samples and paint chips home to try them out.’

With that in mind, is it worth choosing the same color for every room? If you like the color regardless of the lighting conditions then it’s a win-win situation, but if not, isn’t it worth making another choice that better suits this space?

“You can choose as many or as few colors as you want,” says Annaliesse, “the important thing is that they all complement each other and feel well planned and purposeful.”

Is the same color or a similar color the better choice?

a living room painted in three shades of white

Credit: Luke Arthur Wells

It’s fair to say that designers believe it’s okay to have a one-color scheme across the walls in your home. After all, it’s something you’ll see in a lot of modern homes, especially if you use white.

However, the opinion of whether this should be the exact same color, or just something that feels the same, remains a matter of contention.

“If you decide to paint your entire house white, it should be the same tone of white so that everything feels cohesive and blended together,” Annaliesse suggests, while the San Francisco-based interior designer Holly A Kopman (opens in new tab) takes a different stance.

“I like a monochromatic color scheme for a project,” she says, “but one way to keep it interesting is to shift the color from room to room. I like to do this depending on the lighting in each room.’

This idea capitalizes on the benefits of creating a color scheme for an entire house, rather than just a single room. “The color changes so subtly that you don’t even notice,” explains Holly. “This elusive change can create a different atmosphere depending on the theme of the room.”

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