Ever wondered how designer homes are so perfectly put-together that flow nicely from room to room? Aside from the fact that the designers are talented, they use one simple strategy that gives it that perfect flow that we can apply to our own home, designer or not. That strategy is a whole house color palette.
A whole house color palette includes a specific color scheme of 3-5 colors made up of paint, textiles, and decor that are carried out through the entire house. It makes everything flow well together and gives it that pulled together designer look we love.
One of the first things to think about when decorating is identifying colors. Your home's color palette is the foundation of all other decisions (furniture, decor,) so it's important to really think about it and get it right.
Now, I know it sounds intimidating to pick out the color palette for your entire home, but it's actually pretty simple when we break it down AND it will make decision-making easier when it comes to decorating the rest of your home.
When I was planning decor for our first house, I created inspiration boards that contained similar color palettes and they helped guide me through the entire decorating process and made it so much easier and kept me on track. If you take a glance inside my home you will instantly notice a common theme: blue.
So, today I'm going to walk you through the process of choosing a color palette for your entire home.
First things first.
- Do what feels right for you. At the end of the day it's your home so do what you love.
- Your color palette should contain 3-5 colors. This is not just for paint colors, but for the entire home including textiles, furniture, decor and anything else that makes up your home.
- It takes time. Decorating is a process and does not happen over time. The whole home color palette is made to guide your decorating decisions and create a home you love that flows nicely.
Now let's get started! Pull out your notebook and let's answer a few preliminary questions.
Take a look at your home decor Pinterest boards (or create one if you haven't!) and notice what colors you're drawn to. Do your favorite home pins have warm colors or cool? Bold colors or more muted? Write down any common themes you notice from your pins.
Next, write down what colors you love. This doesn't mean if you love pink to paint all your walls pink, but it's a good starting point we can use later.
What colors do you already have in your home?
Think of things you currently own like existing furniture, cabinetry, countertops, and flooring. Are they warm or cool colors?
How do you want your space to feel?
The way you want your home to feel hugely impacts your color decisions. If you want a calming, spa-like home you should choose light and neutral colors. If you want a home full of energy and contrast, brighter, bolder colors are for you.
Which do you prefer:
Monochromatic - different shades or hues of the same color. My home is monochromatic with blues.
Harmonious - colors are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, blues and greens.
Complementary - colors are opposite from each other on the color wheel
Now it's time to make some paint color decisions! I provided rough percentages that each color should make up as part of the color palette in your home. This is a guide that should help when choosing colors and picturing the end result.
Color #1: Choose A White Paint (25%)
This will be used for trim, doors, closets, furniture and more.
Not all white is the same. Some have warm undertones and some are cool. Based on your notes from before, if you were drawn to warmer colors on Pinterest, pick a white with warm undertones and visa versa.
Color #2: Choose A Neutral (25-50%)
More often than not your biggest living area, usually the living and/or kitchen, will be a neutral (especially if it's open concept). This does not have to mean plain white or boring. Again, if you're drawn to warm colors choose a neutral with warm undertones. You will also use this color for hallways.
If your biggest living area is a room that is somewhat excluded from others that you can get away with choosing a bolder color, or if you really want a deep navy kitchen for example, you will choose that color for #3. However, if you do this, you will want to paint neighboring rooms and hallways neutral so still pick a neutral for those.
Color #3: Choose A Saturated Color (25-50% depending on your love for color)
This could be one of the colors you love that you wrote down earlier, or if you really want a deep navy kitchen like we talked about in color 2, this is it.
Keep in mind this does not necessarily mean you have to paint a room in your house this saturated color. For those of you that are color shy or who are wanting a calming feeling, you can simply use this saturated color by bringing in a couple throw pillows. If you want the bolder look, use it in bigger doses throughout your home.
Color #4: Choose Another Color (10-15%)
- If you are going for a monochromatic color scheme this color will be a lighter shade variation of color 3.
- If you are going for a harmonious color scheme this will be a color that is next to color 3 on the color wheel.
- If you are going for a complementary color scheme, find color 3 on the color wheel and move directly across the wheel and choose that color, or one up or down.
Color #5: Choose An Accent Color (10%)
This color is just that: an accent. It should be used in small doses throughout your home. I like to suggest making this color an unexpected pop to your color scheme that is opposite your other colors' undertone. Meaning, if you went with cool tones for colors 1-4, make this a warm-tone. If your palette so far is monochromatic blue, consider making your accent color coral. You can do something as minimal as adding a couple coral picture frames in your living room for an unexpected touch.
One of the easiest ways to update your home for seasonal decor or if you want something different is by swapping out color 4 or 5 for something different. If you only want 3 colors in your home, eliminate color 1 (or 2) and 4. Just have fun with it! Before you commit to a color palette, swatch it with paint samples so you can see all the colors together.
My color palette for our home is cool-toned monochromatic. We have very orange-toned wood trim that I didn't want to paint, so I complimented it with cool whites and a variety of blues throughout our home. Personally, I went with all white walls because I like the clean modern look so I got away with only choosing 3 colors for my palette: white, dark blue, and aqua. As you look through our home, you will notice the majority is white, then a shade of dark blue in each room, with small accents of aqua. During the summer I brought in touches of coral, and now for the fall I replaced that with warm golden yellow as you'll see in my fall home tour. If you want to see an example of a home with more bold colors, check out Place Of My Taste. Her home is full of life but she still ties it all together with similar colors like pops of yellow.
I know this is a TON of information so let me know if you have any questions. Once you select your color palette, that doesn't mean you are limited to just those colors. It's simply a guide that hopefully makes decorating your entire home easier since it focuses your direction and limits your decisions. Have fun!
Let me know in the comments what your home color palette is.
Warm tone/cool tone images via Jillian Harris