How to Create a Whole Home Color Palette

You wanna know the best place to start when it comes to creating a home that flows (makes complete sense from one room to another)?

Color.

Yep. Creating a whole home color palette will make your decorating choices so much easier and help connect one room to the next so that even if the style varies a bit, it will still make sense.

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Besides the fact that model homes have absolutely no clutter (or toys strewn about) there is a reason why they feel so good, and the reason is color.

Now I’m not saying that I strive to have a home that looks like a model home because that isn’t real life, but I will say that when I started thinking about making a color palette for my home, I definitely took cues from model homes.  And it just so happens that touring model homes is one of my lil’ lady’s favorite weekend activities.  Free cookies for her, and inspiration for me, a win-win!

In model homes there is typically a color scheme that is carried out throughout the house, but instead of feeling boring, it feels good and flows so well!  How do they do it?  They use a limited number of colors but use them in different ways in each space, creating a home that flows from one room to the next.  The colors connect each room.

When we’ve chatted about what your biggest struggles are when it comes to decorating your home, most of you mention either color, where to start, or too many choices.  Creating a color palettet for your entire home is going to help with all three of those things because you will have chosen colors, which will give you a starting point, and that will automatically limit your choices.  Your decorating decisions will suddenly become focused!  How does that sound?

So, today I’m going to guide you through how to create a whole home color palette.

I did this when we moved into our home and even though I haven’t gotten to every room yet, I have a plan for when I get there.  Like you, I’m dealing with life and budget so a completely decorated home takes time.

RELATED: MY PAINT COLORS REVEALED

how to create a whole home color palette

A few things before we begin…

  • The colors you use in your home are completely up to you.  Do what makes you feel fabulous cause no one ever gets sick of that right?
  • Stick to 3-5 colors for your color palette.  For those of you who love color, this may feel limiting, but I promise you will still end up with a colorful home.  For those of you with a fear of color, go with more muted shades of color so that you add color into your life without it being too in your face.
  • We are not talking about redoing your entire home tomorrow.  We are talking about setting up a color plan so that over time it will guide your decorating decisions and eventually you will have a beautiful home that is totally you and flows nicely from one room to another.

Ok  let’s get to it!  We are going to start with a few questions, and then head toward making some decisions.

What colors do you love?

Starting with your favorite color means that you won’t be getting sick of it any time soon.  Now I’m not saying that if your favorite color is cobalt blue to go paint all of your walls that color, but you can most definitely use it as a starting point.

What colors are you already stuck with?

99.9% of us aren’t on an unlimited budget which means that we are always trying to figure out ways to work with what we already have.  So think of things like already existing furniture, cabinetry, countertops, and flooring.  What colors are already in your space and what undertones do they have?  (Figuring out undertones when looking at these things is a lot like what we talked about when choosing paint colors.  You want to look at the color and decide if the base color has red, green, blue, brown, or yellow.)

How do you want your space to feel?

Do you want your home to feel calm and spa like? Or lively with lots of contrast?  Or how about uber modern?  Color will help achieve the feeling you want.

Ok, now don’t get scared.  I’m about to share a tiny bit of color jargon with you. It is necessary to get you going in the right direction.

  • If you are afraid of color, or want your space to feel modern and clean you will probably want to go with a monochromatic color scheme.
    • Monochromatic means different shades or hues of the same color.  (I have a lot of this going on in my home.)

Monochromatic color scheme

  • If you are going for a calm or relaxing feel you will want a harmonious color scheme.
    • Harmonious colors are next to each other on the color wheel.  They go together because they are essentially made from each other.

harmonious color scheme

  • If you love high contrast and lots of lively color you will want a complementary color scheme.
    • Complementary colors are opposite from each other on the color wheel meaning they contrast each other.  Each color stands alone.

complementary color scheme

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Ok.  Now let’s make some decisions!

Keep in mind that this is just a guide.  If you have cabinets that have an orange undertone, but love blue and still want to create a spa or beach like feel, you absolutely can.  I mean mother nature does it right?

Color 1:  Pick a white.

This white will be your go to color for trim, doors, the insides of closets, and maybe cabinetry, and painted furniture.

Be warned, not every white is the same.  They may all look white in the paint aisle, but just like every other color, whites have undertones that you will want to pay attention to.

You will want to choose a white based on the undertones in the items like cabinets, flooring, and furniture that you are stuck with.

For example if you have oak cabinets …

  • and are going for a harmonious color scheme you will want to choose a white with a touch of yellow in it, or a barely off white.
  • and are going for a complementary color scheme you will want to choose a white with a touch of grey or blue in it.  A cool white.

 

Color 2: Pick a neutral.

This will be your go to color for walls that connect rooms like halls, and open living spaces.

Neutral does not mean tan or beige.  A neutral can be a color but it is a very subtle shade or hue of a color.  My neutral is considered a greige (a perfect blend of beige and grey.)  If you haven’t already read 12 Perfect Neutral Paint Colors or How to Choose the Perfect Greige Paint head over and do so now.  Both posts will help you understand color moving forward.  (Go ahead…I’ll wait right here.)

Ok!  Your’e back!

Color 3: Pick one saturated color.

This will be the starting point for the rest of the colors so like we talked about before, go with a color you love.  Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that this will be a color that is necessarily on your walls.  We are talking about a whole house color palette, so this is just going to be a main color.

If you love color this probably won’t be hard for you to do.  If you are a bit fearful of color don’t worry.  When I say choose a saturated or bold color that can be a lighter shade of the color.

For example, I love this deep blue.  But on the walls a dark color like this can be difficult.  So I move a few shades in on the color swatch and find another great color.  A variation of the same deep blue that I love.

variation of deep blue

Color 4: Pick another color.

  • If you are going for a monochromatic color scheme this color will be a lighter shade 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.  It doesn’t have to be the same intensity.
  • If you are going for a complementary color scheme, go to the color wheel and find color 3.  Then move directly across the wheel and choose that color or one up or down from it.

Color 5: Pick an accent color.

This will be the accent color in some spaces but may be the main color in other spaces. Since you will be using this color palette in your whole home, the colors you choose will be used in different ways in each room to keep it interesting.

Here is my whole home color palette.  I’m somewhere between monochromatic and harmonious.

my whole home color palette

RELATED: 12 GO TO NEUTRAL PAINT COLORS

Now what?

Now that you have a color palette, it is all about using the colors (or variations of the colors) you chose differently in each room.

That’s right.  You don’t have to stick to those exact colors.  Remember this is just your guide.  Going up or down a shade or 2 to make it work in the space you are doing is great.  The idea is to stick to your palette as a guide.  I’m still working on adding in accent colors to give my space a bit more pop and personality (and I’ll keep you posted as I do.)

But I think I have a solid main color palette for my home.  Let’s take a look…

In my main living space I have my walls painted with my neutral, so I added my colors in on my window coverings and pillows.  This room is still a work in progress as you can see, but I’m getting there. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure.

living room

In the same room, we created a large built in and I made it pop by painting the wall behind it a variation of my blue so it was darker.living room built in

This room opens up to the kitchen, so to bring a bit of the color over there we did a light blue glass tile backsplash.

kitchen

And in the family room (the first room you see when you enter the house) I was able to break up the neutral wall color and go with the light blue.

family room

Then I brought in shades of the blue and teal in the rug and accessories.

 

The dining room opens up to this same room so the light blue wall color carries on into it and I used a lighter version of the teal on my mirror for a fun pop of color.

dining room reveal

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Don’t be afraid to use your colors in unique ways like painting an accent wall or a piece of furniture.  As long as the same colors or shades of those colors are popping up throughout your home you will have a continuous look, even if the style of the furniture varies.

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My home is still very much a work in progress, but now that I have chosen colors it limits my choices and creates flow from one room to another.

I am now starting to play with accent colors and finding what works for me when it comes to pops of color.  Something that will help define each room and add personality to it.  I’ll definitely keep you in the loop on that!

So tell me, what color are you most drawn to?  What would be your starting point?

Related:

 

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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home (formerly TinySidkeick,) where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

72 thoughts on “How to Create a Whole Home Color Palette

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m closing on a new house in a couple weeks and have been driving myself nuts trying to figure out the color scheme (I’m reprinting the entire house). Your articles are very helpful and encouraging! I want a good cool gray as my neutral and I lean toward blues and purples. Is it still ok to do a pale yellow up the stairs and in the upstairs hallway even if I’m doing most of the living space downstairs a gray? Also, what’s your recommendation for a really good cool gray that is dark enough but not too dark? I’ve probably got 100 gray paint chips and I’m losing my mind!! Thanks so much!

  2. Taruna says:

    U should do fuschia as your pop of Color! Your home is gorgeous!

  3. Cindi says:

    I love love love your ideas. My whole home was painted in greens and olive green. I am very tired of the greens and love grey such as worldly gray and revere pewter
    I am having a hard time deciding if I can decorate around our formal cherry dining table mission style and our rusty colored couches and still go gray?

    1. You sure can Cindi! It will add an instant dose of modern to your space. Grey goes with everything!

  4. Samantha says:

    Hi Corey! I’ve loved your posts, they’ve helped educate and assist me in nailing down some paint colors! Thank goodness because I was going crazy! I’m hoping that you can tell me the name of the powdery blue you chose? I am using SW, and I believe you did as well! Thanks so much! Great work and ideas! I’ll be stalking your posts as I decorate 😁

  5. Gina says:

    Can you help figure out a color scheme??!! Or at least a main color to start with? I can figure out the accents/pop color(s) I’m having the hardest time deciding on the main color. I have a craftsman home (built in 1911), with beautiful stain wood trim. Right now my walls are bold with historic color/contrast. The walls in the main rooms are like a mustardy gold (sounds horrible I know- but I liked it 7 years ago when I painted them this color!) above the trim (there’s cut off trim about a foot down from ceiling), I have a Mother Nature green in living room, and a earth red in dining room (again above trim, below ceiling) and my kitchen has white trim, earth red walls above white bead board walls (which are bottom half of the walls), the kitchen cabinets are an antique white. Soooo I’m wanting to go neutral GREIGE, throughout the house…can’t decide if I want a darker greige on kitchen cabinets or white…I’m also concerned about the greige color with the wood trim (it is a dark cherry stain) I need the perfect color of greige!! I want to transform my house to have a fresh, light, clean, airy, uniform feel to it. There are six of us in this small but cute and cozy 1000 square ft house! Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!!
    I’ve been leaning towards ‘greige’ for some time now, and so I really appreciated stumbling across your articles on Pinterest! I learned a lot. If you have any info on working with wood trim please direct me to it! Thank you so much 🙂

    1. Hi Gina. I don’t have any articles specific to working with wood trim, but I do have a post that has some great colors to start from. It is right here if you want to take a look.

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