How to Create a Color Palette For Your Home


How to create a color palette for your home. Having a defined interior paint color palette for your home isn't as intimidating as it may seem. In this post we go beyond creating a paint color palette and I give you the steps to choose colors that go together to create a cohesive feel from one room to the next with a whole house color palette.

If you've been struggling to figure out where to start when it comes to creating a cohesive look in your home you're in luck because today I've got an answer for you and a free printable cheat sheet to help you work through the steps!

The best place to start is with color. More specifically creating a color scheme for your home will ensure that one room ties into the next nicely, even if the style of each room is a little bit different.

A color palette by definition, is using your choice color scheme throughout different areas of your home. And, creating an interior color scheme, or color palette for your home will make your decorating choices so much easier because it will narrow the amount of choices you have.

Choose a House Color SchemePin

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Why Defining Interior Color Schemes Is Important

Besides the fact that model homes have absolutely no clutter (or toys strewn about) there's a reason why they feel so good, and the reason is they use colors that go together nicely and repeat them throughout the home.

Now I'm not saying that I strive to have a home that looks like a model home - cause that isn't real life, but I will say that when I started thinking about creating 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 our favorite weekend activities. Free cookies for the kids, and color scheme ideas for me, a win-win!

In model homes there's typically a whole home color scheme that's carried 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 in their color palette, but use them in different ways in each space, creating a home that flows from one room to the next. Even if the style varies a bit from one room to another, the colors connect each room.

This is especially important in homes with an open concept floor plan.

When we've chatted before about what your biggest struggles are when it comes to decorating your home, most of you mention color...

More specifically, that it's difficult to decide on an interior color scheme and you don't know how to choose colors that go together. Having a defined color scheme for your home is going to help with all three of those things because you'll have chosen colors, which will give you a starting point, and that will automatically limit your choices.

How to create a color palette for your home

When we first moved into our home I knew I wanted a warm grey as our living room paint color scheme and started looking closely at color scheme ideas.

But choosing colors for your home can be really overwhelming so I had to come up with a process that would ensure I had a unified color palette, and would be able to use my decor in more than one room.

Print your free color palette cheat sheet to organize your ideas as you go through this post.

Color Palette Cheat Sheet

The Most Important Rule For Creating A Color Palette For Your Home

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 interior color scheme

For those of you who love color, this may feel limiting, but I promise you'll 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.

Remember, we're not talking about redoing your entire home tomorrow.

We're talking about defining your interior color scheme so that over time it will help guide your decorating decisions and create a cohesive look that feels like you but also takes into consideration colors in your home you can't change.

Ok let's get to it!

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing Colors For Your Home

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.

The point is, color evokes emotion. Think about places or views that make you feel awesome and start to notice if there are certain colors that you can bring into your home that will give you those same feelings.

What colors are you already stuck with?

99.9% of us aren't on an unlimited budget which means that we're always trying to figure out ways to work with what we already have. Think of things like already existing furniture, cabinetry, counter tops, 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. Undertones affect what the perfect greige paint is for your home, which is a popular choice!

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?

Your color palette will help achieve the feeling you want.

3 Different Types of Whole Home Color Schemes

The combination of colors you choose to use in your home will affect the overall feeling you create in your home.

Monochromatic color scheme

If you're afraid of color, or want your space to feel modern and clean you'll probably want to go with a monochromatic color scheme. - I have a lot of this going on in my home.

Monochromatic means different shades or hues of the same color.

monochromatic color schemePin

Harmonious color scheme

If you're 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're essentially made from each other.

harmonious color schemePin

Complementary color scheme

If you love high contrast and lots of lively color you'll 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 schemePin

Ok. Now you're ready to start creating your own interior color scheme!

Easy Steps To Create An Interior Paint Color Scheme

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'll 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'll 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'll 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 about how to choose 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.

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're talking about a whole home 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're 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 deep blue. But for a wall color palette, 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.

Color 4: Pick another color

  • If you're going for a monochromatic color scheme this color will be a lighter shade of color 3.
  • If you're 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're 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'll 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.

Now what?

Now that you have a color palette, it's 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're doing is great.

The idea is to stick to your color palette as a guide.

Color Palette Cheat Sheet

Whole Home Color Palette Example

Most of my home decor color schemes are probably considered monochromatic. Lots of blues and greys in the living room and kitchen color schemes. But the accents are definitely complementary to add that pop of color I love so much.

I keep this from feeling too kid-like by picking colors that are bright, but sometimes muted and definitely not primary colors.

My Family Room Color Scheme

In my family room I use variations of my neutral greige throughout. My main color is blue but I don't stick to just one shade of blue, I use a few different blues and even some teal. Then the pops of color come in with some light lime greens and yellows and very small pops of pink.

blue white and grey home color scheme

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. Then I added a few pops of my yellow and pink in the accessories.

Family room built ins using Ikea box furniturePin

My Kitchen Color Scheme

The family room opens up to the kitchen, so to bring a bit of the same colors over here, we did a light blue glass tile back splash. Again, I use variations of blue sprinkled through the space. Everything from turquoise, to deep saturated teal is fair game.

do it yourself kitchen remodelPin

My Living Room Color Scheme

This is the first room you see when you walk in the house and it's definitely the lightest and brightest space with lots of blues and white.

This room has definitely changed a lot since we moved in and although it is a bit more coastal than other spaces in our home the color palette ties it in with the rest of the house.

sitting room with built in shelves

My Dining Room Color Scheme

My dining room is currently in transition but this gives you a good idea of what it looks like. Same subtle colors with pops of blue and teal.

Dining Room After the makeoverPin

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'll have a continuous look, even if the style of the furniture varies.


My home is still a work in progress, but now that I have created a color palette it limits my choices and creates flow from one room to another.

If I had to pick one thing that makes a home feel amazing and cohesive it would definitely be color. Having a whole home color palette with go to colors will not only make decorating decisions easier, but using colors from your color palette will create a nice flow from one room to another.

Whether you're a color lover or like to keep things calm and more neutral these tips for choosing color for your home will be the starting point you need to get going in the right direction with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions - Whole Home Color Palette


My colors don't flow from room to room. Help!

Creating a home that flows nicely from one room to another can definitely be challenging. Over the years I’ve worked hard to create a cohesive look in my home and I share my secrets with you in this post.

My walls are beige and sofa is grey; please help me pick colors for curtains and rug.

Since I can’t see your home in person, I can’t offer specific color/decor advice. Defining your home decor style will narrow your choices and make the process less overwhelming. This post I wrote will show you how to make your decorating choices much easier.

What are the paint names for your pictured color palette (5 color chips)?

Grey = Requisite Grey; Turquoise = Cooled Blue; Teal = Briny; Yellow = Eye Catching; and Pink = Heartfelt (all Sherwin Williams colors). You can find more details on my house paint colors here.

How do I mix different furniture wood tones with a color palette?

Keeping the undertones, grain or texture similar within a space is a good rule of thumb. Try to have each piece have a buddy in each space so it looks intentional and separate pieces that a different to reduce the impact. This post I wrote about mixing styles might be helpful for you too.

How much of each of the color types should I use?

The pro rule is a 60-30-10 ratio: 60% dominant color, 30% your secondary color, and 10% accent color(s.) But really I say do what feels good. Get your base down (Your wall color and trim) and then add in color until it feels just right. I like to add color around the room at different heights so that your eye naturally catches in different parts of the room.

I want to totally redo my house but don't know where to start.

Wall color is a great place to start and if you can afford to replace any of the staple items like a sofa, do that too. Once you have those in place it is just a matter of making items you already have work with your space. You can always change the color of something (like a large piece of furniture) with paint. Then add your pops of color a little bit at a time with things like pillows, curtains, and accessories.

How do I know if my wood cabinets will look good next to the color I chose?

Place your paint samples right up against the cabinets to be sure that the tones in the wood pair well with the wall color.

Is it okay to paint all the walls throughout just one neutral color? It feels like too much.

It's totally okay but if you feel like it is too much, you can do an accent wall in a color or even go up or down a shade of the neutral you already have to give a little contrast. Beyond that you can change it up from one room to the next with your accent colors. Maybe have the main accent color be different in each space while still incorporating the same color palette throughout.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Colors For Your Home

A lot of factors go into selecting colors for your home, and it goes way beyond paint color.

Things like your home color palette, existing colors in your home (that you may not be able to change), and the color of the natural light, or lack of natural light can change the way a color shows up in your home.

In my self-paced online color course, Color Made Clear, I walk you through all the steps to choosing and using color in your home to create a pulled together and cohesive look, even if you have things like cabinet color or floors you can't change.