When you paint your home’s interior, no decision carries as much weight and comes with as much stress as the color. After all, it’s this color that will be dominating your home’s atmosphere for the entirety of your time in it. However, there is much more to this decision than personal preference. As tempting as it may be to choose your “favorite color”, there’s a chance that it won’t translate well onto the walls of your home, dampening the environment for yourself or potential buyers. When making this decision, it’s important to think about mass appeal. Interior colors don’t need to reflect your personality as much as they need to suit your home.

How to Decide on a Paint Color for Your Home's Interior

It’s not just an issue of making your house “look cool”; a strategic interior color scheme can be one of the most cost efficient ways of increasing your home’s value. Here are some things to consider when making this decision to ensure the most impactful results.

Don’t Ruffle Feathers

There are quite a few derogatory terms that get hurled at home owners, but some of the ones that sting that most are words like “garish”, “tacky” or, god forbid, “gross”. A key to picking a color lies in a golden rule: don’t offend anybody.

Sure, this could seem inauthentic, like you’re undermining the quirks in your personality to appeal to the public. If you’re the type who doesn’t care about how anyone else reacts to your interior design choices, then feel free to ignore this point. However, if you plan on inviting guests into your home, and especially if you want to sell it to one of them, it’s crucial to ensure that nobody will look at your interior paint decision and think “why?”

Staying on the right side of this principle requires a loose understanding of color trends and theory. This doesn’t mean that the best decision is going to be Pantone’s Color of the Year- remember color in fashion and interior design are two very different beasts- but taking note of what designers are gravitating to should give you some important context as to what colors signal the best taste.

When choosing a color, keep in mind how people will react. Neon pink? Makes people squint. Brown or yellow? Makes people think of certain bodily functions. Red? It’s a color that grabs attention and is known for provoking intense reactions in people. The color of your home should never put its mood at risk.



Different Rooms = Different Colors

Even more important is knowing the contexts in which different colors work. Of course, these change with time, but when Zillow did a study in 2017 looking at the relationship between interior paint colors and home value, it found that some color choices dragged home values down, specifically when placed in certain rooms. The most offensive color/room combinations? Yellow kitchens will cost you $820 on average. Red dining rooms? $2,031. White bathrooms? $4,035!!! Yikes.

The white bathroom phenomenon is the most telling. White is not a color that will offend anybody; in fact, it seems like the definition of neutral. However, white can be a jarring tone-setter for a space, like a bathroom, that tends to be devoid of natural light. Also, white is a color that is extremely susceptible to damage from dirt and grime. Not a great choice for the grimiest room in your home!

Think about what each room in your house is used for. The living room is for relaxing and gathering, so it makes sense to stick to warm colors that complement the atmosphere. Kitchens tend to benefit from a sleek, modern look, so anything that could offset your appetite should be a no-go.

Neutral vs. Institutional 

This brings us to our next point. Just because you want to veer away from controversial colors doesn’t mean you should gravitate towards colors that lack character. White, for example, won’t disgust anybody, but it’s a color so frequently associated with doctor’s offices and dismal workspaces. Gifting that color to your home’s interior can signal a lack of creativity, making people feel unsettled.

How to Decide on a Paint Color for Your Home's Interior - living room

Neutral doesn’t mean boring. There are plenty of ways to play it safe while embracing your creativity. A major phenomenon in paint color choices is America’s obsession with the color blue. In the aforementioned Zillow study, blue was found to raise the value of home when used in kitchens, bedrooms and dining rooms! However, it wasn’t great for living rooms (remember, warm colors). Blue is an example of a color that doesn’t jump out at you, but can illustrate nuance if its beauty catches someone’s eye.

It’s not always in your best interests to be lowkey with your color choices. Instead, it’s about finding the line between tasteful and gaudy. It’s easier to stay in the middle if you play it safe, but boldness can transform your agreeable home into a memorable one if done right.

Coordination is Key

The decision that could have the biggest impact on your home is not necessarily what colors you pick, but how those colors complement and clash with other colors that exist around them. It’s a fact of life: some colors go together while others don’t. If these relationships aren’t evident to your naked eye, take a look at a color wheel. Think of a color that appears throughout your home, whether it be through decorations, furniture or the material of your floor. When you choose a color for your interior paint job, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t bring out the worst in its surroundings.

Thus, it’s not really about color choice as much as it is about a color scheme. Having a consistent strategy when it comes to picking the colors that appear in your home is just as important as how each of these colors interact with the space that they’re in. Make sure the decisions you make follow some cohesive principle, otherwise your house might feel scattered.

Keep Your Eyes on the Future

Unless you plan on living in your home for the rest of your life, you shouldn’t center these decisions around yourself. Like we said before, the color of your home’s interior can have huge implications on its value, and if you plan on selling at any time in the future, you’re going to want to keep this in mind.

Painting your house to sell it requires a different mindset, as you’re focusing way less on how you feel in your home and much more on what makes it feel expensive. However, the principles are very similar. As long as you put thought into every interior paint decision you make, consult a team of professionals for its execution and avoid decisions that stem from personal preference, a well-painted house for you should translate into one that’s suited for the market.