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How many colors should you paint the interior of your house?

Deciding how many colors to use when painting the interior of your house can be a daunting task. The possibilities seem endless! Should you stick with a single neutral color throughout? Or get more adventuresome with multiple colors in each room? While personal taste and style preferences should play a role, there are also some general guidelines that can help you determine an optimal number of colors for your home’s interior. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of using one color versus multiple colors, factors to consider when choosing color schemes, and tips for selecting and working with interior paint colors. Read on for insights that will help you determine the ideal color palette for your living spaces.

Pros and Cons of Using One Neutral Color

Some homeowners opt to use a single, neutral color like beige, gray, or white throughout the entire interior of their home. Here are some potential advantages and disadvantages of this approach:


  • Simplicity – Having one main color creates a simple, seamless look and feel throughout the home.
  • Flow – Using the same neutral color connects spaces and allows you to easily move from room to room without jarring color changes.
  • Cost – Sticking with one color means buying less paint overall, which saves money.
  • Resale value – Neutral schemes appeal to the widest range of buyers should you sell your home.


  • Boring – An all-neutral interior may feel dull or monotonous after a while.
  • Lack of personality – Having no variation in color means missing opportunities to add interest, character and personal style.
  • Spatial awareness – Rooms can start to blend together without color cues to define their edges and shapes.
  • Lack of accent – With no contrasting colors, it can be hard to highlight architectural details or decorative accessories.

Pros and Cons of Using Multiple Colors

Alternatively, you may want to introduce more color variation with different paint colors in each room or area. Here are some of the upsides and downsides of a multi-color interior palette:


  • Interest – Multiple colors add visual interest, dimension and vibrancy.
  • Personality – Different color schemes in each space allow you to express personal tastes and styles.
  • Delineation – Color changes help define the boundaries between rooms and transition between spaces.
  • Accentuation – Contrasting and complementary colors canhighlight architectural details.


  • Disunity – Too many disparate colors can make a home feel busy or disjointed.
  • Expense – Buying many colors of paint gets costly quickly.
  • Commitment – Bold color choices make it harder to resell the home later.
  • Errors – Designing color schemes room by room allows more chances for clashing or mistakes.

Factors to Consider

When determining how many paint colors to use for your interior, keep the following factors in mind:

Open floor plan

If you have a relatively open floor plan, sticking with one main color throughout promotes better flow from space to space. Defining areas with multiple colors works best when rooms are more closed off and compartmentalized.

Room size

Smaller rooms can feel overwhelmed by too many colors in close proximity. If your rooms are on the petite side, err on the simpler side color-wise. Larger spaces can more easily handle a larger palette.

Natural light

The amount of natural light a room receives should inform your color choices. Darker colors tend to work best in brightly lit rooms, while soft neutrals are often preferable for dimmer spaces.

Personal taste

At the end of the day, choose colors that make you happy and reflect your personality! While less is often more, some homes can successfully pull off a more eclectic, maximalist palette.

Tips for Selecting Interior Paint Colors

To settle on an interior paint color scheme you’ll love for years, keep these tips in mind:

  • Decide on a main neutral – This will serve as the backdrop for other accent colors.
  • Select 1-3 accent colors – Use these sparingly to highlight features like architectural trimwork.
  • Opt for saturated hues – Deeper, bolder colors tend to look best on walls and large surfaces.
  • Employ the 60-30-10 rule – 60% neutral, 30% secondary color, 10% accent color.
  • Match undertones – Keep all your colors in the same general undertone family (warm or cool).
  • Limit colors in small rooms – Stick to 1 or 2 colors max in bathrooms, hallways, etc.
  • Sample large areas – Paint decent sized swatches to get a feel for the color.
  • View in all lighting – Colors look different in natural daylight vs. indoor light.
  • Coordinate with furnishings – Make sure colors will complement your interior decor.

Tips for Working with Interior Paint Colors

Once you’ve settled on a color scheme, keep these tips in mind when taking out the paint brushes:

  • Prep properly – Clean surfaces, fill holes, tape trim and prime before painting.
  • Cut in edges first – Use a brush to outline walls, ceilings, trim etc. before rolling.
  • Work top to bottom – Paint ceilings first, then walls from top to bottom.
  • Maintain wet edges – Blend sections together before paint dries.
  • Distribute sheen evenly – Roll carefully to prevent flashing and sheen irregularities.
  • Work in sections – Fully complete painting one section before moving to the next.
  • Be consistent – Use the same brand/type of paint for all colors.
  • Check your work – Inspect for drips, missed spots and touch up as needed.
  • Remove paint from trim – Don’t accidentally paint windows, outlets, switches etc.
  • Give it time to cure – Wait at least 2 weeks before washing or cleaning walls.

Sample Interior Paint Color Schemes

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of popular interior paint color schemes:

Neutral with Pops of Color

Room Main Color Accent Color
Living Room Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray Sherwin-Williams Passionate Purple
Dining Room Behr Gray Cashmere Behr Canyon Pink
Bedroom Valspar Seaglass Valspar Orange You Glad

Nature-Inspired Colors

Room Main Color Accent Color
Living Room Benjamin Moore White Heron Benjamin Moore Golden Straw
Dining Room Sherwin-Williams Naval Sherwin-Williams Rainwashed
Bedroom Behr Willow Tree Behr Sweet Corn

Bold and Dramatic

Room Main Color Accent Color
Living Room Valspar Deepest Mauve Valspar Imperial Blue
Dining Room Sherwin-Williams Collegiate Navy Sherwin-Williams Passionate Purple
Bedroom Behr Blue Note Behr Canyon Pink


When deciding how many interior house colors to use, there’s no single right or wrong answer. Consider your home’s layout, your personal taste, lighting and furnishings. In general, limiting your palette to 1-3 colors creates a cohesive feel, while more variety adds interest. Be bold or neutral, unified or eclectic – the most important thing is choosing a palette you’ll enjoy living with. With some careful planning and experimentation with samples, you can strike the ideal balance for your space. The colors you choose for your walls set the tone for the whole home, so take your time and pick shades that will make your rooms shine. Happy painting!