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What are the best paint colors for wood?

What are the best paint colors for wood?

When it comes to choosing paint colors for wood, there are a lot of options to consider. The type of wood, the existing color, the purpose of the space, and personal preferences all play a role in selecting the right colors. With so many hues available, it can be tough to narrow down the choices to find the perfect shades for your project. This article will walk you through some tips on choosing paint colors for wooden surfaces along with the best options for various rooms and styles.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint Colors for Wood

Here are some key things to keep in mind when selecting paint colors for wood surfaces:

Type of Wood

– Softwoods like pine absorb more paint so they often need an additional coat of primer. Meanwhile, hardwoods like oak may require sanding for the paint to properly adhere. Consider the type of wood you’re painting to ensure the paint has a smooth finish.

Existing Color of the Wood

– If the existing wood is stained or painted, you’ll want to select a paint color that complements or contrasts with that base color depending on the look you’re going for. You may need to prime the surface so the new color looks its best.

Purpose of the Space

– The function of the room or area can help steer you towards certain shades. For example, lighter colors tend to suit kitchens and bathrooms while bolder hues work well as accents in living rooms. Think about how you use the space.

Personal Style

– While trends come and go, choose a color that fits with your own decor taste. Are you drawn to modern, traditional, vintage or other aesthetics? Consider your style as you evaluate paint options.

Natural vs. Stained Wood Look

– Do you want to maintain the natural appearance of the wood or go for a stained effect? This helps determine whether to use translucent stains versus opaque paint.

Best Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in a home. When choosing paint for kitchen cabinets, you’ll want a hue that is both stylish and high-functioning. Here are top choices:


A classic and clean choice, white makes cabinets pop and reflects light to brighten the whole kitchen. White also serves as a neutral backdrop for adding color through accents. Options like Simply White or Decorators White provide a crisp look.

Light Gray

For a more modern feel, various shades of light gray like Revere Pewter, Coventry Gray and On the Rocks are great go-to cabinet colors. They provide a stylish but understated look.

Navy Blue

This unexpectedly versatile color works for everything from modern to farmhouse kitchen styles. Navy paint has a grounding effect but also injects personality into the space. Try Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue or Sherwin-Williams’ Naval.


Perfect for edgier contemporary spaces, charcoal cabinets are dramatic and stylish. Pair sleek charcoal paint with metal accents and black granite or white quartz countertops. Black Green by Farrow & Ball is a top option.

Sage Green

For a more organic feel, sage green is an appealing paint color for cabinets. It’s earthy yet refreshing. Colors like Valspar’s Elf Green evoke cottage charm. Partner it with butcher block counters.

Best Paint Colors for Bathroom Vanities

Paint is a simple and affordable way to give your bathroom vanity an update. Factors like lighting, existing tile and decor affect your choices. Here are top vanity paint colors:


Pure white is a foolproof option for bathrooms as it keeps the space looking bright and clean. White vanities pair well with any color scheme. Trim and tiles stand out against crisp white paint.

Soft Blue

Serene shades of blue like Valspar’s Gentle Rain suit bathrooms beautifully. Blue hues complement white tile and feel spa-like. They work in both traditional and coastal bathrooms.

Light Gray

Subtle grays give bathrooms a tranquil vibe. Colors like Mindful Gray, Accessible Beige and Classic French Gray work well on vanities. Pair with white, gray or blue tiles.


Make a dramatic statement with a black vanity. It anchors lighter tiles, floors and walls. Black paint is perfect for modern bathrooms. Choose a shade with a matte finish to avoid looking too shiny.

Forest Green

Deep green offers a dose of color without overwhelming a bathroom. Colors like Valspar’s Summer Moss or Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog provide just the right jewel-toned pop on a vanity.

Best Paint Colors for Bedroom Furniture

Bedrooms should promote tranquility and rest. When selecting paint for bedroom furniture like nightstands, headboards, dressers and desks, opt for relaxing, low-key hues. Recommended colors include:

Light Blue

Soft, airy blues create a soothing bedroom retreat. Benjamin Moore’s delightful Hawthorne Blue or Sherwin-Williams’ Rainfall work beautifully on nightstands and other bedroom furniture.


Neutral shades of tan like Khaki White or Accessible Beige have a calming presence perfect for bedrooms. Tan works for furniture of varying styles from modern to cottage.

Dusty Rose

Romantic dusty rose paint colors like Farrow & Ball’s Nancy’s Blushes or Valspar’s French Lilac add a feminine touch to bedroom decor. This subdued pink reads as a neutral.

Light Gray

Serene grays like Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin, Sherwin-Williams’ Mindful Gray or Valspar’s Rocky Road make wonderful paint colors for bedroom cabinets and desks. Gray works in any decor.

Pale Yellow

A pale lemon or buttery yellow evokes happiness. Uplifting pastel yellows like Lemongrass by Behr or Sunshine by Valspar keep things light and cheerful. Yellow complements other bedroom colors nicely.

Best Exterior Paint Colors for Wood Siding

Outdoor wood surfaces endure weathering, so exterior paint plays the crucial role of protecting wood while beautifying your home. Top exterior colors for wood siding include:


Crisp white siding has classic appeal. It contrasts beautifully with black shutters and bright doors. White reflects light so it stands out on homes.

Light Gray

Shades like Rockport Gray, Gray Owl or Dorian Gray give off an elegant vibe. Gray siding encourages other architecture details to pop. It’s versatile enough for any home style.

Sage Green

Earthy green colors like Valspar’s Wilderness, Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal or Sherwin-Williams’ Pointed Fir provide a relaxing outdoor oasis feel. Green hues complement landscaping.


From light sky blue to navy, any shade of blue has curb appeal. It makes wooden siding really stand out. Blue also symbolizes trust for homeowners.


For an eye-catching exterior, you can’t go wrong with a classic red like Sherwin-Williams’ Fireweed or Behr’s Barn Red. Red makes a home feel warm, welcoming and full of charm.

Best Interior Paint Colors for Wood Accents

Wood trim, beams, floors and other architectural accents deserve paint colors that accentuate their rich texture. Ideal accent colors include:

Pure White

A bright, clean white like Swiss Coffee or Simply White makes wood details pop. It provides contrast against warm wood tones in a light and airy way.


Deep, inky shades like Benjamin Moore’s Black Forest Green or Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black add striking drama. Charcoal makes wood stand out while feeling bold and moody.

Navy Blue

Classic navy reads traditional and elegant against wooden beams, wainscoting, window frames and floors. Try Valspar’s Midnight Sky or Behr’s Blue Dusk.


Versatile grays like Worldly Gray, Edgecomb Gray or Mindful Gray blend seamlessly with various wood stains. Gray draws out wood’s linear grain patterns.


For modern rustic flair, a black like Behr’s Carbon or Sherwin-Williams’ Black Magic looks sharp on wood accents. It has an edgy industrial vibe. The deep tone highlights wood texture.

Best Paint Sheens for Wood

Consider the following paint sheens when coating wooden surfaces:

Flat – Provides excellent hide for wood flaws but is prone to scuffing. Use for ceilings and low-traffic walls.

Eggshell – Slight sheen, easy clean-up and good durability for walls and cabinets. Not super shiny.

Satin – Withstands washing and minimal scuffs, making it ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and trim. Has a soft glow.

Semi-Gloss – Very durable and scrubbable finish perfect for doors, cabinets and high-use areas like hallways. Has a stylish sheen.

Gloss – Most reflective and hardest finish that highlights wood grain. Use for doors and accent trim. Shows more imperfections.

Tips for Painting Wood

Follow these top tips to get the best painted finish on wooden surfaces:

– Sand surfaces thoroughly prior to priming and painting for proper adhesion.

– Wipe away sanding residue and clean the wood before painting. Let it fully dry.

– Use oil-based wood primer or dedicated stain-blocking primer to prevent bleed-through.

– For paint, opt for quality latex or enamel paints that have satin, semi-gloss or gloss sheens.

– Apply two to three coats of paint for complete coverage and a uniform look.

– Lightly sand between coats for a super smooth finish.

– Work in manageable sections, following the wood grain pattern with the paint roller.

– Give paint time to fully cure for harder finish – typically 1-2 weeks.


Choosing the ideal paint colors for wood surfaces depends on the type of wood, room function, lighting and your personal style preferences. Lighter neutrals like white and gray are versatile options that brighten spaces and complement wood tones. Alternatively, bold navy, black, charcoal and green paint can make wood details pop while adding drama. Satin or semi-gloss sheens offer the right balance of luster and protection. With this guide’s tips in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect shades to make your wood surfaces shine!