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What color should not be used in dining spaces?

What color should not be used in dining spaces?

When designing a dining space, choosing the right wall color is an important decision that can dramatically affect the overall feel and functionality of the room. While vibrant, saturated colors may seem like a good idea at first, certain colors should generally be avoided in spaces where people gather to eat and socialize. The wrong colors can negatively impact appetite, mood, and energy levels.

How Color Affects Dining Spaces

Color has a powerful psychological impact, and the colors you choose for your dining room walls and decor will influence the atmosphere and experience of the space. Here are some key ways color affects dining areas:

– Appetite – Some colors are known to stimulate hunger, while others can suppress appetite. Bold reds, oranges, and yellows often make people feel hungry, which is ideal for dining rooms. Cooler colors like blue and green may have the opposite effect.

– Mood & Emotion – Color can elicit strong emotional responses. Warm tones promote feelings of comfort and cheer, while cool tones are more calming. Bright colors energize, and neutral hues relax. Paint colors should match the mood you want to achieve.

– Ambiance – Darker dining room colors create an intimate, cozy vibe. Lighter colors keep the ambiance airy and open. The right tones set the tone for conversation and connection around the table.

– Energy Level – Soft, muted walls bring down the energy level – ideal for leisurely weekend brunches. Vibrant paint colors energize and stimulate – better for busy family dinner spaces.

– Lighting – Some paint colors exaggerate or mute the effects of natural and artificial lighting, impacting the feel of the room at different times of day.

Colors to Avoid in Dining Rooms

When selecting a wall color for dining areas, there are a few hues that are generally not recommended:

Bright White

A bright, stark white can make a dining space feel sterile and unappetizing, almost like a hospital cafeteria. It also shows dirt easily. Softer whites and off-whites create a cleaner, more welcoming look.


Black can look stylish and elegant, but dining rooms painted completely black tend to feel dreary and cavernous. Black walls absorb light, making the space dark and visually unappealing during daylight hours when most diners and families want to use the space.

Neon & Extreme Saturated Colors

While vivid primary colors in moderation can stimulate the appetite, overly bright, neon, or fluorescent paint colors often have the opposite effect. They can overstimulate to the point of decreasing comfort and hunger levels.

Gray & Beige

Neutrals like gray and beige are popular choices for dining room walls, but some shades can look bland or cold. Soft grays with blue undertones, in particular, can drain energy and dampen moods. Warm beiges are generally better options.


Though blue is commonly used in kitchens, pure blues are not ideal for dining spaces. Blue can come across as unappetizing, eliciting associations with mold and rotting food. Soft blue-grays are safer than mid-tone blues.

Color Why Avoid Better Alternatives
Bright white Sterile, shows dirt Softer whites, off-whites
Black Dreary, absorbs light Dark grays, deep greens
Neon/bright colors Overstimulating Primary colors in moderation
Gray & beige Cold, bland Warm grays, light tans
Blue Unappetizing Blue-grays

Best Paint Colors for Dining Rooms

To create an inviting atmosphere for meals in your dining space, consider using colors known to stimulate the appetite and positive moods. Here are some of the best dining room wall colors:

Warm Neutrals

Paint colors like warm ivory, tan, light brown, and soft peach are soothing neutral backdrops that keep the focus on food, conversation, and connections. Warm creams and greiges are ideal for smaller spaces.


Cheerful, energetic yellow inspires conviviality and stimulates the appetite. Buttery yellows are welcoming; goldenrod and ochre add visual warmth. Deeper yellows like amber help create an elegant dining space.


From bright cherry red to deeper burgundy, red is considered the most appetite-enhancing color. Use red tones on one accent wall or in a monochromatic scheme. Red encourages interaction and energy, perfect for lively dinners.


Nature-inspired greens like sage, moss, and olive are versatile neutral-adjacent hues fitting for any style. Brighter greens keep the mood upbeat; deeper shades lend a stately feel. Just avoid bluish greens.


With earthy appeal and rich red-orange tones, terracotta makes a cozy, inviting dining room color. Its inherent warmth stimulates comfort and connection around the table. Use terracotta walls with wood tones and textures.

Tips for Choosing the Best Dining Room Colors

Follow these tips when selecting paint colors to ensure your dining space has an appetizing, uplifting ambiance:

– Consider the mood you want to cultivate – lively, relaxed, elegant, cozy, etc. Choose hues that will set that tone.

– Pick colors known to stimulate the appetite – yellows, reds, oranges. Avoid blues and cool tones.

– Don’t overlook the impact on lighting. Darker colors can absorb natural light.

– Test paint samples on the walls at different times/lighting. Make sure colors look good day and night.

– For small rooms, stick to light, neutral paint colors to maintain an open, airy feel.

– Complement your color scheme with appropriately colored furnishings, decor, and accents.

– View color cards in both daylight and artificial light to get the truest impression of hues.


Dining room wall colors shouldn’t be an afterthought – they directly impact the experience of the space. While personal taste differs, the best dining room paint colors stimulate warmth, appetite, and positive emotions during mealtimes when good food and conversation take center stage. Avoid cool tones like stark white and blue, instead opting for warm neutrals, yellows, reds, and natural shades of green. With some strategic testing and forethought, you can pick the perfect backdrop for memorable dining moments in your home.