Painting every room in a house the same color is, for some people, an attractive prospect. After all, if you spend hours, days, even weeks agonizing over the right paint color like I do, at least you only have to make this decision one time.
Once I find a color I love, that’s half the hard work done, and it’s not uncommon for me to use it in multiple rooms in a home design as a color thread that pulls the schemes together. However, the question as to whether every room should be painted in the same color is a little different. Let’s drill down into why you’re maybe questioning whether it’s a good idea…
If you’re naturally experimental with paint ideas as part of your interior decor, chances are this question would never even cross your mind, so is it fair to say you’re more conservative with your color choices? The question becomes, then, will one color actually work well across your entire house? Will it feel boring, or stagnant? Will it affect the flow between spaces? Will it read consistently throughout?
To get the answers to these questions, we asked interior designers whether they’d use the same color in all the rooms of a home. Here’s what they had to say.
Luke is a interiors writer, award-winning blogger and stylist. With a preference for light, minimal, but characterful interiors, he set about to find out whether painting every room in a house the same color is a good idea with the help of his interior designer contacts.
Does your home need the structure of color?
Paint colors are a tool that many people, whether they’re interior designers or not, use to help a space make sense. They can zone open plan rooms, add visual breaks that guide the eye and be used in different rooms to imbue them with a different feel from other spaces.
When we talk about using different colors, you don’t have to imagine a rainbow spectrum home, different tones and shades of single shades, whether they’re neutrals or something more colorful, can all be used in this way.
Not all homes demand this structure through paint, however. ‘Paint can create naturally defined areas in a home,’ agrees Ginger Curtis, owner and principal designer of Urbanology Designs (opens in new tab), ‘but if that’s not your goal consider keeping your foundational color palette consistent.’
‘Some homeowners, especially ones with an open concept, prefer the paint to be the thread that connects all the spaces together,’ Ginger adds. ‘It’s not right or wrong, it is leaning into what you love and what most inspires joy and inspiration. For each of us that looks a little different, and it should. Use guiding principles to guide you, not hard and fast color rules.’
Have you considered the lighting?
Just because you choose the same paint color ideas for every room in your house, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to read the same color in every instance. If you’ve chosen a color because you love it in your sunny, south-facing living room, that shade is going to look completely different in a shady, north-facing space.
‘Colors react differently to various lighting conditions, and you will get the most accurate representation of your selections if you do a test and lay your colors out vertically on the desired walls, rather than flat on a table,’ says interior designer Annaliesse Kelly, founder of AK Design (opens in new tab). ‘Consider the lighting in the space, as well. Are you working with primarily artificial or natural light? Before committing to paint colors, bring samples and paint chips home with you to test them out.’
With that in mind, is it worth choosing the same color for every room? If you happen to love the color no matter what light conditions it’s under, then it’s a win-win, but if not, isn’t it worth making another choice that better suits this space?
‘You can pick as many or as few colors as you want,’ suggests Annaliesse, ‘what is important is that they all complement each other and feel well-planned and purposeful.’
Is the same color or a similar color the better choice?
It’s fair to say that designers believe it’s okay to have a one-color scheme across the walls in your home. It’s something, after all, you’ll see across a whole lot of modern homes, especially using white.
However, the view on whether this should be the exact same color, or just something that feels the same, remains a point of contention.
‘If you decide to paint your entire house white, it should be the same tone of white so everything feels cohesive and blended together,’ suggests Annaliesse, while San Francisco-based interior designer Holly A Kopman (opens in new tab) takes another view.
‘I love a monochromatic color scheme for a project,’ she says, ‘but one way to keep it interesting is to slightly shift the color from room to room. I like to do this depending on the lighting in each room.’
This idea plays to the advantages of creating a color scheme over an entire home, rather than just a single room. ‘The color changes so subtly that you don’t even notice,’ Holly explains. ‘This elusive change can create a different mood depending upon theme of room.’