How to Choose Paint Colors for Your Entire House: 8 Tips to Make It All Come Together | Architectural Digest

A glossy white trim connects a strong red room with a softer green space designed by Gary McBournie.

Photo: Luke White/The Interior Archive/Studio Indigo

Don’t get boxed in by one color

Inviting a new color can give your house much needed dimension. “Part of the fun in design is not limiting yourself to a confined box,” says Margaret Naeve Parker, founder of M.Naeve in Houston. “I love a house that has a room, or two, with a nice bold color that differs from the rest of the home.” When the wall paint transitions well, that peekaboo moment sparks a pleasant surprise. Parker recommends limiting this effect to a dining room or a study in order to avoid a color clash that comes off as too busy.

In one project, designer Margaret Naeve Parker matched the color of the crown molding and baseboards with the original plaster walls.

Photo: Pär Bengtsson

Think about the trim

Be wary of factory-white windows, as the ultrastark hue can create dissonance, especially when paired with a warmer off-white window trim. “While not always the rule, I like the trim and the mullions to be the same color, which further promotes a cohesive feeling,” Parker says. Matching trim to wall color also helps with the transition, especially when you use a high-quality paint. “Using the same color on all the trim and doors is an architectural element that remains consistent, unifying the entire home’s aesthetic,” Banbury adds.

Give your paint selection some wiggle room

Even though you may have a dream color palette in mind, the reality of your household may keep you from going all out. Say, your kid is obsessed with pink, but you don’t want to have a Barbie bedroom. But just because hot pink is in demand doesn’t mean you can’t compromise in a way that plays nice with the rest of the house’s palette. To appease both parents and kids, Alexander suggests painting a surface that is not all four walls, like a ceiling. She used a dusty hot pink to adorn a nursery. Not only will the color be hidden from the doorway view, it’s exciting for kids to look up from their bed and see their vision come to life, she says. Alternatively, you can hide the kid-coveted color in a bathroom by painting vanity cabinets or adding a playful color band.

At the end of the day, as long as you anchor your house with a few key paint colors, you’ll have flexibility to maintain a cohesive color scheme even with some outliers.


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