How to paint the interior of a house

Designers reveal their personal favorite paint colors for every interior room

How to paint the interior of a house

Deirdre Sullivan is an interior design expert and features writer who specializes in home improvement as well as design. She began her career as an assistant editor at Elle magazine and has over a decade of experience. Deirdre contributes content for brands including The Spruce and, and has been a featured speaker at various conferences.

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There’s an insurmountable number of popular interior paint colors you can choose. Deciding which shade is one thing, and figuring out what room to cover it in is a whole other beast. That is why we narrowed down your choices to a handful of tried and true shades favored by color experts for various rooms to help make your decision a little easier. Looking to paint your home soon? Determine how much paint you need with The Spruce’s Paint Calculator.


  • Color Family: Neutrals ranging from creamy white to darker tones
  • Complementary Colors: Each color works with various complementary colors
  • Pairs Well With: All work with a broad range of interior styles
  • Mood: Cheerful, cozy, and refreshing light and mid-tones to energizing or comforting darker tones
  • Where to Use: Accent or all four walls

Here's our list of the 10 best designer-savvy interior paint colors for all rooms in your home.

PPG Porter Paints Chalky Blue

Paintzen color expert Kristen Chuber shares her top paint color, which is a dusty Chalky Blue (PPG1153-5) by PPG Porter Paints. “Somewhere between blue and gray, this velvety shade can actually be used as a neutral. It looks beautiful with bright white trim, but maybe even more impactful with rich, black accents. We have also seen this shade used beautifully in a monochromatic palette, alongside other shades of blue-gray, both on the lighter and darker side of the spectrum.” Try using this hue to paint your kitchen, one of your bathrooms, or the bedroom.

Benjamin Moore Flora

How to paint the interior of a house

If you are looking for that perfect muted shade of green, interior designer Rebecca West from Seriously Happy Homes suggests Flora (AF 470) by Benjamin Moore. “The blue-green paint is rich without being too dark, and earthy without feeling too heavy. It pairs beautifully with medium and dark wood tones and works with a broad range of interior styles from traditional to modern.” You can never go wrong with soft sage-colored paint, and it can instantly make any room feel more soothing and relaxing.

The Spruce Best Home Sundream

How to paint the interior of a house

Add a little feng shui to your living space with a pale orange paint color. “According to practitioners orange and red colors lend happiness to a room, which of course makes things feel more welcoming and inviting,” says New York City architect, John Mochelle. “The Spruce Best Home Sundream (SPR-03) is more of a warm beige but lives in the orange family. It is subtle enough for all four walls but still sufficiently sweet to evoke positive vibes.”

You can also check out our editor’s picks for The Spruce Best Home paints.

Glidden Red Delicious

How to paint the interior of a house

“Red is a powerful and energetic hue,” says PPG Paints color expert Dee Schlotter. “Red Delicious (00YR 08/409) by Glidden is a deep red that would serve as a bold and stimulating color for an accent wall.” It looks particularly refreshing when paired with white-painted trim. While it’s a bold hue like this apple red, it’s a timeless version of red that will look beautifully rich for years to come.

Red is vibrant which means it’s important to pair red with the right colors, such as blues, whites, and tans. Surprisingly, dark red also goes well with darker shades of red.

Time necessary to paint a house will be determined by numbers of different factors. Size of a home, man power available, work complexity and organization are essentially important to take into consideration while estimating the time for completion the project. Simple repainting ceiling and walls in a up to 1,900 square feet three bedroom house with minimum preparation work involved might be completed in about 4 days by a crew of 3 painters. Couple days will be spent on painting windows, doors and moldings. But it doesn’t mean all work cannot be done faster. Any standard house can be refreshed with a new paint application in 2 – 3 work days with sufficient man power. At the same time, high end custom work much more time consuming process and will take longer to complete.

New construction or renovation

Painting ceiling and walls in a new house or home addition typically doesn’t take that long as repainting older ones which very often will have some damages and should be fixed first. Trims, doors and windows usually will be repainted faster in existing homes because new woodwork will require caulking and patching all holes after finish nail gun prior to painting what is not a case while repainting.

Number of colors and type of paint

Standard work will often assume application of one coat of white paint on ceiling and two coats of colored paint on walls. Painting walls within one room in different colors or application a few colors of paint on the same wall for creating a very unique design, will lead to significant increase in time and the whole project might take longer to complete. Very often dark colors especially red have to be applied three or even four times on the same wall.

Paint application and quality of work

Using brush and roller is typical for most interior painting projects. It might be the best solution for walls in any case, but spray application of paint on trims, doors and moldings very often is only acceptable quality in custom high end homes. Typically such work will require much more man-hours and preparation should be done much more carefully.

Do it yourself or hire a professional painter

Painting is one of the simplest house rejuvenation projects which can be easily done by a homeowner in spare time. Ceiling and walls in standard 12’ x 12’ room can be painted in 5 – 6 hours by self assuming walls are in a good condition and will require two coats of flat paint application. Another 2 – 3 hours might be necessary for baseboards, doors and windows. Decreasing the cost to paint a house by cutting labor expenses and do it yourself is definitely an option worth to consider on a low budget. One work day or about 8 hours will be sufficient for professional painter for completing walls and ceiling in two rooms. Hiring an experience painter will save time and it might be a good idea for a higher standards and quality painting projects.

How to paint the interior of a house

Are you looking to freshen up the interior and/or exterior of your home? The way your home looks impacts how it feels when you come home. If you love the way your home looks it makes it easier to enjoy being there. Even the cutest of houses needs to be freshened up from time to time. Your home can start to look dingy, dull, and out of date. Paint is one of the easiest and most dramatic ways to freshen up the interior and exterior of your home.

Paint can provide a clean slate

Paint can start to look dingy, dull, and worn over time. On the inside of your house, regular activities can make your walls look dingy and dull. Cooking in the kitchen can cause grime to get on the walls. The simple act of touching or leaning up against a wall can cause it to get dirty over time. When some spots are dingy and dirty, they can negatively impact the look of the entire space. On the exterior of your home, the paint is constantly exposed to elements that can impact how it looks and even cause damage. The paint on the interior and exterior of your home will also show signs of wear over time. Holes, knicks, and other types of damage can significantly impact the look of your property. A new paint job can provide you with a clean slate at your home. New paint can make your property feel fresh and new immediately. Paint is one of the quickest and least expensive ways to freshen up your home.

Paint can change the feel of your property

Paint is a powerful design tool. You can transform the entire feel of your property with your paint color choices. A house with an exterior that is painted bright white has a different feel than a house that is painted a deep blue. On the interior, the warmth or coolness of your home is directly impacted by the colors you choose. If you are ready to completely change the entire feel of your house, new paint colors can do that. It helps to think about how you want your house to feel as you go through the process of choosing paint colors.

New paint is less expensive than a renovation

New paint is a way to significantly impact the look of your house without taking on a renovation. If you want to freshen your house up, consider painting before you start knocking out walls or ordering lumber. Many homeowners are surprised to discover how big of a difference paint can make. You can even get professional help with color selection if you want a dramatic change but are having trouble choosing a color.

The pros at D&D Painting can help you transform the interior and exterior of your home with paint. You can use paint to simply freshen up your home or use it to create a dramatic difference. Get in touch with D&D Painting to talk about what you want and to get a free quote.

How to paint the interior of a house

When it comes to choosing the right color for your home, making a decision about whether you should paint it all one color or use different shades and tones to create a unique expression can be challenging. Many people struggle with whether they should paint their entire house one color or use several colors to create an exciting color scheme.
Well, the answer to that dilemma is more complicated than you might expect as everyone’s home and interior space uses different angles, perspectives, and designs. If you’re someone who is trying to revamp the look of their home but don’t know what colors to go with, you’ve come to the right place.

Continue reading to find out more about how you should approach choosing the right color scheme for your home.

Should I paint my entire home one color?

As a general rule of thumb, you should never paint your entire home one singular color. That isn’t to say that you can’t use the same color in some capacity throughout your entire home; however, it shouldn’t be the primary wall color in every room. If you want to use the same color throughout your home, try implementing different shades of the same color or placing it in different significant areas around your home instead of making it the centerpiece.

By implementing different shades of the same color or only adding it to individual sections in every space of your home, you can achieve what is known as color continuity. Color continuity gives your interior space a uniform look that is smooth and seamless while also being very elegant.

If you do decide to paint your entire home with one color or variant shades of a particular color, make sure you add in different colors that help accent your primary color choice. Using one color can also help “connect” various areas of your home so that the entire job is fluid, giving your interior space enhanced energy flow for improved mental health and feeling.

Color impacts psychology on a considerable level. By taking the time to plan your interior or even exterior color scheme carefully, you can create a unique appeal to your property that can’t be found anywhere else.

Using color to create the perfect look for your home

Use defining elements such as stained wood, textured molding, artwork, decorations, and more that will bring out the true intensity of the primary color you choose for your interior space. This will help add definition and depth to your space that will increase the perceived space and overall layout of your rooms.
Color can be played with in a fun and youthful fashion, or you can take a more severe approach; the choice is all up to you.

Just remember to use colors and patterns that have correlative value to one another.

People Also Ask

Q: How many paint colors in a house interior?
A: As per standard interior design rules, you should never have more than about five distinctive colors in an interior space. When you exceed five colors, you’re going into a territory that becomes wild and whimsical, which is excellent for art museums and things of that sort but not for a residential home.

Q: What is the most popular color for interior walls?
A: There are several colors that can be considered “popular” tones and shades for interior walls; however, some of the most common are: Collingwood, Edgecomb gray, gray owl, Manchester Tan, and Revere Pewter.

Q: What are the 3 neutral colors?
A: The three primary neutral colors are considered white, black, and gray. Sometimes beige and brown are also regarded as neutral colors.

Now you can decide if you should paint your entire house the same color

Throughout this write-up, we’ve covered all of the most critical facts you need to know about using the same color for your entire home. Before choosing what color you’re going to paint your house, ask yourself, “How does this color make me feel?” “Do I see myself keeping this color for a long time?” Depending on your answers to those questions, you can make an educated decision about how to approach your next interior paint job.
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How to paint the interior of a house

If you’re planning to list your home on the market, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to increase its value is also one of the simplest: paint.

“It’s the least expensive investment for the biggest return,” says Jennie Norris, chairwoman of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and her own Denver-based home staging business, Sensational Homes.

Painting the interior results in a 107 percent on the return on investment (ROI), and painting the exterior leads to a 55 percent ROI, according to a HomeGain 2012 Top DIY Home Improvements for Seller survey. Painting the interior costs on average $967, and offers a $2,001 increase in value. Painting the exterior cost $1,406 and results in a $2,176 increase in value.

How to paint the interior of a house


Use Opendoor data on thousands of recently sold homes in your area to see how home improvement, renovation, and remodeling projects can increase the value of your home.

Interior paint – select warm neutral colors

Your home is more likely to sell with a fresh coat of paint, which is the very first thing buyers see.

“You want to have nice, fresh impression for the buyers,” says Norris. “They don’t want to come into a house that looks like it’s been worn hard and is in poor condition.”

Neutral colors make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there because the paint goes with just about anything. Many buyers also don’t want to shell out extra cash to paint after closing.

The three experts we spoke with all recommended warm neutral colors. Norris suggests using beiges, tans, golds, grays and “greige”—a blend of gray and beige. Avoid white, which is too stark.

Know which rooms to prioritize

“Paint is the simplest, most effective, and most transformative way to change a space,” says Christina Hoffmann, concept manager of, a homeownership and buying resource produced by the National Association of Realtors. “The right kind of paint can make a small room look bigger and a cavernous room look smaller,” she adds.

Small rooms can appear larger if you paint them with a lighter or pastel color, says Hoffman. If you paint the trim and the walls the same color, you’re creating an illusion of larger space. If you have a large room that you’d like to appear smaller, try using a warmer or darker color to give the space a cozier feel. Lighter, neutral colors tend to photograph better since they make the room feel brighter.

Hoffman advises prioritizing painting your kitchen, bathrooms, entryways and foyer. Purchase a sample can and paint a swatch of wall or a piece of cardboard that color to check if it works in the space. Observing how natural and artificial light plays on the color can help you narrow down which to use.

Color can also emphasize unique features. A bright white baseboard can pop against a different colored wall. A more colorful nook could create a memorable impression on buyers. Hoffman says those tiny, charming details can make a good impression on potential buyers.

Want to skip repairs, showings, and months of uncertainty? Learn how we make selling your home easier.

Paint types matter, too

Paint holds more than just color. Different finishes and sheens can impact how the paint color pops, how easy a wall is to clean, and other factors.

Fallyn Flaherty-Earp, a marketing manager for the Paint Quality Institute, recommends the following when it comes to choosing specific types of paint:

  • Stick to flat or eggshell sheens on broad walls, as they will not show off the nail pops and unevenness in walls as much as a satin will.
  • Satins and semi-gloss coats are better for durability and stain resistance.
  • Use semi-glosses on the trim and doors to make it easier to clean dust and handprints.
  • Price can be a good indicator of quality level. Spend a few extra dollars on a high-quality paint, or at least something mid-tier. With a cheaper paint, you might have to use more coats, and it won’t go on as smooth.
  • If you’re painting yourself, purchase high-quality brushes and rollers for an even, flawless finish.
  • Use eggshell or semi-gloss in the bathrooms where there might be moisture, advises Norris. And don’t forget to paint the trim and ceiling, not just the walls.

Exterior paint – no more than three colors

The exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers see. Some homes, like those made of brick, won’t require fresh paint. But exteriors like stucco or siding might.

There should be no more than three colors on the exterior of the house, says Norris. She recommends following the 60-30-10 percentage rule: 60 percent is the body of the home, like stucco or brick, 30 percent is the garage doors and trim. The final 10 percent is the front and shutters, with just a pop of color.

Norris says that you don’t want to use too many colors on the exterior. A variety of colors can be distracting and make the house appear choppy or smaller—distracting the buyer’s eye. One of her favorite color schemes is a neutral gray for the body, white for the trim and garages and a front door with a pop of color featuring brown or blue.

When do you need to paint your home’s exterior? When the exterior paint is peeling, chipped or cracked.

“A fresh coat of paint in on-trend colors for a house is always going to look better than a dated color scheme with paint that is peeling, faded and worn,” says Norris. She advises picking neutral colors that will be current in the next five to 10 years. The exceptions are Victorian houses, historic properties and homes in tropical areas where brighter colors are the norm.

A full exterior paint job is best left to the pros, since many homeowners lack the necessary equipment, like ladders, scaffolding, and spray tools.

“Homeowners can definitely freshen up their trim around windows or repaint a garage, or front door, but the body of the house should be done professionally if it was painted before,” says Norris.

Most of the major paint companies create specific paints designed for home exteriors. Those exterior lines typically exclude colors that are less likely to hold up due to weather.

If you’re aiming at increasing the value of your home, a few cans paint can be a wise investment. Choosing the paint colors will not only appeal to the broadest audience possible, but also help future buyers envision themselves living in the space.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

How to paint the interior of a house

Whether you just recently purchased your first home or you want to spruce up a house you’ve lived in for a while, a new paint job can be a great way to refresh your property. Concerned about what that might cost? Here’s everything you need to know about the average cost to paint a house. We’ll cover both interior and exterior paint jobs.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint the Exterior of a House?

The average cost to paint the exterior of a home is $2,580. That’s according to Homeadvisor, whose members report an average cost of an exterior paint job that starts at $800 and goes up to $5,400. Most homeowners who use the site report spending between $1,715 and $3,676.

The average cost to paint a house depends on several variables, but the biggest one is size. The cost to paint the exterior of a 1,500 square-foot home will naturally be lower than the cost to paint a 6,000 square-foot home. A starting point of around $1,000 is a safe bet. But if your home has multiple stories or has old paint that needs to be scraped, you can expect to pay more.

So is there a formula that links home size to the cost of a paint job? Opinions differ. First, measure the exterior square footage of your home and multiply it by the height of your home, from the ground to the roof line. Subtract windows and doors you don’t plan to paint if you feel like getting fancy. You can also subtract window trims if you plan on painting them with an accent color.

Once you have the approximate square footage that you’ll need to paint, remember that a gallon of paint generally covers between 250 and 400 square feet. You’ll need more if you’re painting a rough, porous material, or if you want to paint a dark house a much lighter color. Depending on your color choice, you may need a more expensive tinted primer to help with the color transition.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint the Interior of a House?

How to paint the interior of a house

The average cost to paint the interior of a house falls between $1.50 and $3.50 per square foot. If you’re doing the ceilings, walls and trim, the cost per square foot will likely fall between $3 and $4. If there is damage to the walls that needs to be repaired before painting can proceed, you’ll pay extra. These are the average costs if you pay a service provider to paint your home for you. You may also choose to do the paint job yourself.

Homeowners are more likely to tackle an interior paint job themselves than to take the DIY route for an exterior paint job. That, plus the cost of the paint itself, means that an interior paint job is generally cheaper than an exterior one. And it can be a great way to refresh your space without buying all new furniture or making more costly and time-consuming renovations.

To calculate the cost of an interior paint job that you do yourself, measure the square footage of the interior space you need to paint. Consider whether you will need primer or multiple coats to help with your color transition. If you’re just adding another layer of the same color of paint you used a few years back, you may be able to use a single coat and skip the primer.

Once you have the interior square footage calculated, experts say you’ll want to divide by 350. 350 square feet is the average coverage of a gallon of paint (though some say 250-400 square feet). The average coverage for a gallon of primer is 200 square feet. Your square footage divided by 350 square feet gets you the number of gallons of paint you’ll need. Square footage divided by 200 gets you the number of gallons of primer you’ll need. You can save money by ensuring you don’t buy too much paint.

From there, you can calculate the cost of the paint job based on the per-gallon price of your paint brand of choice. If you need to buy equipment like ladders, paint guns, brushes, etc. remember to factor those prices into your calculation.

Factors You Can Control

How to paint the interior of a house

Aside from the size and the material of your home, there are several factors that affect how much it costs to paint your home. If you paint the home yourself you’ll almost certainly spend less than you would if you hired professional painters. If you’re doing a cost comparison, remember to include the cost of painting equipment when you’re tallying the cost of a DIY paint job. You’ll need a ladder, brushes and buckets in addition to the paint itself. For an interior job, you’ll probably want tape and a drop cloth.

Another factor that affects the cost of painting a house is the paint itself. Different brands come in at different price points. When you’re selecting paint at the hardware store, don’t be afraid to mention your budget to the member of staff who’s helping you. You can also consult the web for recommendations on affordable paint. If you want a super-premium look or paint with minimal fumes you’ll pay extra.

You can also save money by shopping around for painters and getting bids from different service providers. Start with recommendations from friends, neighbors and trusted websites and from there get quotes for how much the paint job will cost. If you go with the first price you’re quoted, you might miss out on a bargain. And if you rent your home, be sure to check with your landlord to make sure painting your space is allowed.

Click the link below and get directions to your closest Sherwin-Williams store.

How to paint the interior of a house

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  • Painting Order

How to paint the interior of a house

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to paint a room in the right order. Even the best painters using the best paints have drips, splatter and occasional spills. Make sure you try to follow the painting order below.

1. Ceilings

Paint a 2-inch wide strip on the ceiling where it meets the wall.

Using a roller with an extension pole, start in a corner and work across the short side to maintain a wet edge.

2. Walls

Paint a 2-inch strip along ceiling, floor and woodwork with a brush.

Use a roller, coming as close to the edges as possible to create a clean, uniform appearance.

3. Woodwork

Paint all trim around doors, windows, ceilings and floor.

4. Floor

Start in a corner diagonally opposite the room exit.

Paint a 2-inch wide strip on the floor where it meets the wall or trim.

Using a roller with an extension pole or a wide brush, start in a corner and work across the short side to maintain a wet edge.

When re-painting the entire house or picking paint colors for a new construction, selecting a whole house paint scheme can be a daunting task. How do you know that they will all go together? How many colors are too many? Should I just use one paint color throughout the house? Since we started renovating houses seven years ago, I’ve had my own trial and errors with wall paint. You know what I mean – when that subtle light gray-blue paint sample magically turns into baby sky blue on the walls? Ugh. We’ve learned from our mistakes over the years, and below I’ve gathered together our tried and true paint colors that transition seamlessly from room to room. We love these wall paints and home buyers seem to love them too.


If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, I’m sure this paint color has popped up a time or ten. 😉 It has definitely been a go-to favorite of mine and we have used it in multiple houses now (Brooklyn Street, Myrtle, Avenue, and Denmead). It’s a pale silvery blue green that injects an immediate airiness into any space. Silver Strand is a great paint color for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms; it’s incredibly soothing and relaxing. I’ve found that this paint color pairs well with white, gray, black, espresso, and cream.


Just a shade darker than Silver Strand, I love using Magnetic Gray as a paint color for bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, and cozy living rooms. It has a bit more depth to it and looks great with lots of white (especially subway tile). This paint color can be dark, so I would make sure you’re using it in large rooms or rooms with a lot of natural light. Depending on the exposure and lighting, Magnetic Gray can appear more silvery blue or have green undertones. It’s a very interesting neutral paint color that I keep going back to and a personal favorite for master bedrooms.


If you’re looking for one good paint color for the entire house, this would be my pick. Agreeable Gray is a greige paint with the perfect balance of gray and beige – not too cool and not too warm. EVERYONE seems to love this wall color. Both my sister and my parents have used this in their home now. It’s a great paint color to use when selling your home, too, as it appeals to so many people. Agreeable Gray is not too dark and not too light – it’s not going to make a small room feel dark but there is still just enough color to bring out a nice contrast with white trim. Have I convinced you yet? 😉 You won’t be sorry if you pick this paint. We used it in our office and guest bedroom and bath.


Repose Gray is my go-to pure gray paint color. This is a great paint color to go with wood trim as you can see in the Avenue House below. Since Repose Gray is a more true gray, I would be careful putting it next to beige and cream tones such as cabinets and carpet. They can compete instead of complement. This grey paint color adds a nice amount of contrast to white trim without being too heavy or dark. I like using this in bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. Repose Gray can be a great whole house paint color, especially for new construction or a more modern home. I also love the look of it on cabinets when you have white walls. So light and airy.


If you’re on the hunt for a barely there greige paint color, Benjamin Moore Classic Gray may be for you. In the kitchen at the Denmead House, we had very little natural light coming in because of the screened in porch. Since we were installing white cabinets, I wanted a paint color that would add the slightest contrast and a bit of warmth, but still have minimal visual weight like white paint. Classic Gray is a very interesting neutral paint color. Despite it’s name, I would say it is a bit more beige than gray. In person, it looks like a very toned down eggshell, in my opinion. I love the look of it in this kitchen by Studio McGee.


Selecting a gray paint color for cabinets is hard. You don’t want something too light or something too dark. I spent a LOT of time researching gray cabinets, and in the end, I found that Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray was my favorite shade. It just dark enough to add contrast (it won’t blend in with a light wall color) but it is bright enough to not make a kitchen feel heavy if you use it everywhere. Dorian Gray doesn’t have any weird undertones either, which can be tricky to find in grey paint colors. This would be a great paint choice for gray trim and doors. We’ve used it now on kitchen islands, shiplap, bathroom vanities, and barn doors. I think it pairs pretty perfectly with brass/gold hardware. If you choose Dorian Gray for a room color, it will be rather dark on the walls. Unless you’re going for a more moody look, I would use this gray paint color as more of an accent.

That sums up my take on a whole house color palette for 2018. Even though trends come and go, I think all of these paint colors for the inside of the house are neutral enough to stand the test of time. If you’re interested in learning more about the right paint colors for your home, I did a deep dive by color category. You can check those posts out below. Be sure to leave a comment with your favorite paint colors!


Thanks for stopping by! I’m Elizabeth – a DIY renovator and blogger in Raleigh, NC. Click the photo above to learn more!