Why You May Want To Rethink Using Only One Paint Color Throughout Your Home

Choosing a paint color can be a stressful situation. With thousands of colors and shades available, it can be difficult to settle and believe you've found the right paint. For some homeowners, choosing one color for the entire house seems like it would relieve the issues of choosing paint colors for different rooms. However, choosing a single color for every room might not be the best choice from a design standpoint. Marissa Warner, interior designer and founder and creative director of The Home Narrative, shares why a single paint color might not work for your home in a TikTok video. Warner said to ask yourself, "Are you okay with that paint color looking entirely different depending on where it is in your home?"

Paint colors tend to look different depending on where they're located. The same color can look neutral-toned in one room, warm-toned in another, and cool-toned in a third room. This is often because of the lighting in the space, both natural and artificial. Not only does light hitting the paint make it look different, but the same paint can have different appearances depending on the lighting at different points in the day. The way sunlight or lamp light hits paint can bring out certain undertones that make the same shade look vastly different throughout the home.

How lighting affects paint color

While many paint companies may tout the perfect neutral or shade, there is no color that will look exactly the same in every room of the house. That's why Marissa Warner would never use one paint throughout the entire home. Natural and artificial lighting can affect how paint appears in different rooms. The kind of natural light and the time of day can also have an impact. In a room that faces north, light tends to be softer and warmer, making colors look darker and dimmer. However, rooms that face south have more intense light, making colors look brighter or even washed out. West-facing rooms have more shadows in the morning and warm light in the evenings, while east-facing rooms are bright before noon and cooler at night.

Similarly, artificial lighting can have an effect on how paint colors present themselves. White incandescent and LED light bulbs are similar to natural lighting, making warm colors more vibrant but cool-toned shades duller. Bulbs that skew to one side of the temperature scale will bring more of those tones out of a color. So, if you like warm-toned bulbs, be prepared for the paint to have an amber hue, even if it's cool-toned. The opposite is true for fluorescent lights, as they can make even warm tones have a blueish color. So, the same shade of paint may look cooler in a bathroom or kitchen that uses fluorescent lights compared to a living room with warm-toned bulbs.

Whole home paint colors

Choosing one perfect paint may seem like an ideal way to save time, energy, and money. But no single paint shade will look exactly the same in every room of a home. Interior designer Marissa Warner says that you should only choose one paint color if you're okay with it looking different in each room. However, in a comment under the TikTok video, Warner says a better approach "is to select different tones so there is a continued interest. Too much of one color can be boring." One color throughout the entire home, though it may look different in different lighting, can also fall flat from a design standpoint.

Instead, the better option is to select a paint color on a room-by-room basis. Evaluate each room and the kind of lighting it receives. Places where you relax, like bedrooms and living rooms, can be cozy, so choose warmer-toned paint. Cooler undertones work in the kitchen and bathrooms, where you want bright colors to illuminate a workspace.

You can also choose a color scheme for the entire house so all the spaces are cohesive but different. Choose three to five colors for the whole color palette and take turns making each the main paint shade or the accent color. You can also use colors to create zones in open or adjoining spaces. For example, use two different colors to set a living room apart from the kitchen.