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Learn why choosing a whole house paint color can have a dramatic effect on the flow of your home, as well as what are the most popular whole house paint colors in 2024.

header image that reads the best whole house paint colors

Choosing just one or two colors for your whole house can seem like a daunting decision. After all, whether you’re DIYing or hiring out, a lot of time and effort will have to be put into the task of painting.

Having gone the whole house paint color route when we moved into our current house, I’ve learned what types of colors work well with a variety of finishes, decorating styles and over all taste.

Conversely, I’ve learned from past mistakes, too. In our first house, I painted every room a different color… raspberry blush in one room and mint green in another, wasn’t a good look!

Setting the scene in your home with the right whole house color palette will mean that the paint color can serve as the perfect backdrop and blank canvas for the other elements in your home to really shine.

Before getting into the nitty gritty of selecting your perfect paint color for your home, take a minute to decide if you want to pick one color for every single space, or if your idea of a whole house paint color is one color for all the open spaces, such as kitchen, dining room and living room, and then a coordinating color palette for the bedroom, bathrooms and other spaces.

While the former is the easier route to go, the latter will still give you that same sense of flow but will add more contrast as you walk room to room.

Test Lighting Before Choosing a Paint Color

If you are painting your home before moving in, you may not quite yet understand how the light affects each individual room in your home. This can become a huge issue down the road if you pick the wrong color.

For instance, if you choose what you think is the perfect warm gray paint color for all the open plan spaces in your home, but only see the paint swatch first thing in the afternoon, you may be not so pleasantly surprised to see that same color looks baby blue first thing in the morning.

Room exposure (whether the room is north, south, east or west facing) can have a dramatic impact on bringing a paint color’s undertones to the fore.

If you can’t be in the house to see how the color changes and reacts throughout the day, it’s important to choose a paint color with as minimal undertones as possible (and that’s where I come in to help you!).

Undertones To Avoid

As a general rule, I usually recommend avoiding strong blue and yellow undertones when choosing a whole house paint color.

Blue can make spaces feel cold and drab, and while a drop of yellow can be a great way to warm up sterile whites, too much is usually not what most people want to see in their perfect paint color.

Don’t get me wrong – some of my favorite paint colors of all time have a strong blue undertone. They just aren’t colors I would rely on to work as a whole house color.

Blue undertoned paints are however perfect for bedrooms, bathrooms and any other space that’s closed behind a door – or where you know exactly how the lighting will affect the color.

Popular Colors For a Whole House

By far the safest colors to choose for a whole house color schemes are neutral paint colors, light earth tones or shades of white.

Both neutrals and whites come with their own set of challenges, of course. Figuring out the dominant undertone is always the main concern.

For this reason, I like to stick with warmer neutrals, and warmer whites.

This way, any cool light will be offset by the warmer tones, and warmer lighting won’t completely wash out the color.

Neutral Colors That Are Great Choices

1. Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

This is my all-time favorite paint color because it just works everywhere! My entire main floor was originally painted Repose Gray, and I’ve since repainted and had the color lightened by 50%.

dining room with art on the walls, white wainscoting and walls painted Repose Gray lightened by 50%
Repose Gray lightened by 50% with SW Pure White wainscoting.

I am beyond obsessed with how light and bright it makes every room feel. It’s the perfect neutral backdrop with just enough warmth that no room ever feels cold.

While Repose Gray technically has a green/taupe undertone, I’ve found it to be barely visible. At full strength, you may see the green pull out of the shadows a bit, but nothing concerning at all.

console table with a tall mirror and lamp with the walls behind it painted Repose Gray
Repose Gray lightened by 50%

At half strength (lightened by 50%) those same undertones are what keeps just enough warmth in the color, but no longer become apparent under any lighting conditions (that I’ve at least seen!).

The great thing about Repose Gray works well with a lot of different accent colors and furniture colors. I’ve seen it with light wood and dark wood. Accent colors of beige, blue, green and white look beautiful against it.

Kitchen with blue island and white cabinets and walls painted Repose Gray
Repose Gray lightened by 50%. This kitchen gets both east and west facing light. The photo was taken at midday with the sun overhead so that you can see the darkest shadows of the color in the top right hand corner. Island color is BM Boothbay Gray and wainscoting/trim is SW Pure White.

Other shades that work well with Repose Gray: Both SW Mindful Gray, SW Chelsea Gray would both make for good contrasting colors on an accent wall next to Repose Gray.

2. Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray

Agreeable Gray is another incredibly popular greige paint color. It’s similar in tone to Repose Gray, but significantly warmer. I like this color because it can read warmer or cooler depending on the light. Sometimes it looks more gray, other times it’s definitely a greige.

3. Benjamin Moore Paper White

Similar in terms of depth of color to Repose Gray at half strength, Benjamin Moore’s Paper White is my go-to for east and west facing rooms, where you have warm light half the day and cooler light the other half.

Door open to an office with white board and batten and upper half of walls painted Benjamin Moore Paper White
Benjamin Moore Paper White

Despite the name, Paper White is a very light dove gray with just a hint of green that ensures it never looks cold. Paired with bright white trim, it makes for an excellent whole house color.

office desk with plants on it showcasing the paint color on the wall behind it

As close in color as it is to the lightened version of Repose Gray, I find that it maintains its light and bright color more in poorly lit rooms. If you remember back to the shadows in my kitchen (pictured above), Paper White will never look that warm or saturated.

walk in pantry with blue base cabinets and walls painted paper white
BM Paper White pantry walls (Repose Gray lightened by 50% on the wall with the 3 light switches).

4. Benjamin Moore Classic Gray

If gray is less your style and you want a warmer neutral, Classic Gray is an excellent choice. It’s considerably warmer than the other colors mentioned above, but still has just enough gray to stop it being too warm.

dining room with white slip covered chair, rust red rug and walls painted classic gray
BM Classic Gray dining room via Home Bunch

Like Agreeable Gray, Classic Gray can be a bit of a chameleon and look warmer or cooler depending on the available light. In the above picture, you can see how light and bright it is the dining with tons of natural light.

In a lower light room, there will be more saturation to the color.

I personally love this aspect of the color, since it feels like you have different shades when in fact it’s the same paint color the entire time!

White Colors That Are Great Choices

1. Sherwin Williams Pure White

SW Pure White is one of the safest white paint colors out there. It’s a lovely bright white color, with just the tiniest bit of warmth to stop it ever feeling stark.

White dresser with books and decorative objects on top
SW Pure White walls and baseboard

It works just as well on walls as it does on trim and will give you the appearance of a clean white without having to worry about any funky undertones rearing their ugly heads!

2. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

This is Benjamin Moore’s brightest white, so if you want a really bright crisp white, then Chantilly Lace is the right color for you.

all white kitchen with marble countertops
BM Chantilly Lace walls, cabinets and ceiling via Home Bunch

There’s no apparent undertones in this bright white, but it will take on colors from the environment surrounding it. So keep that in mind!

3. Benjamin Moore White Dove

I absolutely adore White Dove as a whole house white. It has a lovely creamy softness to it, and works really well in north facing rooms where white paint can look dull and flat.

hallway with a black bench and door. The walls are painted with White Dove
BM White Dove Walls and Trim with SW Tricorn Black door via @asturiaofmylife

If you have other bright whites, White Dove will look considerably creamier next to them, but not in a yellow way, just in a really soft warm way.

4. Sherwin Williams Shoji White

Shoji White has become really popular in the past year, and for good reason. If you can’t decide between a greige or a creamier shade, then Shoji White may be perfect for you.

It has a beautiful warmth to it, but still works as a light and bright color. I can see this becoming an increasingly popular shade this year.

bedroom with a blue fabric bed with white linens and walls painted Shoji White.
Shoji White bedroom via @brightsmilinglife

What’s The Right Paint Color For Trim Work?

If you’re sticking with classic white trim, then you’ll want one shade of white for all the trim work, doors, moldings and casings in your home.

If you chose a bright white paint color for your wall (like Pure White or Chantilly Lace) you’re going to want to use that same color for the trim, but in a different sheen. Usually, we do a washable matte sheen or eggshell on walls, and then satin or semi-gloss for all the trim.

Dining space with wooden table, white chairs and rattan basket pendant. The wainscoting is painted pure white.
SW Repose Gray lightened by 50%

Both SW Pure White and BM Chantilly Lace are great white trim colors if you chose a greige or other neutral for your walls, too. Pure White is always a safe bet, as it has a slight warm undertone so it works well with these warmer colors

Chantilly Lace is a brighter white that really adds serious contrast. Other bright whites that are great for trim would be SW Extra White, SW High Reflective White.

If you want a creamier white for your trim then BM White Dove is a beautiful choice.

BM Simply White is also another popular choice, though it has a sneaky yellow undertone so I would only use it in a semi-gloss finish to offset that.

shiplap wall with single closet door all painted simply white
Simply White Trim and Walls. Notice how the walls (painted in a matte finish) are very creamy compared to the trim. Artificial light further heightens the yellow undertone.

I personally would not use it as a whole-house white because it can look very yellow in certain lighting conditions, most notably artificial light.

large bright hallway with wainscoting and a black front door.
BM Simply White Walls in semi-gloss sheen

But when it works, it really works and is a beautiful warmer white!

If you’re looking for another way to inject some personality into your home, doing contrasting trim is also another idea. Especially when paired with white walls, a warm gray trim can really elevate the look of a home.

Tip

If you’re planning on painting all the walls and trim yourself, read my tips for how to prep walls for best results.

When To Deviate From The Whole House Color Scheme

Don’t be afraid to add an accent wall in another color, or go crazy in a powder room. A powder room in particular in a safe choice when you want to try different color choices, dabble with paint color trends and generally get out of your color comfort zone.

The idea of choosing one color for your whole house is to simplify the process of bringing in other colors, and to make your home feel cohesive and not at all disjointed.

As long as you have an overall cohesive color scheme, adding a pop of color will be a welcome addition and stop your home from feeling like a sea of boring neutral.

Final Thoughts

In 2024, we’ll see more people deviate from the whites and grays that have been popular over the past few years and start to incorporate more warmth into their homes. Those who still favor gray will opt for warmer grays, but shades of greige and tan will continue to become more and more popular.

Don’t Forget…

Don’t forget – no matter what you’ve read or photos you’ve seen online, it’s really important to sample paint colors in your home before committing!

Samplize provides real paint samples that are easy to move around your home, and cheaper than buying a gazillion paint pots! It’s the only way I buy paint samples.

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59 Comments

  1. Elisha Logue says:

    Would love your opinion! Changing over the whole house color from Repose Grey in entry plus hallways along with Metropolitan Gray in my kitchen/living room. I WAS going with all over color of BM Classic Gray but it’s now on the walls in a few places and it’s looking WAY more cream then I wanted. I’m panicked and need thoughts! I LOVE the pics you have of Repose lightened by 50% and am tempted to go that way. Do you ever feel it looks too blue? Have to decide paint by Wednesday so would LOVE feedback on your thoughts between CLassic Gray and Repose normal or lightened.

    1. I never see any blue in it! If you do in your house, you could try SW Incredible White which is very similar but is a smidge warmer with a faint pink undertone. It’s beautiful!

  2. Donna Hansen says:

    Hi, I’m loving this article. I’m trying to pick a whole house trim door semi gloss color. Most of the house is SW Natural Linen ( all furnishings are warm tones. One exception, a bath off our pool, I just painted BM Ocean Air. Any help you could give would be much appreciated, been looking at Bm super white and chantilly white and after your article also considering SW pure white or extra white. Help!

    1. You can’t go wrong with SW Pure White for trim – it works so well with both warm and cool colors!

  3. Home and Office Professional Painters Perth WA says:

    Great post!! Thanks for posting such unique and useful information on the best whole house paint colors. This is really awesome. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. Hi Jenna,
    Really helpful information, thank you.
    I just want to make sure if I go with the SW Repose Gray lightened by 50%, is it lightened by another specific color? Also can I get that at let’s say Home Depot or Lowes?
    I have a budget I cannot move outside of.
    Kind regards
    Mary

  5. What are the undertones in Repose Gray lightened at 50 percent? Does it look anything like sw crushed ice?

    1. They are very similar! The color depth is about the same, but the undertones are different. Crushed ice is a bit warmer and I found it to have a bit too much pink..but whether you see that or not will depend on the lighting in your home. Repose Gray is slightly greener…but the green is not visible (in my opinion) in the 50% lighter version.

  6. Lovely article! The photo right under which trim color to pick, with the small table, window mirror and wooden light fixture, please tell me what color is on the wall itself above the wainscoting. It’s stunning and I have an awful eye for telling if it’s one of the previous colors you used.

      1. Elisha Logue says:

        I’ve learned from Sherwin Williams the quality of the paint selected can influence the color itself. What actual paint can/quality did you use for Repose Gray lightened by 50%?

          1. Was it matte, satin, or glossy? Thanks!

      2. If I use repose gray 50% on walls, then what would be a good choice for kitchen cabinets if I want a slight darker contrast in same color family?

        1. Dorian Gray would be a good choice if you want something darker with similar undertones…but you could equally do a darker blue/gray like SW Serious Gray which pairs really well with Repose Gray.