Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Paint for the Whole House

Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Paint for the Whole House

Choosing paint for the whole house has, by far, been the most stressful part of the bungalow renovation, and as much as it pains me to relive those all-too-recent feelings of frustration, I know that someone out there is just about ready to unleash her fury on the confusing and hysteria-inducing world of paint, so if that person is you, then you can sigh a big sigh of relief, because the information I'm about to share with you will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Whew, that was one exceptionally long sentence! Apparently I've got a lot of feelings about choosing paint, and I’m not afraid to show them.

Choosing paint colors before having any idea of the color of the floors, or the furniture – or any other detail, for that matter – brought out my worst indecisiveness. Then there was that minor detail of making sure the entire color palette looked cohesive... 

But before we can dive into the process of choosing the colors, however, let’s go over a few terms first, because you'll need to understand some basic color theories and concepts when deciding just which of the three thousand available shades of gray you are going to choose.

Paint Deck

A paint deck refers to the handy-dandy little notebook of sorts that showcases a particular brand's available paint colors. The pages are arranged by color family, with each page showing a range of shades from the same color.


Shade refers to the lightness or darkness of a particular color. Technically speaking, a shade is the darker version of a particular color, and a tint is the lighter version of that color, but to make the step-by-step guide a little less confusing, I used the term to refer to any version of a particular color found on a particular page of the paint deck.


Undertone refers to a subtle hint of an unexpected color within another color that becomes more or less prominent based on the colors that surround it. Makes a lot of sense, right? Basically, every color has a dirty secret, and it’s called undertone. It’s what’s to blame when gray paint suddenly appears brown or the perfect white is all-of-a-sudden light green. Everything from the floor, to the ceiling, to the color of your couch, to the amount of natural light in a room can bring out surprising undertones in your painted walls – and that is what makes choosing neutrals so tricky. To make matters even more complicated, cool undertones like violet, blue and green help a room appear larger. Warm undertones like yellow, orange and red help a room appear smaller and cozier. If this paragraph alone isn't enough to send you over the edge, then you're in a much, much better place than I was when trying to choose paint for our little bungalow.

Natural Light

Natural light refers to the amount of light from the sun. The more windows you have in a room, the more natural light you will let in, and the more accurate your paint colors will appear.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's move on to the fun stuff – a step-by-step guide to help you choose paint for the whole house. By no means do I claim to have discovered a one-size-fits-all approach to coordinating your paint options or creating a seamless color transition from room to room. You can go in a million different directions with paint, depending on your tastes and preferences. But if you're ready to end the agonizing indecisiveness and create a cohesive color palette for your whole house, then this simple step-by-step guide is the perfect place to start.


FREE Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Paint for the Whole House

Choosing color doesn't have to be complicated – simply follow this step-by-step guide. Just tell me where I can send it! I promise not to spam you, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

In case you’re wondering which paint colors I arrived at using this exact step-by-step process – you can see them in the house plan rendering below. I've chosen mostly a soft gray palette by Farrell Calhoun, consisting of the following colors: 1265 White Shoulders, 0516 Diamond Stud, 0517 Cool Elegance, 0518 Let It Rain and 1083 Morning Blush. 

Now, let’s all cross our fingers and hope that nothing turns out purple... You can catch a glimpse of the very first coat of paint on my Instagram, and I’ll be back oh-so-soon with an update on the progress, along with lots of photos. 

How to Choose Paint for the Whole House Without Losing Your Mind

In the meantime, tell me: What colors are you most drawn to? Have you ever had to choose paint colors for the whole house? I will love you forever if you share your experience with us in the comments section. Maybe afterwards we can all sit in a circle, hold hands and sing kumbaya.

To catch up on the renovation progress we have made so far, you can browse the entire "Our Bungalow Renovation" series. There's also the Exterior Design Concept, the Kitchen Design Concept, the Master Bathroom Design Concept and the Dining Room Design Concept.

For more interior design inspiration and advice, check out 10 Small Kitchen Design Ideas to Maximize SpaceMy House Wish ListHome Renovation Checklist10 Best Home Decor Websites to Bookmark Now, and 10 DIY Projects to Add Character to Your Home



  1. I think one of my favorite parts about owning a home will be choosing the paint colors. I love the ones you chose and how they’re so neutral! They’ll be easy to spice up and change with new pillows, decor, ect.

    Kayla |

  2. Love the palette. Our house already had a solid taupe throughout with some ungodly country yellow accents. Our tile in the kitchen had blues, greys, and taupes. We erased that yellow with a blue-grey undertone. I have to admit we went with a deep orange wall in the powder room. Just for something fun. We are flirty with a large navy wall in the stairwell. It gets tons of natural light.

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