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How I create a Home Color Palette + All the paint colors in our home so far

September 23, 2020  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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I feel like I’ve been painting non-stop for a year, to be honest. And when I think about what’s next to be painted, I always think about what is already painted, what color and where. And then I try to tie it in in other areas of the house so everything speaks to each other.

Here are the paint colors we have used so far in our house–it looks like a lot of colors and a lot of deep colors, but it’s really 70%ish Alabaster with pockets of color. 

Right now, in the little girls’ bathroom, we’re repeating the Fading Twilight rust color that we have in the music room in the floors. And I have plans to bring some of the gold into Faye’s room–she’s always been our sunshine girl! You don’t have to pick a NEW color for every room, once you have a palette down, think of how to bring in those tones in other ways. For instance, in the home office, we used Accessible Beige on the trim (our all over trim color in the majority of the house) and wainscoting and the wallpaper has Thunderous tones–another call back to the kitchen cabinets.

I’m sure our house palette will continue to evolve over the  years, but I’ve been getting some questions about how I decide what color to go where and I generally think of where in the house feels stand-alone and how I can incorporate those tones in more ways–If not in paint, It might be in textiles or furnishings or art as well!

I’ve been really enjoying injecting pockets of color into smaller areas of the house. Like our closet is all one tone–Lamp Room Gray, which feels more like a warm blue gray in real life, is a pocket off of our Alabaster bedroom with the same Lamp Room Gray trim. And even though our en suite bathroom is tile, we chose tile with the same blue gray tones and are now looking for a way to bring that tone into another area of the house–hint: I’ve got my eye on the dining room!!!

I love that you can go from our white living room with a large, black arch window, to right below in the family room that is (nearly) black–Greenblack with large white curtains. You might not notice why it flows together, but when you think about color as a tool, it’s fun to repeat tones and play with mixing them up throughout the house.

Our walls are still mostly bare, and I’m excited to use our palette to start introducing and repeating color stories throughout our home with more art.

Your home’s color palette absolutely extends to materials too–we love to incorporate warm leathers, black and brass accents and wood tones in every room. See if you can spot the themes below! And I’d love to hear about your home’s color palette!

Graphite by Benjamin Moore

Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, Trim: Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams

Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, Trim: Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams

Thunderous by Sherwin Williams

Van Dyke Brown by Sherwin Williams

Fading Twilight by Benjamin Moore

Railing: Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams

Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, Trim: Lamp Room Gray by Farrow & Ball

Lamp Room Gray by Farrow & Ball

Cabinets: Restrained Gold by Sherwin Williams

Jasper by Sherwin Williams + Accessible Beige on the Beadboard

Greenblack by Sherwin Williams + Alabaster Ceiling

Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball

Graphite by Benjamin Moore

What do you think?

  1. Maggie Reilly says:

    What white paints (I’m trying to decide for a ceiling) would look good with Alabaster walls?

  2. Brittany Liegner says:

    Hi! I’m a huge fan of you and your color palette. Question, once you replace the doors in your house, will you paint them accessible beige like the trim or a different color?

  3. Anna Gottfried says:

    I absolutely love your style! Where did you get that beautiful rug from in your bedroom (tan, brown, possibly black?)

  4. Penny says:

    We are doing Shoji white walls with Alabaster trim , some 9 ft ceiling , living room vault . Would you do alabaster ceilings ? Can’t decide !

  5. Do you ever use a color in the pallet that fits in, but when it’s finally on the walls, it isn’t what you want?

    I guess I’m just curious if planning everything ahead of time ever lets you down.

    Gus – buckeyearizonapainters.com

  6. Truly Hough says:

    I love your style as it’s unique. You have a real talent with colors and pulling it all together.

  7. Courtney says:

    Love it! What are the sheens and color percentages you went with?

  8. Claudia S says:

    We just painted our house SW Cascades and I’m excited to create a color palette of woodsy blues and greens!

  9. Diane says:

    Just beautiful colors! Quick question (and this is what I tend to struggle with the most) – What finish do you use for the walls vs trim work. Eggshell? Satin? etc.

  10. MORGAN CRAFT says:

    How did you create the little squares graphic with the paint colors all next to each other? I would love to have a little palette with our current paint colors out together to help when shopping for accessories or when deciding on other paint colors to incorporate.

  11. JLD says:

    As always, chef’s kiss! Such a gorgeous, dreamy palette.

    I have a question about paint TYPE/BRAND: Does it matter? We’re planning to paint our exterior (A dark hue! We’ve been #influenced) but a painter we’re getting a quote from is giving us a hard time about the brand we’d prefer (we want to do SOOT by BM) saying we should us a cheaper, smaller brand we aren’t as familiar with. I understand that some are more expensive than others, but would love your insights and experience. Maybe it doesn’t matter what brand’s on the exterior?

    And last, more granular paint q: when getting bids for paint jobs, should labor and materials be separate quotes?

    Y’all are the best. THANK YOU!!

    • Julia says:

      I like to have them give us a line item bid, showing how much is for what. And when painting your exterior, I’d go with the highest quality paint you can afford–That’s a job you don’t want to have to do very often

  12. Heather says:

    Your home is stunning! You’ve inspired me to make several updates to our home. Really enjoy following along! :)

  13. TB says:

    What paint sheen do you use for your trim in Accessible beige? Satin, Semi-gloss? Also for a house with 8ft ceilings would you recommend painting walls and ceilings the same color and finish (satin?)?

    • Julia says:

      I like walls eggshell and trim in satin or semi-gloss. Painting your ceiling the same color is a total preference call! In our house where there are 9′ ceilings, we have it painted the same, but in the basement where there are 8′ ceilings (and a darker color on the walls) we did white ceilings.

  14. Lindsey says:

    It all looks so good! I’m wondering if you use a guideline in how many colors to use in a house? Does it depend on square footage- larger house can handle more colors, etc? We are currently building and I’m trying to establish a plan and am wondering if I should aim for a certain number of colors? Thanks!

    • Julia says:

      It’s a total preference thing. I like to keep all the main, connected spaces one color and use the separated rooms as pockets for colors!

  15. Victoria says:

    This post is so timely – I was just chatting with a friend about picking a color palette for my new home! Two questions: (1) I know with the basement family room, you leaned into the low light and painted the room dark. What if the opposite is true? Can you paint a room with lots of bright, natural light a dark color? If so, how do you go about choosing that dark color? It should go with the rest of the color palette, but wondering if the natural light aspect also weighs into that equation. (2) I love the darker color you used in your pantry. We have a small walk-in closet with no windows. What are your thoughts on painting that sort of area a darker color? Should we lean into the lack of light (like in your family room) or do something different because it’s a closet? Thank you!! Your blog is such an inspiration!

    • Julia says:

      1. The wonderful thing about a room with lots of natural light is IT’S ALWAYS GOING TO LOOK INCREDIBLE. You can literally paint it dark or light or mid-tone and it’s going to shine. 2. I love to paint small rooms dark. I LOVE it. Just make sure there’s adequate lighting.

  16. Rachel says:

    My question is, did you have your color palette worked out before you started, or do you pick and choose as you go? I know you choose specific colors as you go, but did you have a general plan or direction/color scheme before you started? It seems daunting to me!

  17. Evelyn C says:

    I love how you pair everything together in your home. The colours are so different from the aesthetic I choose in my own home but I find such inspiration in how you tie it all together! (One of the reasons I SO enjoy following along on your home journey.)

  18. Morgan jones says:

    Did you paint all the ceilings alabaster?

    • Julia says:

      In the basement, yes. Upstairs when the walls are Alabaster, yes. But we’ve also painted the ceiling the same color as the walls in some rooms.

  19. Carrie says:

    Love the darker colours! It’s nice to see the F&B Down Pipe on the guest room wall. I’m thinking of use it for my kitchen cabinets! From your picture, it looks like it has blue undertones. Is that just from the lighting?

  20. Charleen says:

    Your home is so beautiful! I’ve loved watching the progress. I’m having a really hard time deciding on an all over wall color to go with the SW extra cabinets in the kitchen. I have my heart set on Alabaster. Do you think these two colors will clash? My back up color is SW snowbound.

  21. Alyssa says:

    Love it! Here’s my question! If you were to add a blue… what would it be?! :)

  22. Rhonda says:

    This is so helpful…paint colors are so difficult for me. I am also using alabaster & accessible beige in my house. I want to do an accent wall in my home office with a color similar to downpipe (other 3 walls alabaster). Should the baseboards all be painted accessible beige, or should the baseboard on the accent wall be same as the wall?

    Rhonda

    • Beth says:

      I think it’s just whatever your personal preference is. I prefer white trim and others prefer beige trim, and no one choice is more “right” than the other. I would suggest you paint your accent wall and wait awhile to see what you think of it – and if you end up not liking it, then go back and paint the trim the same color as your accent. It seems easier that way – to wait on painting the trim one time than to paint the trim, decide you don’t like the look, and paint it again back to the original color!

  23. Cailen says:

    Seeing Fading Twilight in your music room was the inspiration for painting our reading nook in the main bedroom. Love it. Even painted the trim! Thank you.

  24. Maryse says:

    I love this – cohesive paint in a home is so important! I am wondering if you could mention how you transition trim color from room to room; specifically from your hallway upstairs to a different trim color in your bedroom. Thanks!

    • Julia says:

      I let the trim line dictate the change in color. There is an inside lip that faces one direction that we paint that room’s color and the outer direction is that color. We haven’t painted doors multiple colors in this house (yet?).

  25. Suzanne says:

    Absolutely love this! I’ve been having trouble with some color tones in my house and this was just what I needed!

  26. Miriam says:

    Love seeing how it all flows together! Question: what color do you use on the ceilings? I’m assuming the ceilings are also Alabaster? What is your rule of thumb for ceiling color and finish?

    • Julia says:

      Yes, the ceilings are also alabaster. In this home, because there are taller ceilings (9-10’+), I really like to carry the wall color onto the ceiling. The only exception is our basement (guest room and family room) which both have lower ceilings and we painted those alabaster.

  27. Tiffany says:

    Do you have any tips or tricks for how you find your color palette in other materials (rugs, art, furniture, textiles)? I imagine it takes a good bit of time searching + a little trial and error when you’re ordering online and hoping the color arrives as expected.

    • Julia says:

      It does NOT have to match exactly, but I always recommend if you are choosing textiles for a room, choose your paint LAST. There are a million paint colors and they all cost the same thing (approx) so go with the furnishings and textiles first if you can.

  28. R says:

    Just loving your house! Seeing all those pictures together displays your talent and hard work- it’s looking fabulous!!

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