Painting: Should You Color Your World?

Attractive young adult couple painting interior wall of house.

I’ve had everything from red walls to a lime-green kitchen, right through a gallery white-and-cream interior.  This writer loved them all. Here’s why.


As someone who’s embraced color at home her whole live, I’ve come full circle to where I now live with hardwood, English cream walls, with white trim. It’s so minimal.

For the first time, there’s not a single splash of color on any of my walls. If you’d visited me 3 years ago, I was leaving a home that had a lime-green kitchen, a turquoise bathroom, “Moulin Rouge” red dining room, sky-blue living room, a hunter-green bedroom. There was zero white trim and two of four ceilings were painted same as the wall color.

It’s a dramatic change from that to how I live today, but I have loved each of them equally.

If you’re torn between living vivid versus having a neutral palette like I do now, maybe I can shed some light on the pluses and minuses of each.

When to color your world

There are a few times I think having bright and fun colors around you is the way to go. Like if you’re a creative and you want to be inspired, even provoked, by your surroundings, color can really unlock things for you. When I painted my an accent wall red in my sky-blue living room, things just exploded for me creatively. That space was wonderful for writing. I often wonder what lavender or midnight blue or peppy pink might be like. Maybe one day.

In my color-splashed world, I had cream-and-wood-toned furnishings, so those offset the vividness very well.

Another time that having those “alive” colors can work is if you deal with seasonal depression in the winter. Bright yellow walls, green, sunset red, all kinds of colors can help to offset the winter blues. Coming home in the dead of December to flick on a light with a kaleidoscope of color around you can be surprisingly uplifting.

And then maybe bright colors just make you smile. It’s worth taking a chance on seeing what a Tiffany Blue wall in your kitchen looks like, or a fiery-orange bathroom, or sage-green bedroom. If you’re color-friendly, it’s like wrapping yourself in a favorite blanket. It’s hard not to love.

When to keep a blank slate blank

Today I have an amazing view. That helps keep me visually stimulated. This is good, because I work at home all day, every day, with a life full of demands and pressures. With both a day job and side career, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so I wanted a home that was calm and very relaxing to be in.

Color, here, would look beautiful, but it would also add to the distraction and busyness that I can’t necessarily process in my already-overloaded life.

Couple painting home.

With cream-leather sofas, white bookshelves, English cream walls, abundant white trim and white “coved” ceilings, I have a very clean look. My books and my art stand out, and that’s often the case when homes are predominantly white and cream. Do you have great bookshelves and art? Maybe you want them to be the stars.

If you have great wood, wonderful furniture with inspiring lines, and a lot to admire just in what you own, then a “gallery” white type of space may indeed make your life and your belongings the focus in your home.

Personally, this the very first time in my life I’ve had non-colored walls, and I’ve found this a powerful and motivating home to be in, so if anyone tells you that not embracing color is boring or dreary, they’re wrong.

It really depends on how busy your mind is, how nice your belongings are, and what you’re trying to show off. And your tastes, of course.

It’s only paint

In the end, color is a personal journey. I changed the rest of the colors in my last home 3 times in the 13 years I lived there, but that lime-green kitchen never changed. I just loved that color so much, and I’d do it again tomorrow in the right space.

I also never regretted any of my wild choices, except the time that my bedroom was red when I had pneumonia for a month. Red bedroom when sick? Not so much.

Whatever you choose, it’s not a lifetime commitment, it’s not a fortune. It’s a gallon or two of paint and a $5 paintbrush with some delivery pizza and a long day of painting, if you’ve chosen badly.

If you can’t decide between color and plain, why not have the gallery white approach with a few splashes of bold color on accent walls? Who says you have to be exclusive? Go ahead, take a risk.

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