paint colour inspiration: 31 of the best wall paint colours

An in-depth guide to picking the perfect paint, from whites and warm neutrals to uplifting greens, pinks and blues, and from earthy browns to moody blacks.

Looking for paint colours? Here are 31 beautiful wall paint colours to inspire your redesign.

LIGHT BLUES

Evoking clear skies on a warm summer’s day and the startling brightness of a holiday sea, pale blue is an instant mood enhancer. Easy to live with, it’s a calming hue that is just as at home in a modern setting as it is in a period house. It’s an enduring choice that can feel calm and relaxed or vibrant and energised. Studies show that people are most productive in blue rooms, too, so it’s a clever option for a home office.

Sky’s the limit

This classic shade needs sunlight to bring out its full potential, so use it with abandon in south-facing rooms. Avoid in spaces that only have northern light, as you run the risk of all its happiness fading away.

Get the look: Powder Blue breatheasy coloured matt emulsion, £18 for 2.5ltr, Crown

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WHITES

Bright, clean and light-enhancing, there is such a wide variation in the different types of white. From soft and chalky to hard and brilliant, there’s a whole spectrum of tones in between. As a guide, for living rooms, white with a touch of yellow or orange will give a vibrant feel. For home offices, choose white with a dash of blue to help concentration. In bathrooms, a pink-based white will add a spa-like warmth and for bedrooms choose one with a blue or green hint for a calming vibe.

Grey matter

The subtle smoky tones in this wall paint soften the natural brilliance of white, perfect for a relaxing room.

Get the look: Pale Smoke Grey matt natural emulsion, £49.50 for 2.5ltr, Edward Bulmer

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Twilight zone

This colour also has grey pigment but more of it, so it veers towards lilac. It works well in this north-facing Banda Property project, injecting warmth into an otherwise cool space.

Get the look: Ammonite estate emulsion, £47.95 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

Natural touch

A hint of verdigris creates a timeless warm white, a good choice for an east-facing room that’s brighter in the morning. Add house plants to bring out its richness.

Get the look: Wall in Metropolitan AF-690; cabinet in Hale Navy HC-154, both regal select interior paint matte, from £23 for 0.94ltr, Benjamin Moore

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Clear vision

This pure white, with no other pigments, creates a bright, clean base onto which you can add other colours. It’s perfect for south-facing spaces, where sunlight stops the shade feeling too cool.

Get the look: Wall in Clean White; ceiling in New Black, both pure flat emulsion, £49.50 for 2.5ltr, Paint & Paper Library

PINKS

Such a strong trend and so versatile, pink is an easy colour to pair with others and works particularly well when used with ochre, green, mulberry, coral or orange. At the stronger end of the palette, fuchsia or ruby are impactful, while the softer tones are ideal for a bedroom. A room painted red or pink will look warm and inviting all day long, regardless of how much natural light is present, and at night the same space will be wonderfully cosy. Try in a north-facing space to warm up that cool light.

Calm & collected

Muted pale pink would be a good choice for a west-facing room, where the tone will change from moody in the morning to warm in the evening.

Get the look: First Light 2102-70 regal select interior paint matte, £23 for 0.94ltr, Benjamin Moore

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Colour story

Beata Heuman chose a saturated, hot shade of pink for this living room because she knew that the soft, east-facing light would cool it down.

Get the look: Ash Rose mixing paint matt emulsion £29.16 for 2.5ltr, Dulux

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True blush

This raw plaster shade is so restful that it would also work perfectly in a bedroom. Evening light will bring out the violet tones in the chalky finish.

Get the look: Kate Blush matt emulsion, £45 for 2.5ltr, Claybrook

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Dream kitchen

Choose a pink at the cooler end of the spectrum if you don’t want the room to feel too warm or dominated by the colour, as with in this scheme by Field Day Studio. Lilac tones bring vivacity to a space even when there isn’t much natural light.

Get the look: Rouge II architects matt, £55 for 2.5ltr, Paint & Paper Library

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GREENS

The colour that most reminds us of nature, the varying shades of green are the most restful to the human eye and create a calm atmosphere in any room. Blue-green aqua and teal are associated with emotional healing and protection, so work well in living spaces and bathrooms, while deeper greens create a dramatic atmosphere, perfect for dining rooms. Look at integrating the colour into east-facing spaces, as it will help calm the brightness of morning light.

Green day

Dense forest shades are warm and welcoming due to the red pigment, so won’t need a lot of natural light to feel vivid. Use in a north-facing room to vibrant effect.

Get the look: Yeabridge Green estate emulsion, £47.95 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

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A lot of bottle

You have to be brave to choose bottle green, as its black tones can feel all-enveloping. Use in a dark room when lights are low and inviting at night.

Get the look: Botanical Noir, from £14 for 2.5ltr; Khaki Twist, £18 for 2.5ltr, both matt emulsion, Crown

Creative space

A room with plenty of natural light reveals the depth of this shade. The moody feel of its blue pigments suits an east-facing study, where it will feel bright in the morning and cosy in the afternoon, helping to aid creativity.

Get the look: Veronese Green O4 soft touch matte, from £11 for 118ml, Century Collection, Benjamin Moore

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Pale & interesting

This barely there shade benefits from morning light, when its white pigments come alive. Use in a room in which you like to eat breakfast for an enlivening start.

Get the look: Tranquil Dawn mixing paint matt emulsion, £29.16 for 2.5ltr, Dulux

INKY BLUES

Navy has had a huge resurgence in interiors, seen in designer kitchens through to high street furniture and everything in between – and it’s easy to see why. It brings with it a sophistication that’s easier to live with than black, more richly toned than turquoise or sky. This end of the blue spectrum is generally suited to smaller rooms that are starved of natural light, where you can embrace – and make a virtue of – the darkness. When the same shade is continued from walls onto the ceiling, it can actually add to the illusion of height. It’s an inviting colour and miraculously goes with anything, becoming a luxe foil to natural textures or a gleaming backdrop for jewel tones.

Classic look

A good choice for rooms that are north-facing, this deep-blue shade has enough vibrancy to find the light in any space.

Get the look: Thistle T1 soft touch matte, from £11 for 118ml, Century Collection, Benjamin Moore

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Go matt

With its chalky finish, this is the paint to use continually over walls and floors. The variations in the pigment stop the colour from appearing like a block, and introduce some levity to its darkness.

Get the look: Oxford Navy chalk paint, from £19.95 for 1ltr, Annie Sloan

Modern love

The purple tones in this rich blue shade add heaps of warmth, making it the ideal choice for a brighter room; daylight will make it sing.

Get the look: Into The Blue flat matt emulsion, from £35.99 for 2.5ltr, Crown

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And relax

The yellow tinge to this petrol blue makes it a good choice for the bedroom. A low reading light will make it gleam, creating a feeling of being cocooned.

Get the look: Hicks’ Blue absolute matt emulsion, £45 for 2.5ltr, Little Greene

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TERRACOTTAS

Orange, ochre and brick are warm, friendly and enthusiastic colours said to stimulate mental activity. These tones work well in kitchens and family areas. Bright orange or tangerine was often used in 20th-century interiors, particularly the 1980s and 1990s, so it’s a good choice for retro schemes. Yellow inspires optimism and confidence and boosts the spirits, but be careful using it in a bedroom as it can be too stimulating. North-facing rooms, especially, can benefit from these warm tones lifting the cool light. terracottas

Seeing red

Dominant crimson and brown tones give this paint colour a gleam that’s enhanced in light-filled rooms and will glow in sunny spots.

Get the look: Lady Bug claypaint, £43 for 2.5ltr, Earthborn

Read Also:Cool paint ideas for walls that are graphically glorious

Pocket full of sunshine

This buttercup colour boasts the richest of pigments, meaning it can withstand the coolest of rooms. In a light, north-facing space it will seem like an injection of summer.

Get the look: Dutch Orange estate emulsion, £47.95 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

Split level

The sandy tones of the lower wall are more red than the yellow above, meaning it sits well in darker spaces. Hallways, bathrooms or awkward corners can all benefit from its heat.

Get the look: Lower wall in 1974; upper wall in Hay Bale, both matt emulsion, £45 for 2.5ltr; shelf in Peach Juice eggshell, £30 for 1ltr, all Claybrook

Gilded touch

Brown and gold tones in this rust shade will bring lustre to a cool, north-facing room. Brass accessories bring out the shine in the pigment for a rich feel.

Get the look: Malahide matt natural emulsion, £49.50 for 2.5ltr, Edward Bulmer

WARM NEAUTRALS

From oyster and beige to sand and grey, the secret to neutrals is to pick the right tones for the type of light coming into your room. Cool light works well with warmer neutrals, while south-facing light has a yellow hue, so cooler shades are best. Layers of similar tones keep a scheme from feeling flat, while accents of dark grey, brown or black can be used to punctuate.

Hidden depths

There’s a chalkiness to this finish that helps to suggest texture, an added bonus when decorating a darker, north-facing room.

Get the look: Walls in Minim architects matt, £55 for 2.5ltr; units and stripe in Opus architects eggshell, £68 for 2.5ltr; island in Kohl architects eggshell, £68 for 2.5ltr, all Paint & Paper Library

Just creamy

It doesn’t take much light to pick up on the delicate yellow-leaning clotted cream shade of this paint, perfect for a north-facing room with a high ceiling.

Get the look: Architects White elite emulsion, £49 for 2.5ltr, Zoffany at Style Library

Blended tones

The subtle hint of green in this neutral wall paint makes it ideal for a space that looks out onto the garden, picking up the richness of outdoors. Designer Tamsin Johnson has combined neutral shades on both the walls and ceiling to great effect.

Get the look: Pearl Colour Pale 167 absolute matt emulsion, £45 for 2.5ltr, Little Greene

BROWNS

There’s a shade of brown that works in nearly every light, but in a south-facing room this colour will be warm all day long and super-cosy in the evening. The many different hues range from the warm russet shades of chestnut to silky dark chocolate, and these deeper tones work hard to create a sophisticated entertaining or dining space.

Panelled

This chestnut shade contains undertones of purple, adding a rich, luxurious feel. Soft daylight brings out the subtle variations in this colour, making it a surprisingly calming hue to wake up to.

Get the look: Wall in Pontefract pure flat emulsion, £49.50 for 2.5ltr; door in Pontefract architects eggshell, £68 for 2.5ltr, both Paint & Paper Library

Plum job

More aubergine than brown, but in the same colour family, the red and blue tones in this shade bring a welcoming zeal to spaces with little natural light. Use in a hallway.

Get the look: Brinjal estate emulsion, £47.95 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

Vintage vibe

A touch of red makes this brown feel homely and means it works beautifully in a cosy scheme. It would be a good choice in a west-facing room, coming alive in the blaze of a sunset.

Get the look: Brown Betty matt emulsion, £51 for 2.5ltr, Atelier Ellis

Subtle spice

Blended with hints of yellow, this soft brown is vivid and versatile. The rich yet understated tone looks great in south-facing rooms, but will bring a warm feel to a darker space.

Get the look: Cardamom U2 soft touch matte, from £11 for 118ml, Century Collection, Benjamin Moore

BLACKS

No longer the preserve of your bedroom during that teenage goth phase, when used in the right way blacks are chic and elegant and make the perfect partner for white. Where black is dark and receding, white is light and advancing. Again, there are a myriad of tones of black – blue-black, warmer graphite, earthy ebony and luminous jet. Embrace these shades in the cool light of north-facing rooms, or in spaces like dining rooms that tend to be used in evenings.

Half and half

If you’re looking to pick out details, then jet black is best – it pairs well with contrasting brilliant white, meaning you can show off your favourite features.

Get the look: Kohl architects matt, £55 for 2.5ltr; Minim architects matt, £55 for 2.5ltr, both Paint & Paper Library

Light in the dark

This is the perfect example of how dense black can be, but also friendly and versatile and able to work with most colours. Technically a deep blue, the variations in this shade buck conventional wisdom applied to black and prove that it can work well in a south-facing room, creating a warm, glowing effect.

Get the look: Claybrook Blue matt emulsion, £45 for 2.5ltr, Claybrook

All over

The grey tones in this graphite shade of black pick up the cool light of this room perfectly, glowing in the colder sunshine.

Get the look: Charcoal matt emulsion, £38 for 2.5ltr, Neptune