Choosing the best wall paint color for your rental

The perfect color for a room in a rental should be eye pleasing and neutral at the same time. Achieving that combination is easier said than done, because we all have different tastes and standards on what pleases the eye. It is impossible to choose a wall color that everyone will like, but you should at least try to go for color combinations most likely to appeal to a great number of people.In the following lines we will try to give you a few general guidelines on painting different rooms in an apartment, and then see how it relates to rental property. Keep in mind that this is not a list of rules, but suggestions. Different parts of the world have different aesthetics, and something that works in one place might not necessarily work in another. Without any further ado…

Before we get into suggestions for specific rooms, let’s establish some general guidelines. The color of the furniture should play a big part in your choice of wall color, because you don’t want any room to look like a hyperactive three year old started playing with paint. As a general rule, you don’t want more than four colors dominating a room, and those four colors should match. If the apartment is lacking in natural light, you should paint the walls in light, airy colors such as light blue or pale grey. Also, if your apartment feels cramped and you want to make it seem more roomy, you should go with only one color on all the walls in order to hide the corners and edges. Now, let’s get into the specifics…


Even though we’ve already limited some of our options by only choosing neutral colors, there is still plenty of room left to make it both personal and appealing. Your choice should be determined by the atmosphere you’re trying to achieve in the living room. Generally, there are two main directions you can take: bright and airy, or dark and intimate. Again, you should keep the colors of the furniture in mind, but that doesn’t mean that the wall colors should be identical; in fact, if the furniture is mainly dark, it’s a good idea to brighten the space. In terms of colors, lighter shades of blue and green shouldn’t offend anyone’s tastes – think anything between aquamarine blue and olive green. If you want a more intimate atmosphere you could go with deeper shades of blue or red, but be careful to counterpoint it with brighter colors of the furniture, carpeting or flooring. And if you really want to go for something a little bit more extravagant, make sure that it’s tasteful, because you’re not doing it just for yourself.


Kitchen is one of the rooms that have a utilitarian function, so style comes second there. You should keep in mind the colors of the house appliances and all the cupboards and shelves and choose the colors accordingly. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little bit of fun with it. In general, you spend less time in the kitchen than in other parts of the apartment, and you can have a bit more freedom in choosing the wall color. Yellow is an excellent option, bright and energizing, while a brighter shade of green or red can also bring some joy into the cooking laboratory.


Your shrine of tranquility deserves a wall paint that matches the sentiment, and the two most popular choices are brighter, lighter shades of green and blue. You should probably avoid stronger, deeper shades of these colors, because they might make the room feel gloomy and dark. Also, if you would like to trade calm and relaxing for intimate and stimulating, you might want to go with a darker shade of red – combined with the smart application of lamplight it can create that particular intimate and romantic atmosphere you’re going for. However, when it comes to rentals, whenever you’re in doubt you should go conservative.


Dining rooms are meant to be places where friends and family gather to share a meal in a warm atmosphere, and as such they call for something lively and cheerful. Yellow is an excellent color for dining rooms, since it evokes the joy of natural sunlight and puts everyone in a good mood. Stronger, brighter shades of green or red, or even orange, can also greatly energize the room and put everyone in a cheerful mood.


If you’re not doing a grand restoration in the apartment, the bathroom will already probably have some kind of tiling installed, and the color of the tiles must be a factor in choosing the wall paint. White is always in style when it comes to bathrooms, and some ornamental tiling and small details can help personalize it and make it seem less bland and generic. Blue is a popular alternative to white, as well as certain shades of green like turquoise, due to their relaxing qualities. Also, if you’re going for a bright, energizing effect, yellow is another option that will get the job done.
Now that we’ve got you ready to start redesigning the apartment, here are a few end notes to round things out. If you’re working from the position of a landlord, you should go for the broadest appeal, since you will probably have different types of people living in your apartment. On the other hand, if you’re a tenant, you should make sure to consult your landlord before you make any significant changes to the apartment. In either case, you will want your walls to look good and hiring a painting professional is far smarter than relying on your own skill, especially if you don’t have much experience with painting. If you ever find yourself in a dilemma, go for the safe, tried and tested option.

Jenny Hahn is a traveling freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. You can find Jenny on Facebook, Google+ or twitter.

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