The Color Most Americans Turn to When Painting Their Homes

May 17, 2017

Last week, Sherwin-Williams released the results of its "Color Psychology Study" in observance of the forthcoming National Painting Week. The survey, conducted by consumer insight agency Harris Poll, randomly selected 2,000 Americans across various demographic brackets while also combing through over 12,000 geotagged social media posts. It sought to draw conclusions about what paint colors American homeowners gravitate towards when decorating their homes.

The poll has some vaguely compelling demographic insights: When asked what connotations each colors carry for them, baby boomers said they find green more calming than millennials do, while the latter is more likely to characterize green as energy-inducing. Men associate yellow with weakness more often than women (it’s a 35% to 17% difference).

On the whole, though, 58% of respondents preferred vibrant hues to neutral greiges or whites. When it comes to the color that most survey respondents want on their walls, 62% prefer blue, a color that united survey respondents across social strata: gender, region, age. 45% of respondents claimed they find the color calming. Black trailed blue at 32%, and red wasn’t too far behind at 31%.

These results aren’t terribly surprising; I know quite a few people in my age bracket who’ve opted to paint their rooms a soft, bucolic blue. If asked, I probably would've gone with green, due to growing up in a childhood bedroom with pistachio-colored walls—though, call me old-fashioned, there’s nothing terribly wrong giving your walls a nice, chalky coat of white.

Shop the Story

Have a blue bedroom? What colors do you like on your walls? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • linda
  • Jan Williams Simone
    Jan Williams Simone
  • Alice
  • Cynthia Bryant
    Cynthia Bryant
  • Tomi
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


linda March 29, 2019
I'm a boomer, thank you very much. Our walls have been bright and colorful for as long as I remember after leaving a house with baby-blue painted bedrooms and hospital-white painted walls everywhere else except the bathrooms that were pink and yellow. Currently, we have a pale yellow-hued hang-out kitchen, a green-hued living/dining room, a soothing shade of blue-green bathroom, and a gray-green hued bedroom. Formerly, we had a living room that had two walls that were a red hue and two walls that were a yellow "bring on the hot dogs" color; a dark terra cotta bedroom; black and cinnamon trimmed kitchen; and so forth. Color is important for us. White has not been our wall choice.
Jan W. March 29, 2019
I also love blue but the only room that has walls leaning toward blue is my guestroom in Ben Moore Quiet Moments, which can look green, blue or gray depending on the light. I use blue as an accent in nearly every room. But I also like green as two other bedrooms are painted soft shades of it, one of those accented with shades of light purple and a very pale one accented with shades of aqua. Otherwise my wall colors are neutral - greys, taupes and shades of white. I am crazy about gray because it so beautifully enhances the colors I love.
Alice May 22, 2017
I have a jade green bedroom,, a gold dining room, a raspberry kitchen, and my daughter's sky blue bedroom. All of these strong colors are balanced with a white ceiling, except the blue bedroom's, which is sky blue painted with puffy white clouds. Now that's relaxing!
Cynthia B. May 22, 2017
I like all of those colors! Our bedroom in our previous home was Sherwin Williams "Shanghai Jade"!
Cynthia B. May 21, 2017
We have a total of FIVE blue rooms in our eleven-room home. Our master bedroom is similar to a Wedgwood blue, both our children chose a sky blue with different accent colors for their bedrooms, our hall bath is pale blue and our dining room is cobalt blue with lots of white trim and silver/pewter accents. Blue has always been my favorite color. We also have two red rooms, two green rooms, plus two gold rooms. Only our foyer and hallway are a neutral pewter gray. We love color!
Tomi May 21, 2017
I am at the end of the boomers and I love greens. Yellow, red, orange and blue are the last colors I would ever choose. I would never go with dark or pastel colors, either. I prefers more subtle muted shades, but not beiges or grays. I do like bright white trim, and nothing wrong with creamy white walls.
Cynthia B. May 22, 2017
Curious whether you have any purple, since you've eliminated four of the six colors in the spectrum.
Whiteantlers May 17, 2017
I'm a Boomer and yes, I have a blue bedroom. I've had a blue bedroom as far back as I can remember, no matter where I've lived. I work from home and my office walls are celadon green with a pale, soft rose ceiling. Living room and dining room are bright, pineapple yellow to set off my collection of flow blue ware.