These paint colors make your home look cheap

Tins of paint
Tins of paint (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’ve just moved in, or you want to give your dated walls a makeover, a fresh coat of paint can instantly transform your space. But, before you get your painting game on, there are certain colors you should avoid.

Alongside these 7 things that are making your home look cheap, paint colors also play a vital role. Not only can they downgrade the overall style, some colors will actually make your home look cheap, and uninviting. What’s more, such colors can even lower the value of your home —  in which case, you’ll need to check out these 9 decor tips that can help to sell your house. So, before you transform your walls, these are the worst paint colors to use in your home.

Before you start decorating, you’ll need to know how to paint a room like a pro the right way, and these 7 clever painting hacks to save you time.

Also, be sure to read, I'm obsessed with home makeover shows — and these are the 3 mistakes people always make.

1. Dark brown/Terracotta  

Brown living room walls

Brown living room walls (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While some shades of beige can offer warmth, experts advise against using brown in the living room. The tone can make a space feel dingy, dark and small. In which case, you’ll need to check out how to brighten a dark room to make it look bigger. 

In addition, having brown walls around the home is known to lower the value of a property — which won’t bode well if you’re trying to sell for top dollar. Instead, opt for muted tones and warm neutrals; these work well for living spaces. If you prefer bold tones, experts advise sticking to teal or dark blue tones to add vibrant, deep color. 

2. Bright yellow  

Painting wall yellow

Painting wall yellow (Image credit: Shutterstock)

It may be sunny and reflect happiness, but yellow is another color to be avoided in the living room. According to designers, a saturated bright yellow on all walls is stimulating to the emotions, but not in a good way. This can leave you feeling overexcited, nervous or anxious. 

In addition, bright yellow is generally distracting, taking the gaze away from the rest of the room. If you do want to inject a splash of yellow, it’s best to stick to a focal point or accent wall in the room.

3. Moss green 

Mixing green paint

Mixing green paint (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Typically, green is a relaxing, soothing color, however, avoid moss or sage green shades. Much like brown shades, these darker, earthy tones can make a space feel overly drab and ‘dirty’. 

In addition, it can make a room feel much smaller than it actually is. Instead, use muted or pastel greens, which can work well for bringing life into a room and adding tranquility. 

4. Deep purple  

Purple bedroom walls

Purple bedroom walls (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although soft, pastel tones can be calming, vivid purple is known to stimulate energy and creativity. And while this may be more suited to a home office setting, purple walls are not a great idea in the bedroom. In fact, some experts suggest that purple can bring about vivid dreams or worse still, nightmares. 

These dark tones work better as a feature wall or in décor accents around the room. If you do have a love of bold purple walls, this is best suited to busy playrooms or hobby rooms.

5. Dark grays  

Dark bedroom walls

Dark bedroom walls (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There was a time when shades of gray were on-trend in many homes. However, experts advise against using these tones nowadays, especially when decorating bedrooms and kitchens. According to a study by the North American Mental Health Professional Advice Council (opens in new tab), dark gray tones can contribute to depression, evoking feelings of loneliness, and isolation. What’s more, charcoal walls in the bedroom could prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. 

Similarly, when used on kitchen walls, this often makes the room feel harsh and less inviting — especially if you lack natural light. Warm gray can make for a bold feature wall though. 

If you do have a tiny kitchen, check out these 7 ways to double your space in a small kitchen without needing an extension!  

6. Off-white or eggshell

Off-white walls in room

Off-white walls in room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While some people prefer the neutrality of off-white or eggshell walls, this can make a room appear lifeless or flat. This is mainly because it lacks the vividness of brilliant whites, and often has a yellow undertone. The lighting conditions in a room can also make off-white tones look lackluster, and cheap. What’s more, off-white could set your home’s potential selling price back by over $4,000, according to Zillow Real Estate (opens in new tab)

If you do need to work with neutral colors, it’s best to stick to pure white tones for that classic, timeless look. Then you can weave in your bold colors through artwork, furnishings, and home accessories.

As the saying goes, everything in moderation. Consequently, if you do wish to decorate with bright paint colors, experts advise to limit it to a focal point in the room, like a feature wall. It’s also ideal to use one or two bright colors with a neutral tone to get the right balance. That way, your walls and décor won’t look so overwhelming to the eye. 


Also, check out these 7 entryway ideas to impress visitors or potential buyers. If you're stripping walls, you'll need to know how to remove wallpaper before painting. Had an accident? Here's how to get paint out of the carpet, and if you want to maintain your walls, here's how to clean painted walls to remove stains.

Cynthia Lawrence
Homes Writer

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!