The Best Dining Room Paint Color

What do you think most people would say is the best color to paint a dining room? Ten years ago you might have heard most people answer “red.” Actually if you polled a bunch of random people today, many would still say “red,” then quote something about how red stimulates appetite. I’ve never really understood that reasoning, unless you are just wanting to gain weight.

best dining room paint color


The last time I specified a red paint color for a dining room was about eight years ago. The room had very traditional and formal cherry wood furniture, and I chose a bright red that leaned a bit towards orange (rather than purple). I’ve since learned that a red paint color is a particularly bad backdrop for cherry, mahogany, or oak furniture because it either competes with the color of the wood or else the furniture blends right into the wall – neither of which is ideal.

red dining room

at least I did a good job with grouping and hanging the art!


That’s why I now stay away from red, orange, and coral paint colors for a dining room with lots of wood furniture. My recent client wanted to keep her existing dark wood furniture in the formal dining room of her new home and needed help choosing a new paint color for the space. Here’s the before of the dining room:



I loved the existing chandelier and wanted to really set it off with a rich color. Obviously, I wasn’t going to choose a red! Here’s the after:

blue designer dining room


We wanted the room to remain formal, but updated and somewhat fresher. When I saw this rug in a local store, I knew this would be the perfect choice for brightening up the look of this traditional room. It was actually very affordable because it’s synthetic – which makes it less stressful to have family meals in this room!

blue dining room paint color


Blue is always a good choice for a dining room. What’s your favorite paint color for dining rooms?

If you want to learn more about choosing paint colors for your own home, check out my two hour instructional video here.

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51 thoughts on “The Best Dining Room Paint Color

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I can’t remember the name of the company, but I know it’s a company that is only available to the trade and retailers. I’m sorry I don’t know more – just that I found it locally at Brentwood Interiors, just south of Nashville.

  1. Jenny B. says:

    I love the blue you chose. I love blue in general, though. 🙂 A friend of mine recently repainted her dining room (which is full of dark cherry furniture), and she painted it maroon. I was so disappointed. I mean, it’s her house, and if she loves it, then more power to her, but I felt like it went from looking just fine (with neutral taupe walls) to instantly looking very dated. It could have been SO much prettier. Oh, well… 🙂

  2. Cherie says:

    The newly painted and styled dining room does look pretty. The beautiful traditional wood furniture looks especially good against that blue, and the rug is perfect. I’ve commented before about how much I love traditional dining room tables and chairs. To me they speak of legacy, of heritage, of history, of…well…tradition! That’s me! : ) I have another comment, though. The best color for a dining room would depend on the colors in the rest of the house and on the colors the owners love. I like blue, but do not have blue in my house, so this would not work for me. But again, you made the dining room look very pretty.

  3. Kathy says:

    Love this room!, as usual you created another beautiful space….What color blue did you use? I have a queen ann style dining room in cherry but it has a bit of gold undertones to the wood….currently the room is a golden color but would like to update the color to a grey/blue. How did you select this blue?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Templeton Gray – I chose in because of some of the other paint colors we chose for adjoining rooms. Hopefully I can show those and how they all work together when we get farther along with the decorating!

  4. Pam says:

    I think my favorite DR color was a teal. Friends in Georgetown back in the 80’s had an incredible dining room in red. I always felt like it stimulated animated conversations (vs. eating).

  5. Phyllis E. says:

    Beautiful dining rooms, Kristie and Debra Kling! It is nice to see how a simple color change (and, ok, a fantastic rug , too!) can make such a difference! It is also nice to see, in both these dining room, that it is possible to achieve a beautiful, and “fresh” looking space WITHOUT having to paint the table and/or hutch!

    Thanks, Kristie, for being brave and showing us the photo of the dining room with the “not-so-fantastic” red paint color. Not only is it actually encouraging (for those of us who have made many paint color mistakes) to see that talented designers also make don’t always get the colors “spot-on” perfect, but it is such a great “decorating lesson” to actually see it–you know– about a picture being worth a thousand words, etc.

    Thanks again.

  6. Sandy says:

    I’m curious about the number of homes that have plate rails and paneling below, or just plate rails and 2 colors, both in this post and others shown. Is that a traditional style that’s still favored? Or are these historical homes? My house, (in the South) built in the late 1970s and not at all historical, had plate rails in the 2 front rooms. That looked like an affectation to this midwesterner, plus, I didn’t like the way they bisected the space. I had them taken out — did I make a mistake?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Those are actually called chair rails, because they are supposed to keep the dining room walls from being scuffed by chairs that are pulled back from the table. If you don’t like the look of them, it wasn’t at all a mistake for you to remove them. Many people used to paint two contrasting colors above and below the chair rail, but now that color placement choice looks dated. I like to stay white like the trim below the chair rail and only apply the “color” above it. Keeps it classy!

      • Sandy says:

        Ah – chair rails, of course (why did I type plate rails?) — thanks for answering. I love the gray/blue, and it is especially classy with the white trim.

      • cynthia ruh says:

        I had to paint my dining room gray owl to flow with the living room, but under chair rail and wood work is simply white, it works

  7. Mrs. H says:

    This blue dining room is beautiful. I am planning to paint our dining room red. Not because of any psychological reasoning, but because I’ve had a fancy to do that for the last twenty years. Now I have the opportunity to do so!
    Thanks for the tip about the furniture blending in with the walls. I’ll have to remember that when choosing paint and furniture shades.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thank you! If you wanna go red on the walls, the best choice you can make for the furniture is a clean brown wood – not a hint of orange or red in the wood. So no oak or cherry wood. Good luck with your project 🙂

  8. Judy says:

    My dining room is Palladian Blue. At the moment, it’s my favorite room in the house. I love the grey-blue you used in this room, too, Kristie. It really brings out the beauty of the dark wood and the crystal chandelier. Now if I could just find a living room color I love… Thank you for another inspiring post. 🙂

  9. kelly says:

    Looks gorgeous Kristie! I also love Templeton Gray and have not suggested a red in the dining room in years. Beautiful color, beautiful room!

  10. Jacquie says:

    Hi Kristie,
    I know it may not be the hottest trend but my dining room is pink! It too is a Ben Moore color and is on both the ceiling and walls. I have a husband and two sons so I took care not to make the house too girlie but took the liberty in the dining room. It is a soft and happy color and in my opinion, it automatically evokes a sense of calm and decorum which results in better manners in “mom’s ” room. the rest of the house is in soft creams and grays so this is a happy surprise once you notice the color.

  11. Alena M Gale says:

    My dining room is actually a chocolate brown. It’s very pretty. I rent, and the owner was an interior designer. I was surprised by how much I enjoy the brown.

  12. Vicki Graham says:

    I love the blue you used in the dining room, but I would’ve painted the ceiling as well, using the soft gold from the upholstered chairs and drapes. Jacquie’s pink dining room is very distinctive. Color is so powerful!

  13. Lisa says:

    Your design and color choice is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the name of the color! We have cherry furniture with red walls. Looking for a change and plan to totally redo like this one. Thanks so much!

  14. Charlotte says:

    What sheen do you use, especially on the white and did you paint the chair rail and baseboard the same color/sheen white as the wall? Ultra pure white or tinted?

  15. Pamela says:

    I really like the Templeton grey paint color along with the chair rail and panels on lower half of wall. Iam going to be painting my dining room this color. I do have the chair rail and bottom half of wall white already. My question is Iam really confused on color of curtains I would use?? Any ideas?? I do have Cherry wood dining room furniture and cheery wood dining room floors. Would appreciate type of colored curtains that would look best??

  16. Deona says:

    I have yellow toned wood floors in my dining room and dark mahogany dining room table and chippendale stye chairs plus sideboard..there is a kithen bar top that extends out to dining room in a medium gray tone and there is a backslash in kitchen that also extends into dining room that is in a light ,tan stone, a darker tan glass and stainless steel that borders the opening from kithen with gray fabric barstool …
    I just bought a very light beighy creme leather sectional to lighten up the place and try to go.more modern , I have creme Mongolian lamb pillows and gray and tan mixed pillows on the sectional..It is a open concept very large area kitchen dining room …The walls were yellow and Need a color for living room and dining room to blend everything together
    The living room and kitchen floor is a tan color stone..
    I don’t mind painting the living room a separate color because all though it is open concept the dining room is Framed out to give it a separation look…
    Pleasssseeee help I am So confused on what to do

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      How about doing a nice gray-blue in the living room and a darker, richer gray-blue in the dining room? Or even a light gray-green in the living, and a darker royal blue or even navy in the dining room? Greens and blues as a backdrop will both make wood look richer against it – so much better than yellow. I hope that helps!

  17. Alice Taylor says:

    I’m currently building a home and that color would work perfect for what we’re trying to achieve. What color is that?

  18. Betsy says:

    Hi Kristie,

    I have used your post as inspiration and have painted the walls above my wainscoting in dining room Templeton grey as well as the back of the living room built in bookcases and love the color. I have an older colonial that is not really open concept. I have always painted the trim throughout the house the same color to bring more continuity throughout (BM Linen white). I have now painted the trim and below the wainscoting BM crisp linen to modern it up a bit and am feeling a little unsure about the brightness compared to linen white. Any recommendations on which trim you think may actually be best? I have living room painted BM Flowering Herb and Kitchen Grant beige. If you could also suggest a third assessor color that could be used through out it would be appreciated. Furniture is mostly a mid light brown and antique ebony colored pieces.

    Thank you for the inspiration,
    Betsy in Boston

  19. Pingback: Templeton Gray | Favorite Paint Colors Blog

  20. Lisa says:

    I would LOVE to know which dark grey blue to use for my dining room. Driving myself crazy trying to decide. Adjacent rooms are FB Old White and FB Dropcloth. Any tips are MUCH appreciated!

  21. mpheisner says:

    Beautiful! Can I ask what colors you used in the adjacent rooms? We currently have antique cherry chipendale furniture in our dining room and I’m trying to make it blend with our modern farmhouse decor. When we moved in a year ago, I painted the dining room SW tauny taupe and the rest of the downstairs SW accessible beige, but I’m not loving the taupy color in the dining room any longer. We are getting ready to install SW Alabaster colored cabinets in our kitchen. Our house is an open concept. I would love to marry it all together. The only color that really needs to stay is the Alabaster cabinets.

  22. Ann says:

    I have an open floor plan throughout my main floor. My dining room is right when you come in the front door to the left. it can be painted a separate color than the main floor. I was thinking of a blue color kind of like the Templeton Grey but my question is what color would go with that throughout the rest of the house with the open floor plan. Right now its a light tan.

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