This highly functional, transitional room often sets the impression for the rest of your home – so it’s important that your tone provokes productivity while still looking good. And curating the perfect space begins with the colors to avoid. If you’re debating these tones in your mudroom ideas, experts urge you to reconsider – and share a rule to remember when decorating this space.

5 colors to avoid in a mudroom

Designing a mudroom begins with the correct color palette – from your wall tones to your cabinetry. Here are five shades to stay away from in this space.  

1. White with yellow undertones  

Paige NeJame from CertaPro Painters of the South Shore and Boston (opens in new tab) explains that whites with yellow and brown undertones can look dingy. Therefore, you should avoid them in the first room of your home to avoid creating a dull impression.  ‘The best way to test this is to put up a piece of printer paper against the white, and the dingy whites will be more obvious,’ she suggests.  If you’re looking for a white that isn’t dull, Paige recommends Sherwin Williams’ White Flour (opens in new tab) or Benjamin Moore’s Simply White (opens in new tab). 

2. Glossy white

Just as Paige warns against using white with yellow undertones, Denise Rives from Rives Interiors (opens in new tab) cautions against glossy white. She explains that in many varied climate locations (including those that often receive rain and snow, the glossy white will scuff and make the room look tired.  ‘[For example], as a designer based in a Colorado resort town, mudrooms are the hardest working area of the entire house. Ski boots, snowboards, poles, coats: You’re dealing with huge amounts of often bulky gear,’ she says. She suggests opting for a more natural finish, such as old barn wood and stone hues that appear more timeless.  ‘They can help connect the space to nature, which gives a beautiful organic feel,’ Denise adds.  '

3. Red  

‘In a space where you want to feel clean, light, and organized, red may come off as heavy and is proven to increase our adrenaline,’ warns Ashleigh Clark from Ashleigh Clark Interior Design Group (opens in new tab). The designer adds that the color is often associated with danger, the last feeling you want when leaving (or entering) your home.  And Ashleigh is not alone in her observations. Eilla Adi from Eilla Adi Design (opens in new tab). When planning garage mudroom ideas, she too avoids red, adding that the color will encourage negativity in the first room of your home.   ‘Here in Southern California, contemporary homes often have mudrooms directly off the garage. They’re typically open areas, not enclosed spaces. Because this is often the first room a homeowner will encounter, you want to avoid red,’ she says.  ‘It’s a classic ‘stop’ color, meaning that it’s high on intensity and can often provoke negative emotions. This stressful color is the last thing you want when entering a home.’

4. Yellow  

Yellow paint ideas may be admired for their ability to inject positivity into a space, but designer Maddalena Fanconi (opens in new tab) is less fond of the shade in a mud room. Maddalena explains that, despite its joyful aesthetic, yellow can still bring a sense of tiredness to a space – and warns that it can get dirty quickly.  Similarly, Ashleigh warns that yellow can appear too chaotic in a space like a mudroom – where organization is a key component.  

5. Dark brown

You would be forgiven for using dark brown in your mudroom. This color is suitable for disguising dirt and makes your space feel grounded and earthy. However, as Maddalena explains, this shade is best left avoided. ‘Dark brown gives a sense of a stale and gloomy atmosphere. Therefore, this color is better to avoid in a room that may already house dirty items,’ she says. 

What is the secret to long-lasting color?

Now you know which colors to avoid, it is also important to know what paint finish works best in the space. ‘Mudrooms tend to be high-traffic areas – so consider using scuff-resistant paint (no matter what color you choose),’ Paige says. These paints are made for gyms and hockey rinks, so they will keep the walls of a mudroom looking fresher for longer.  Scuff-resistant paint is similarly suitable for entryways and laundry rooms which are also at risk of scuffs from daily activities.