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How to Choose Paint for your Tiny House

How to Choose Paint for your Tiny House

I’m not an interior designer. I have zero training and simply decorated my tiny house to my liking. That being said, I’ve received a lot of compliments on our interior design, so I decided to write a series of posts about what I’ve learned from my research.

Small space design is a challenge, but perhaps that’s why it is also so rewarding!

I’ve been through dozens of tiny homes, and no two are alike. It’s obvious to me that tiny housers have gigantic imaginations. My design tips are merely suggestions. There are no limitations when it comes to creating your perfect tiny sanctuary.

Tiny House White Interior
My White Interior Walls

My White Walls – Why?

When Guillaume and I were gathering wood for the tiny house, I remember thinking I wouldn’t paint any of it. Wood grain is so beautiful, why cover it up? In the end, I took a step back in my tiny space and imagined my bare pine walls, my dark maple flooring and my reclaimed barn wood accent walls and window trim. The spectrum of wood tones seemed to clash. It was too chaotic; my eye had nowhere to rest.

Tiny House Painting
My Bare Pine Walls – Pre Paint

To remedy this, I decided to paint the pine paneling because it was my least favorite. We purchased the thinnest, cheapest paneling we could find. The yield wasn’t great and some of the knots were… well, ugly. Paint improved the rigidity and appearance of my walls. My painted panels are easy to clean and patch, and they fight against moisture damage. I’m happy with my choice!

How to Choose Paint in a Tiny Home

  • Paint is toxic (or so I’ve learned). In a tiny space, all harsh chemicals should be avoided if possible. I used Zero VOC paint and primer inside my home.
  • Using primer and painting multiple coats, on both sides, will strengthen and protect wood paneling. We travel with our tiny house, and I don’t want my wall paneling to warp. I painted both sides of the boards with primer and then painted two coats with color on the front. At first, we tried painting the front of the boards after attaching them to the walls (see video below), but that wasn’t possible for the ceiling and in some tight spaces. I’m not Michelangelo after all. So I painted the rest of the boards on the front lawn.

It took days to paint all of the boards. Our front yard must have looked like a paint factory, cycling through boards in various stages of primer, dry, paint, dry.. more paint… dry, etc. 

  • White paint (and other light colors) can actually make a tiny space seem larger! That’s Interior Design 101! This fact, plus the inspiration provided by Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow (a tiny with white walls), made the intimidating task of choosing a color, a breeze. Although, have you ever stared at a piece of white notebook paper? It can be intense on your eyes. To compensate for this, I chose an off-white, softer color called “Parchment Paper” from Behr Paint. When choosing a color for you walls, make sure your choice color will match your future window treatments and furniture. It’s also important that the color you choose will be inline with your style or theme. My style is a mix of French Country & Rustic (see previous post). Off-white pairs nicely with those themes. Bright Green walls? You might want to rethink the red furniture, unless you’re going for a Christmas theme…
bayside bungalow
White Wall Inspiration. Photo credit: Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow
  • Matte VS. Gloss. The glossier the paint, the more moisture resistant it is. Moisture control is very important in tiny home design. Personally, I didn’t like the look of “gloss” so I went with a medium gloss, or “eggshell.”
  • Clean Up is Easy! Spaghetti sauce on the walls again? NO BIG DEAL. It wipes right off of a semi-gloss painted wall.
  • Patching Holes is Easy! Oops, I drilled too many holes! No problem, patching is easy with painted walls. Simply fill the hole and paint over it. With a natural wood wall, matching the texture and color with a false patch can be extremely difficult.

In my next interior design post, I’ll discuss my reclaimed crate staircase design.

– Jenna

More Interior Design Tips for Tiny Homes:




  1. April 18, 2019 / 1:15 am

    Your blog is very interactive and knowledgeable. I like it so much. I think I need to subscribe it and make the most use of it by reading it regularly and keeping myself updated.

  2. March 15, 2019 / 12:08 am

    In your blog the content is so exciting and amazing. You have the best tips for .painters. I am happy to read your best blog.

  3. February 2, 2019 / 12:12 am

    Great advice on your blog. I am really happy I have this information. Thanks!

  4. November 12, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Thanks for helping me understand that the color must be able to match our furniture and window treatments. With that in mind, I guess I will be choosing a neutral color again. This is because the furniture that we have are usually of that color since my husband and I love earthy colors. Now, I just have to look for a painter to hire since we don’t trust our skills with painting.

  5. May 15, 2015 / 5:18 am

    I really like the two tone colors of walls like a light brown and a bright white along with it.

  6. George
    May 7, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    Awesome….I love this tiny house, only wish I could afford $$$ one.

    • matt
      May 8, 2015 / 10:37 am

      You should build one yourself on a budget.

      • George
        May 8, 2015 / 3:31 pm

        I was thinking about living in a Van. I work for a ski resort in Steamboat Springs,CO and my base pay is $7/Hr.

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