About three years ago, I pulled together a color palette and list of what I called “Nearly Perfect Neutral Paint Colors” and it’s way past time that I update that palette. I especially wanted to give you an updated list of all-star neutral colors, since so much has changed in three years. Keep in mind, there is no “perfect”, or fool-proof color, that’s why I call them “nearly perfect” but these colors consistently work beautifully in a variety of lighting situations.
Repose Gray Sherwin Williams via Clasen Design Build
Abalone Benjamin Moore via Cardea Bldg. Company
Neutral paint colors are not necessarily paint colors without much color but rather, they are really more muted colors with a mix of warm and cool undertones. Neutral colors ground/balance/neutralize other colors in a space like fabrics, art, accessories, etc.
Wall color is Classic Gray Benjamin Moore via Studio McGee
We are seeing so much white lately being used throughout spaces and finding just the right “neutral” white is not easy. A great neutral white should be balanced and not have any strong hues or undertones that jump out. The wild card variable here is lighting. What looks like a perfect neutral white can go creamy in artificial light or light gray in natural light. There are just a handful of whites that are about as nearly perfect neutral as we can get in any light.
In my opinion, Decorator’s White from Benjamin Moore is an all-star neutral white that always grounds and looks amazing in any light. It’s one of the best selling white’s out there and it’s a favorite with designers because it’s such a great grounding white:
Decorators White Benjamin Moore via Sheila Rich Interiors
Frostine from Benjamin Moore is another great neutral white. You can really see the perfect white/gray balance with a very slight hint of green. (This especially a great white if you only have artificial light in the space).
Frostine Benjamin Moore
Origami from Sherwin Williams is neutral white that is rapidly becoming a best seller because it’s balanced and it has a very slight tan undertone that makes this color not as cold as a white but still a white.
Origami Sherwin Williams via The Kitchn
Below is the same kitchen but you can really see just how amazing Origami is on the wall next to the bright white tiles:
Origami Sherwin Williams via The Kitchn
Sherwin Williams Frosty White is another great neutral white that while it’s still considered a white, the undertone is that of a very light taupe. Gorgeous color, especially for kitchen cabinets if you don’t want a brighter white.
Frosty White Sherwin Williams via Advanced Renovations
Warm Gray Neutrals
Lighter warm gray neutrals are really the biggest trend right now in paint colors. You guys probably already know, all warm grays are NOT created equal. What looks like a stunning warm gray on a paint card can very easily go into light peach or mauve once it’s on the wall.
My hands down favorite warm gray neutral right now is Repose Gray from Sherwin Williams. It’s about as nearly perfect as you can get because it has such a perfect balance of warm and cool in the base. I use it throughout my home and recommend it to everyone because it just is so good!
Here is Repose on the walls of my family room/office/craft room:
Classic Gray from Benjamin Moore has been around for a very long time because it’s another favorite gray of designers.
Classic Gray Benjamin Moore via Chalet Colorado
Classic Gray Benjamin Moore via 2 Design Group
Moonshine from Benjamin Moore is another color that has become a Benjamin Moore bestseller because it consistently looks beautiful and is another nearly perfect neutral.
Moonshine Benjamin Moore via Charmean Neithart Interiors
Moonshine Benjamin Moore via Young House Love
The combination pale green/blue/gray neutral colors are quickly becoming a staple neutral color and one of the strongest trends in paint color for 2016. People are using these chameleon colors as whole home colors because these colors are not only neutral but they have a little bit more character and depth than traditional neutrals.
Beach Glass from Benjamin Moore is an all-star green/blue/gray neutral that is a crowd favorite because it’s so versatile and dependable. I have yet to hear that someone hasn’t had a love affair with this color after they painted it on their wall.
Beach Glass Benjamin Moore via 2 Design Group
Healing Aloe from Benjamin Moore is another absolutely stunning light green/blue/gray that can be a grounding neutral because it’s so light and versatile.
Healing Aloe Benjamin Moore via Life on Virginia Street
Pale blue neutral toned colors are another great option when looking for a wall color that not only grounds but also adds a little more color than a traditional neutral.
Smoke from Benjamin Moore is such a fantastic neutral blue with a gray base and a very slight hint of warmth:
Smoke Benjamin Moore via A Thoughtful Place
Lookout Point from Benjamin Moore is a little lighter than Smoke but again, that blue/gray slight warmth makes this color another nearly perfect neutral blue.
Lookout Point Benjamin Moore via Lonny and Deborah Needleman
Lookout Point Benjamin Moore via Lauren Shadid
Benjamin Moore Beach Glass
Repose Gray Sherwin Williams
Sherwin-Williams Dorian Gray
I hope there is a neutral color here today that intrigues and inspires you!
Just be sure and sample the color first in the space that you want to paint just to be safe. If you’re interested in more great colors, you can look through my “all-star paint colors” palette of the most dependable and versatile paint colors by clicking on the image below.
Thanks for stopping by!
Gloria Anderson says
I literally squealed when I saw your post this morning. I have been spending my snow days pouring over all your old color posts both on this site as well as on Remodelaholic; I am a big fan :). Looking for a light warm gray for master bath with black cabinets, high ceilings, skylight. Repose gray is a strong contender but it reads a little too tan – any other suggestions for a light warm gray? MBR is Rain – love your old post about this color!!! What do you think?
You made my morning Gloria! Thanks for your sweet note and such kind words. In a space with not a lot of natural light (like a bathroom), Repose will lean a tad more tan but in person, it’s still pretty gray. However, if you want to lean just a tad more gray and just a hint less warmth, SW Silver Strand is perfection and just a slightly grayer version of Repose. They are very close on the color chart. Silver Strand is a GORGEOUS color and probably exactly what you need. However, in a bathroom, it may be just a hint too dark, so you may want the guys to add 25% more white just to lighten a tad to really lighten up, especially with tall ceilings. I would test both shades of Silver Strand with and w/o added white but I’m betting that that’s your perfect color. Backup plan, also look at Passive. It may be too gray but in the artificial light, the warmth will pop out and it may be perfect. Let me know what you decide and thank you again for your sweet note and following along 🙂
Gloria Anderson says
Thanks so much for your response! I will look at all these possibilities – this helps to narrow it down so that I can paint some posterboard samples. I will definitely let you know what I decide. Thanks again 🙂
I am Still learning about good paints. I don’t have a Benjamin Moore dealer near me. Is there a reason it is your go to paint brand? I have a home depot selling Behr paint. Is Behr paint comparable in any form? I would love to do some of these colors.
I love all paint brands but I mainly go back and forth between SW and BM. Home Depot has all the color formulas for both BM and SW, so if you give them the name of the color, they will match for you 🙂 Yes, I love Behr paint a lot, especially their paint/primer product. It’s pretty awesome! Hope that helps and thx so much for your note. 🙂
Thank you!!! I love your site and your decorating style. I appreciate the help.
Whitney Shortt says
So much great info. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Whitney for your note! Hope this post helps in some way!
I love these colors!! Thank you!
I just started repainting most of my interior with Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray. Do you have a recommendation of a white that would go with it for all of my trim? I am terrified of making a mistake and having to redo it all. ~Thanks
Thank you Sandy! I wrote a post last year about how to instantly choose whites by looking at whites online to quickly spot undertones. This is a super easy trick and you can see that post here:https://www.thecreativityexchange.com/2014/03/tricks-for-choosing-the-perfect-white-paint-it-monday.html I’m a HUGE fan of Edgecomb and Chantilly Lace from BM would be the perfect white trim because it would beautifully compliment the edgecomb (they have same undertone). Hope that helps and let me know what you decide! 🙂
Thank you for your reply. I am super excited to move onward with confidence!
Kathryn Griffin @TheDedicatedHouse says
Great post Cindy! I just painted my kitchen and most of the downstairs in Benjamin Moore’s Marina Gray. It has more blue in it than green and looks amazing. I’m a huge fan of Benjamin Moore paints. I never seem to tire of them. Here is the link to my kitchen it you want to have a look. http://www.thededicatedhouse.com/2016/01/renovated-kitchen-at-dedicated-house.html Have a great rest of the week! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse
Kristy Jones says
I always been a huge fan of light colors because it is pleasing to the eyes. Just re-painted my bathroom last week with ice white Benjamin Moore and it looks awesome! 🙂
Cindy Meyers says
I have to say that I love your site and am slightly obsessed with it. You give such great information and examples. It’s informative and basic at the same time (not over the top). I just love all the paint info (another of my obsessions). I am in the process of a total re paint to my interior. I am having a hard time finding a lr paint it’s a south facing room. I painted It bm bennington gray but no happy. My husband says it looks dingy. We painted our kitchen cabinets bm fieldstone and the walls windham cream. One of the lr walls will be along side that. I love coastal colors (we live less then 2 miles from beach). I would love any suggestions. Keep up the fantastic work. I’m thinking repose gray.
Do you recommend any Valspar colors? (Not from Lowes). I need to use Valspar paints but am overwhelmed by looking at paint chips. Any favorite colors for 2016?
Oh my! I am obsessed it’s your blog!!! I am about to close on a house and though I like the colors in the house I want to do some painting. if I do beach glass in my master bedroom what color should I do in the master bath? Also, my daughter wants a pink room… Can you recommend a pink that will be relaxing and not too jarring?
I love your site and would really appreciate your advice! I am about to repaint my that I purchased 2 weeks ago. I like Beach Glass for my master bedroom but am not certain on which color should go into the master bath, and tray ceilings for each room:( Help… Also, I am having a hard time with finding a nice pink for my daughters room
Rita Beese says
Hi Cyndy, Love your blog! Great information. I have a small bathroom 5×8 with a window in the shower facing east. Love the morning sun. I’m looking for a neutral paint and looked at BM Gray Owl. Can you suggest anything else. My husband says I only get one shot at this. :-)) Your help would be appreciated. Thank you!
Shannon Lane says
I am using Repose Gray in the entire house but I’m a bit hesitant in one area that is dark and narrow. It’s the stairs leading to a basement that includes a living room, bath, and bedroom. I will be installing more light in the area. I would love your ideas about a wall color that will help the closed in feeling and the darkness. Thank you in advance!
Hi Shannon! You will love Repose! You could always have Repose diluted with 50% (or 75%) white if you have a really dark area that you want to lighten up but still have it compliment Repose in the adjacent spaces. I would just get a sample of the 50% dilution and test in that space to see if you need to go all the up to 75%. I hope that helps! 🙂
Looking for a retreat color for my 18X20 master bedroom. Looking for a gray that is not super dark. Light to mild medium gray. Love the colors above. In love with the BM and SW grays. I am truly torn. Have two descant size windows, sun sets on master bedroom side. Having lighter hickory hardwood flooring laid. Want an inviting, calm, relaxing, airy, but cheerful dolor. Love the Repose Gray and the Moonshine!! Do you have any recommendations? It’s tough one and the room is huge; my bedroom set is a dark brown (has no red undertones).
I corrected my email for you, sorry about this.