Do you struggle to find the right neutral paint colors? Today I’m sharing my five favorite paint colors! These tried and true neutrals and whites are colors I’ve used again and again, and they look good in almost any room!
One question I get a lot here and even more so on Instagram, is what paint colors I have in my home. Whenever I post different rooms, I invariably get asked about the different colors I’ve used. So when the ladies from Project Design asked me if I’d like to share in a post with them about my favorite paint colors, I thought this would be a great chance for me to share what I’ve used and love (and don’t love!) in my home.
I’m a firm believer that there are no perfect paint colors, however, I do think there are some that are almost universally flattering in any light. Kind of like certain dresses seem to just flatter any figure, some paints just have a certain mix of pigments that makes them work in almost any space. I don’t know all the paints out there, but I can share what I’ve used and loved over the years and what has worked for me!
THIS POST MAY INCLUDE AFFILIATE LINKS. CLICK HERE FOR MY FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY.
My Favorite White Paint Color
Let’s start with my absolute all-time favorite white paint, Cloud White by Benjamin Moore. You will see that all of my interior paints are from Benjamin Moore and that is just personal preference. I do believe in using a higher quality paint such as Benjamin Moore, Dunn Edwards, Pratt & Lambert, or Farrow & Ball (and there are others). There is truly a difference in the quality of the color due to the fact that they use more pigments in their formulas. You do get what you pay for with paint!
Not only that, BM is nearly odorless and has either zero, or very low VOCs in all of their formulas (even the least expensive one!) Since I paint my kid’s rooms as well as areas we are in a lot, I feel better knowing it’s a little less unhealthy.
My absolute favorite white is Cloud White. Another favorite (and one of many designers as well) is White Dove. And while I love that (and have it elsewhere) it’s not as “clean” of a white as Cloud White. Want something less yellow than White Dove but not as stark as Simply White? Cloud White is your color! I would describe it as as much of a true white as is possible. It doesn’t have blue or yellow tones – it’s just white!
I truly feel like it is the perfect white! I spent many years using several different whites in several houses and I will never use another one again. It is what I used in our kitchen, family room built-ins, and for every bit of trim, doors, and molding in our whole house.
My Favorite Neutral Paint Colors
There are a few favorite neutrals that I’ve used, but I’ll start with one of my favorites and that is the one in my living room, stairwell, family room, and upstairs hallway. This color is Muslin. Muslin is a very soft beige, with some warm undertones. I don’t think it’s too yellow, especially in a north facing room. But it can skew that way if you are putting it in a south facing space. I’ll show you!
Here in the living room (which is north facing) it goes pretty neutral. Soft beige with some warmth and a little grey, but not too yellow.
However, I also painted it in my family room and it’s a completely different color in there! That room is south facing so it adds a lot of warmth and the paint does go a little more yellow. For me, I don’t love that so I am planning on repainting. It isn’t necessarily a bad color – just not what I wanted it to be.
It appears a lot more yellow in this space than it does in the north facing living room! Lesson learned: be sure to sample your paints on every single wall in the room you’ll be painting. This is something I normally do, but because I love Muslin in the rest of the house, I didn’t think I needed to. You do.
Test it in every room, every time. Even if it’s a favorite. Even if you’ve used it before because lighting is a bitch!
Another favorite neutral is Shaker Beige. The name of this one tends to scare people away! I think they think of something more gold, or dark dated-90s-beige! However, it’s actually a very true beige. Not too gold, not too brown, and very versatile. This is the color in my dining room below.
You can see here that it’s quite a bit darker than the living room Muslin. And below, the two in the same view.
Shaker Beige is slightly warmer and darker than the Muslin. It’s a good dependable neutral, and I’ve seen it used at half strength as well and it looked beautiful. And it doesn’t go too yellow. Our dining room is south facing and it stays a very neutral beige in that room.
Another neutral favorite is Revere Pewter. This color is uber-popular and all over Pinterest! It’s a classic warm grey. The warm undertones keep it from going too cold (a definite problem with many greys). My daughter’s room is painted Revere Pewter below.
Not too blue, not too beige. For me, Revere Pewter is the perfect warm grey!
I also used it in our office. In this space, I wanted a softer look so we cut it to 50% strength and I love it! It goes even warmer when it’s cut to 50% which I really like in this room. It is probably the paint color I get the most comments/questions on whenever I post it!
I love how soft and pretty it looks in this room. It might just be that perfect “greige” that everyone is searching for!
Another Benjamin Moore color that I absolutely love is Edgecomb Gray! I actually painted the office in that color first, but ended up changing. But let me preface it by saying I loved the color! I just didn’t love it in this space for the look I was going for.
But I will definitely be using it at some point, either in my home or in a project. It is close to Revere Pewter but slightly warmer.
Another Favorite White Paint Color
A very popular white and one I mentioned above is White Dove. In fact, when asked their favorite white it is favored by more designers than any other! And that’s because it is slightly warm, creating a fresh, clean space but one that isn’t too harsh or cold. We painted the walls of our bedroom in White Dove and I love it!
I was worried the room would feel too stark but it doesn’t at all. It definitely has slightly more yellow undertones than the Cloud White does though, so if you’re doing it in a south-facing room be sure to sample it first.
I also used it in the kitchen remodel that I did last summer. She loved it so much we painted her whole house in this color!
So that’s it! My favorite paint colors that I have come to love over many years of trial and error. And more error!
My best piece of advice is to buy samples. So many people tell me they don’t want to spend the money, and they try taping those little paint strips all over the house. Take my word for it, that just doesn’t work!
Spend the money. It will save you repainting in the long run. And keep in mind that any paint will go more yellow/warm in a south facing room. And any paint will go more grey/cool in a north facing room. This is a super helpful fact to keep in the back of your head!
Now I hope you’ll hop over to some of the other designers also sharing their tips and tricks to finding the perfect paint colors below:
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more decorating ideas and inspiration below:
caren a hirsch says
Hi There, loved all the info on white paint and cutting it to make it lighter. How can I check to make sure that the paint store gets it right? Love the Muslin and the info on cloud white and white cloud .Who knew there were two. Thanks. Love all your posts and detailed info.GREAT SITE
Hi Caren! Thanks so much – I’m so glad you found it helpful! Any reputable paint store can do percentages like 25% lighter or darker. It should say it on your formula tag (that’s how you would make sure they’ve done it right).
Hope that helps!
carole leone says
WOW! Lots of comments on paint colors. First of all – I will throw another one into the mix – SW Heron Plume. I had my entire house painted with it. It is not beige, but not gray. My decorator suggested it and it works perfectly! Three things that I have learned about choosing paint colors, after choosing paint for five houses. 1. After narrowing down color choices to two or three, go to the paint store and ask for the “color formula” for each paint. This will tell you which colors go into the paint, esp. underlying tones – warm or cool. I have always found that the store is willing to do this. 2. When choosing colors, remember that rooms open to others, so colors should transition from one to another – lay samples of all colors out on the floor or a table – don’t think of just painting individual rooms. 3. Send for samples from Samplize.com, actual painted sheets to stick on the wall that can be moved from wall to wall. You won’t end up with cans of paint that you do not want – better for the planet.
I couldn’t agree more Carole! Love your suggestions and I love the idea of asking for the formula – I’ll be doing that next time!
Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by!
Helena Bock says
Loved reading this and getting such great advice on paint colors! Thanks for such a helpful article – now to get samples and get painting!
Hello. I have Shaker Beige on all my walls except an accent wall in the living room that was Alexandria Beige and we just painted it Rockport Gray but we do not like it as we wanted lighter and it makes the Shaker look really yellow and the Rockport green. We are wondering if we painted the accent wall Edgecomb Gray if that would work. Eventually we are painting over all the beige but for now need a colour for the accent wall that will work. Thanks.
Hi there Janice, it’s hard for me to make a judgement call simply because lighting makes such a huge difference in how paints are perceived. I do have Edgecomb Gray next to Shaker Beige and they are fine. The Edgecomb looks grayer, obviously, but they aren’t awful side by side. Having said that, I think the easiest thing to do is to paint it Shaker Beige and don’t have an accent wall. That way you don’t worry about it working or not and waste more money, especially since you said you’re planning to repaint everything anyway.
Hope that helps!
That does. Thank you. For the Revere Pewter that you lightened at 50% how would you compare it to another BM colour like Edgecomb Gray.
The Revere Pewter and the Edgecomb Grey are both warm greys or ‘greiges’ but the RP is definitely ‘greyer’ than the Edgecomb. Hope that helps!
Hello Sheila! I love the look of your two tone dining room. I also have a dining room with a chair rail and am looking for similar neutral colors. You mentioned you used Shaker Beige for the dinning room. What is the other color?
Hi Laura! I’m happy to help. My dining room is one color – not two. And the color is Shaker Beige at 50%. Sometimes the lighting makes it look slightly different from top to bottom but it is definitely one color.
Hope that helps!
Gorgeous paint colors! Intersting, yet restful. I love them.
What is the kitchen wall color? Not hallway, not cabinets but the wall color on right in kitchen? I assumed the cabinets were cloud white.
Hi there Arlie! That is the Muslin at 50% that I talk about in the post!
Thanks for stopping by!
Pamela Dimock says
Hi Shelia! Did you know BM has both Cloud White and White Cloud? Could that be more confusing?? So, my question is…what is the formula number you use? We use Cloud White OC-130. Their White Cloud is 2159-70. Have you ever tried that one? Interested to know your thoughts.
Yes I know that – and it IS super confusing! I can tell you White Cloud is not pretty as once my painter got that one by mistake. Cloud White is a way better color and one of their most popular.
Terri B says
Hi Sheila! Your home is just beautiful! Thank you for posting these great tips! I would like to change the paint color in most of my living areas and currently have BM Everlasting in the kitchen and family room which is the next color on the strip with Muslin. It looks great with our cherry cabinets and travertine style tiles BUT it doesn’t look great in the living room and hallway which is painted an old color called Sawyers Fence by a company no longer in business. Since I like Everlasting if we were to request it at 50% will that be the same as just getting the Muslin color? I feel like if we are going to have the rooms repainted we may as well change the color – even though we love Everlasting. Thank you!
Oh gosh, that’s a tough one! First of all, if you love Everlasting, then why change? If you add another color into the mix the tones aren’t always the same. However, if Muslin is the next one down on the strip and they look good together, I’m thinking it would be fine. I also think Everlasting at 50% may work just fine too since you already have it in the house. If I were you, I would buy samples of both Everlasting at 50% and the Muslin and paint them on the walls (large swatches) to see which will really look best. Samples are so much better than tiny paper strips and will usually save you money and regrets in the end! Good luck!
Michele M. says
I read this too late. The painter just finished painting our master bedroom walls and they aren’t bright enough.
Going to have to live with it a while but I knew better. I did. I used what I had left over – had 3 gallons leftover…..I knew. I freaking KNEW!
Ugh. So not happy. Whites are way too tricky for me. Funny I did a bright white in den that is TOO bright, and did a dark white in bedroom – wish they were reversed.
I am complaining a First World problem – sorry. It’s just paint – an expensive mistake, but can be fixed. Eventually.
ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I never get my whites right EVER!!!!!
Oh gosh I’m so sorry Michele!! I feel your pain, believe me! I’ve repainted dozens of times and I just keep telling myself I’m learning more each time, haha! (I guess I’ll be really good at picking when I’m 70!)
Hopefully next time you can get plenty of samples and things will turn out better!!
Thanks for stopping by!
I love your home. It makes me want to just hang out in the kitchen with a coffee.
I love Edgecomb Grey and have it in my living room/dining room and basement. It changes depending on time of day or light from beige to grey but always warm. My mom didn’t realise the two spaces were the same colour as they look so different. It works in both. My favourite neutral.
My other fav is Cement Grey which is a cool grey. Goes perfect with my cream kitchen.
Jessica Licata says
Hi! I came across your website as we are choosing paint colors for our whole house. I’d really love to paint it all white (its very dark taupe right now and I am dying to go lighter). I was looking at Simply White vs. Cloud White – and we tested Cloud White in our closets – (and on different spots on walls) – but my problem is that I was hoping to go with a true white on the trim. Our trim right now is very dark cream, but when I painted the floor boards White – or Chantilly Lace, it made Cloud White look rather yellow.
Do you have any suggestions? I know most people are now recommending doing the same white on trim/doors/walls – but I’m afraid of not using a true white on the doors/window trim/base boards. Are there any true white trim colors that won’t make Cloud White look yellow? UGH. A bit stressed out.
All whites have some undertones, some are yellow and some more gray. Cloud White is a pretty clean white with only a slight yellow undertone (just enough for it not to be too cold) but of course, depending on your lighting it can look more yellow. I personally consider Cloud White a “true white” as there are other much warmer whites that aren’t what I would call “true.” However, if you want an even cleaner white that’s not as warm then I would go with Simply White. It’s a much starker, cleaner white look and that may be more what you’re looking for. Either way, if your walls are white in any room or even your whole house, I would paint the trim, windows and doors that same color of white. Hope that helps, and good luck!
I am considering painting my living and dining room white. You mentioned that if a room is white doors, trim should be the same white? Do you use a different finish…flat, eggshell, etc for trim,doors?
Hi Becky! Yes, I use the same white but different finishes for sure. On trim and doors I use semi-gloss and on ceilings flat. Walls are either flat or eggshell. That way there is some separation even when using the same color. Hope that helps!
Debbie Mancuso says
Great information, Thank you!!! What a beautiful house!
Question, my hall and family room is painted in muslin, I’m getting ready to paint my dining room which is south facing, wanted a beige color to go with or compliment the muslin paint since the colors will be close together. Can you give me any suggestions??? My furniture, chairs and buffet are black, table is wood with black legs,
I would not use Shaker Beige which I have next to the Muslin – it makes it look more yellow than it is. Why not just use Muslin again, or Muslin at 150%? That way the tones are the same and you don’t have to worry about undertones clashing. You also might want to grab the strip from BM that Muslin is on and see what they put one square or two squares above it as those will work tonally as well.
And thanks for your kind words, so appreciate it!
Debbie Mancuso says
How would it look if I used the BM revere pewter? I currently have blues/greys running thru out my house. Would that compliment the muslin? Wanted that wow factor as my dining room is the first room you see walking into my house.
I LOVE Revere Pewter but I haven’t seen it next to the Muslin. I would get a sample and try it in some spots – especially where the two rooms meet or where you see the other rooms from the dining room. RP is not a blue/grey it’s rather a true taupe or “greige.” It’s beautiful but I would definitely sample first!
As a first time visitor, I am glad I did. I picked up a lot of tips about white paint. We have been thinking and discussing colors my daughters and I lately because the house is due for a do-over. In the past, I have always agreed with their choices of bold colors; this time I wanted to go more neutral. Since my house has an open space lay-out, I had real Beige painted walls for both my great and my dining room areas. I had painted the foyer , stairs and second floor hallway in Pure White and the Kitchen in Linen. I don’t remember which brand the painter used. All I know is that I am tired of everything and would like to see something else. I think Revere Pewter could do it for me because I have being thinking about gray. However, the ones we used for our garage didn’t produce the desired effect. The Hubs. chose two different shades of gray, one on the wall and one on the floor. I will try some samples this time before the paint goes on the walls. What would you recommend for doors? Thank you for all the tips. Your house is beautiful and very inviting.
I’m so glad you found the article helpful! And it’s great you’re getting samples. I always advise that as it can help avoid a lot of mistakes! For doors I still love white, though black doors are very in style and can be pretty if you’re going grey on the walls. Revere Pewter is a gorgeous color!! Just know that it isn’t a “blue” grey at all, but more of a warm one. Good luck!!
Your house is lovely. We’ve been considering Muslin white for our living room and this post has been very helpful. Thank you!
I couldn’t help noticing the beautiful blue floral pillow by the bookcase. Do you know where you can find pillow like that? Thanks.
Thanks so much Jean- I’m so glad the post was helpful! And that pillow with the green and blue florals is custom made with Bennison fabric. Sorry I can’t give you a link to anything similar but I keep trying!
A few years ago, Simply White was color of the year and I still see it regularly on lists of people’s favorite paint colors. When I tried it on my south-facing garage door, it looked very yellow. I hated it!
I used Behr’s Ultra Pure White (right off the shelf!) on the shiplap in my dining room and I love it. In the hallway and living room, I used BM’s Pale Oak. I went through many samples until I found it. It’s perfect.
My next project is my office. I was leaning toward Decorator’s White, but I’ll see how Cloud White looks in there. It looks beautiful in your home.
It’s so true, colors are SO dependent on the room they are painted in! I’ve always loved Pale Oak, i didn’t use it but did sample it and it’s lovely!
good luck with your office – maybe Cloud White will be the winner!
Leah Wicks says
It’s hard to find well-informed people who really know paint so I’m so glad to have found this post!
Thanks so much!!
I’m so glad it helped!
Thanks for stopping by!
Lisa Blanz says
This was very helpful, thank you 🙂 what color do use for the trim when using White Dove and Cloud White on the walls?
Thanks Lisa – I’m so glad you found it helpful! I use Cloud White on all doors and trim, no matter what is on the walls. It’s my favorite white for trim!
Hope that helps!
Karin guthals says
Loved the colors you shared. What color do you use on your ceilings ?
Hi and thanks so much Karin! The ceilings are also Cloud White, but in flat. The walls are painted in eggshell.
Hope that helps!
Annie Diamond says
Sheila! I love that we both use Cloud White in our homes. I still think it’s the perfect white. But I agree 100% to buy samples…it’s worth the small investment. That’s how we came to determine on our current house…that Cloud White is still our favorite. I let my friend influence me and in a moment of rush decision…I went with Super White and it’s just too white for me!
Right?! Cloud White is SO perfect!! It’s truly my favorite and I have used A LOT of different whites!! I almost used Super White once and am so glad I didn’t! Hopefully you can re-paint it Cloud White!
Thanks so much for having me – this post was such fun!
Diane Gibson says
Hi Sheila, thanks for sharing your favorite whites! I’ve used several of them myself, in fact my living room is Shaker beige but I have just repainted the rest of the house Elmira white. It’s a nice soft neutral creamy white by Benjamin Moore.
I’m so glad you found it helpful! I know whites are tough for a lot of people so I’m happy to share what’s worked for me (and what hasn’t!)
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Barbara at Mantel and Table says
Hi Sheila – I love your favorites and descriptions. I’ve got several rooms – ok, the whole house! – that need to be repainted, so this series has come at the perfect time. Thanks for the great advice! I can see we’re going to have paint test spots everywhere soon! 🙂
Yes! Do your test spots for sure!! All four walls in each room, too. I’m glad this has helped – Good Luck!!
Daniele Talbot says
I painted all walls and ceilings in the entire house in White Dove. I have a lot of art work or framed pictures I’ve taken so White Dove makes the best backdrop. All doors, trim, moulding, and baseboards inside and outside are painted in a neutral Evening Dove, also a Benjamin Moore colour. It works beautifully. A lot of friends have asked me for the colours I’ve used.
Thanks so much for sharing your colors Daniele! I think White Dove is gorgeous on walls. I’ve never tried Evening Dove but now I’ll have to check it out!
Thank you for stopping by!
Carla Aston says
Love Cloud White,. White Dove and all your lovely neutrals here. Which paint color you used is always a top question, isn’t it? Great shares!
It definitely is Carla! And thank you so much – so glad you love those whites too! I feel like I don’t ever need another one!
cindy hattersley says
Thank you so much for joining us again! We definitely have a few of the same favorites. I haven’t used muslin but have tried it a few times. Love edgecomb gray, revere pewter and white dove! Always fun seeing your lovely home!
Thanks so much Cindy! And I’m so glad you love those too! It took me years to find the ones I really love.
Thanks so much for having me on board for this – such a great idea!
Mary Ann Pickett says
Great advice, Sheila (especially about the sun)…and I loved this home tour!!! That Revere Pewter at 50% looks amazing! Thanks for doing this with us!
Thanks so much Mary Ann! Glad you liked it! And I’m such a fan of the 50% Revere Pewter, I’m dying to put it somewhere else!!
Thank you again for having me – it was such a fun post to do!
Karen Mary says
Thanks for the super helpful post, Sheila! I no longer need to bring home 20 white paint swatches every time I paint a room. 🙂 When you say you use a color 50%, do you mean you mix it with white?
Hi Karen! So glad you stopped by and that it was helpful. When you get a color mixed at 50% strength (or 25%, or 75%) what that means is the store that’s mixing it calculates the exact measurement of only putting in 50% of the pigments evenly. They don’t just cut it with white as that would look different. This is the best way to get a lighter version of something you like. It will have the exact same tone that you love just lightened up a bit. You can go darker this way as well! Hope that helps!
Karen Mary says
Oh, yes, that makes perfect sense. I’m choosing whites for the entire downstairs of our home, and I’m limiting myself to your suggestions! Thanks for explaining the reduced pigment! Cheers!
You’re so welcome- I’m so glad you found it helpful! Good luck!