Interior Designers Call These the "Best Neutral Paint Colors"

Gabrielle Savoie
PHOTO:

Courtesy of BHDM

Choosing the perfect neutral paint color is an overwhelming process. How can you tell the difference between one beige and the next? How do you know if your favorite gray paint color will have cool or warm undertones? Realistically, the best way to know is to try the color on your walls—something that's not always the easiest thing to reverse. So to help inform your next neutral paint color decisions, we asked three interior designers to share their favorite white paint colors, as well as their favorite warm neutrals and cool neutrals. Overwhelmingly, they all picked the same white paint color: Benjamin Moore's Super White.

Unless you elect for a true white paint color, most other neutrals will have some undertones of red, yellow, green, or blue that creates either a sense of warmness or coolness. Warm colors—hues from red to yellow (browns and tans included)—advance toward the eye and appear more active. By contrast, cool colors—hues from blue-green to blue-violet (most grays included)—appear to recede. As a result, warm colors have a stimulating effect, while cool colors tend to be calming and relaxing. Paints with warm pigments are ideal for communal spaces, workspaces, or entertaining spaces where you and your guests want to remain alert and keep the conversation lively. If you're looking for a shade that's light but still bright, versatile, and engaging, a warm neutral is your ticket. Put down those swatch books, and coat your walls with one of these beauties—they'll complement colorful artwork, accessories, and fabrics.

Which neutral paint colors have you used in your home? What do you love about them? Share the names of your favorite swatches with us!

This story was originally published by Julia Millay-Walsh on March 5th, 2014. It was updated by Gabrielle Savoie.

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