20 Designer-Approved Calming Paint Colors to Try at Home

calming colors

DESIGN: CORTNEY BISHOP, PHOTO: KATIE CHARLOTTE 

Calm seems to be in short supply these days. From the endless news cycle to the incessant ping of email and text alerts, stress is just a part of our every waking hour. But if you're looking for ways to channel some serenity, color therapy is one of our favorite ways to feel a little more relaxed at home—and, serendipitously, it's also one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform a room, thanks to the kaleidoscopic array of paints available at your local hardware store.

Ready to take the plunge and give your home a calming color makeover? Take a cue from some of our favorite designers. Whether you're looking for the ultimate shade of white—warm or cool—or ready to try something more statement-making like a seaside-esque blue or a purple hue inspired by aromatherapy, we've rounded up the chic, calming shades that top interior designers return to again and again to breathe new life into their clients' homes.

Read on to find the perfect shade to make your home into a relaxing retreat. See? You're feeling calmer already.

01 of 20

Dunn Edwards Crystal Haze

calming colors

 Design: Design Works, Photo: Ryan Garvin

"The paint color is what sets the stage for the entire feel of a room," explains designer Robin Strickler of Design Works. "Crystal Haze from Dunn Edwards is our number one go-to for the main body of the home." Strickler loves it for its versatility above all: "This color is a chameleon, in that it works with both cool and warm hues. It makes grays feel warmer and tans feel cooler," she explains—sort of like a magic trick. As far as neutrals go, it's one of the best.

calming colors
Dunn Edwards Crystal Haze Paint Sample $5
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02 of 20

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray

calming colors

Design: Design Works, Photo: Ryan Garvin

As the name rightly suggests, "Agreeable Gray" is another versatile pick that makes the (often intimidating) task of picking a neutral much simpler. "It's a soft hue that's not too cool, and it pairs nicely with both lights and darks," Strickler notes. "We love to use this color in a master bedroom or in a home office, as it offers a subtle contrast with many different wood tones."

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Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray $60
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03 of 20

Sherwin Williams Bright White

calming colors

Design: Design Works, Photo: Hugo Landa Photography

When it comes to whites, this one is a classic. "It's crisp without feeling stark, and works beautifully with all stain finishes to give an organic and soothing feel to any room," Strickler says. Its slightly cool tone makes it feel more modern and fresh.

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Sherwin Williams Bright White $60
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04 of 20

Portola Paints Fade To Black

calming colors

Design: Stefani Stein, Photo: Jenna Peffley

If white isn't your jam, there's no reason to fret. LA-based designer Stefani Stein uses darker hues with textural treatments to create a warmer, more welcoming feel. "One of my all-time favorites is Portola Paints and Glazes' 'Fade to Black’ Roman Clay," she explains. She suggests pairing it with "softer hues and inviting textures" to round out the look and add an element of coziness.

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Portola Paints Fade To Black $Price upon request
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05 of 20

Benjamin Moore Steep Cliff Gray

calming colors

Design: Lauren Nelson Design, Photo: Thomas Story for Sunset Magazine 

A rich blue-grey is the perfect way to create a soothing atmosphere without settling for true neutrals. "I like to use a bold but muted color that provides warmth and draws the eye," says designer Lauren Nelson. "The color pairs well with the more neutral patterns at play in this space and makes them really pop," she says. We love how much character this neutral-adjacent hue imbues into the space.

calming colors
Benjamin Moore Steep Cliff Gray $43
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06 of 20

Benjamin Moore Simply White

calming colors

Design: Lauren Nelson Design, Photo: Erin Kunkel for Lonny

Multiple designers cited "Simply White" as a favorite, making it a tried-and-true pick among those in the know. "It's a favorite white of ours—it's clean and bright, but also has a softness to it," says Nelson. A bonus tip: because of its subtle warmth, Nelson says this hue "works especially well in rooms that don't get a lot of direct sunlight"—a good bit of intel for brightening up windowless spaces.

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Benjamin Moore Simply White $43
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07 of 20

Benjamin Moore Crystal Springs

calming colors

Design: Kevin Isbell, Photo: Jonny Valiant

“It can be challenging to find a color that is calming, and yet remains a recognizable color," admits Kevin Isbell of Kevin Isbell Interiors. So naturally, when he came across "Crystal Springs", it was love at first sight. "It’s a powdery blue that has a hint of green in certain lights," he explains. "It pairs well with other colors, such as teal, celery and marigold as demonstrated in this inviting guest bedroom—It's colorful and yet soothing.” We love how this bright, invigorating shade is a little out-of-the-ordinary but still easy to work with.

calming colors
Benjamin Moore Crystal Springs $43
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08 of 20

Benjamin Moore Palace White

calming colors

 Design: Charlie Hellstern Interior Design, Photo: Haris Kenjar

Another designer-approved tip for striking the perfect color balance in your home: don't be afraid to improvise a little. "For this project, we cut the recipe in half so that we could keep each space light and bright," explains Pacific Northwest designer Charlie Hellstern. "For clients with this French Provincial home, choosing a soft white that wouldn’t compete with their art collection was imperative," she explains. "We love how soft palace white can be."

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Benjamin Moore Palace White $43
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09 of 20

Benjamin Moore Celery Salt

calming colors

 Design: Kevin Isbell, Photo: Jonny Valiant

Another non-boring neutral we appreciate for its unexpected nature: "Celery Salt," which Kevin Isbell describes as "a soothing pale yellow-green that plays well with lots of other colors." While it definitely has character of its own, it's not overbearing. "It’s the perfect backdrop that helps keep other colors from overpowering a room." he explains.

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Benjamin Moore Celery Salt $43
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10 of 20

Farrow & Ball Treron

calming colors

Design: Cortney Bishop, Photo: Katie Charlotte 

Looking for a soothing shade that also speaks volumes? Charleston-based designer Cortney Bishop favors "Treron", a shade that she says "does have a bit of a traditional feel, but is perfect for a home that also has some natural materials in need of a neutral, yet colorful contrast." She notes that this paint's personality is easy to get along with: "It has a bit of a vintage vibe that says, 'I’m not complicated, there’s nothing fussy about me… I’m here to keep the peace'."

calming colors
Farrow & Ball Treron $110
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11 of 20

Benjamin Moore White Dove

calming colors

 Design: Cortney Bishop, Photo: Katie Charlotte

"If you’re looking for an allover white for the majority of your home that feels serene, White Dove might just be the ticket... especially if you’re seeking a softness and more of a calming off-white that does not read stark or too creamy," Bishop recommends. "That balance of warmth and coolness makes it one of our studio’s favorites."

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Benjamin Moore White Dove $43
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12 of 20

Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray

calming colors

Design: Cortney Bishop, Photo: Katie Charlotte 

Another dreamy neutral that Bishop adores, "Amazing Gray" is a muted hue that does it all. "It’s become one of my favorites," she admits. "Its warmer undertones still make a statement, but don't feel incredibly overpowering. Painting your walls this color will still read depth, while offering soft sophistication all in one!" (What more could you possibly want?)

calming colors
Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray $60
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13 of 20

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground

calming colors

 Design: Liz Caan, Photo: Eric Roth Photography

Willing to go outside the ordinary with your paint picks? Designer Liz Caan has just the thing. "A calming color that I love to recommend when a client is willing to try something new and isn't afraid to embrace color is Farrow & Ball Pink Ground," she says. "I, personally, am a huge fan of pink and love the lightness of this particular color. It’s soft, warm and tender—and it honestly looks great with any color." Though pink walls may be a hard sell for some, it's easy to see just how versatile this hue actually is when it's on the walls. "It can be sophisticated but also very youthful. I particularly love it with a great red and conversely with a deep emerald green," Caan suggests.

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Farrow & Ball Pink Ground $110
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14 of 20

Farrow & Ball Brassica

calming colors

Design: Timothy Brown Studio, Photo: Joshua McHugh

Another pick that's not for the faint of heart: this stunning but surprisingly serene hue from Farrow & Ball. "I tend to lean towards cooler shades and hues when suggesting a calming paint color to a client," explains designer Timothy Brown. "This deep and rich color resembles that of lavender—the flowering plant known to help the reduction of stress and anxiety. I'm always finding ways to add this color to a room, whether it be through the paint on the walls, the addition of a throw pillow, or within the art in the room," he says.

calming colors
Farrow & Ball Brassica $125
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15 of 20

Clare Paint Irony

calming colors

Design: Megan Wright, Photo: Yellow Trip

"I frequently find myself gravitating towards grey-based colors when selecting paint," says Decorist Designer Megan Wright. "I think it’s because it's a perfect 'non-color' color, and typically grounds the design so well without competing with anything else." She favors Clare's warm, cozy deep grey for its calming effects. "It allows products to shine while creating the perfect serene backdrop. A silent hero, if you will!"

calming colors
Clare Irony $54
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16 of 20

Benjamin Moore Pecos Spice

calming colors

 Design: Megan Wright, Photo: Sonder Stays

A trendy pick we can all get behind, "Pecos Spice" may remind you of the desert-chic aesthetic that's become so big lately. "I’m a sucker for an earth-toned paint color," admits Wright. "There's just something about a color you would find in your natural surroundings that makes you feel at home!"

calming colors
Benjamin Moore Pecos Spice $43
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17 of 20

Kelly Moore Sea Pine

calming colors

Design: Lauren Martin, Photo: Elizabeth DeVoe

Just gazing at this muted, serene shade for a few minutes is enough to make anyone feel a little more relaxed. For Decorist designer Lauren Martin, founder of Los Angeles studio LMDA, the hue is reminiscent of scenic forest views. "This master bedroom is located on the second floor of a house with lovely treetop views, so we wanted to envelope the room in comfort and echo the natural outdoor surroundings," she explains. Sea Pine served as the perfect "grounding color to anchor the room while subtly highlighting the neutral colors found in the larger furnishings," she says.

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Kelly Moore Sea Pine $57
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18 of 20

Sherwin Williams Halcyon Green

calming colors

Design: Casa Nolita

Another soft grey-green that feels unmistakably calming, this hue from Sherwin Williams is a favorite of Decorist designer Jessie Yoon of Casa Nolita—a designer who often returns to muted hues when crafting her spaces. "Don't be afraid of pastel colors with low saturation for walls!" she advises. "They look soothing, and easily complement other accent colors."

calming colors
Sherwin Williams Halcyon Green $60
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19 of 20

Benjamin Moore Space Black

calming colors

Design: Casa Nolita

Yoon's other go-to hue takes on a more dramatic flavor, so she advises using it sparingly to create a relaxing effect without overpowering the space. "A dark grey accent wall always helps to make a room feel grounded and cozy," she explains.

calming colors
Benjamin Moore Space Black $43
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20 of 20

Farrow & Ball Wimborne White

calming colors

 Design: Gachot, Photo: Nicole Franzen

"There are probably millions of different white paints you could buy, but the effect from one shade to another can be staggering," explains Christine Gachot of Gachot Studios. While the number of white paints on the market can seem downright intimidating, finding the right one is essential to achieving the right feel in your space. "When we want to imbue a space with serenity and comfort, we always turn to Farrow and Ball's Whimborne white. It’s a deep, neutral tone that doesn't veer too red or too yellow. It isn’t cold or sterile either, which is the last thing you want in your home," she notes.

calming colors
Farrow & Ball Whimborne White $110
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