Have you ever stood in front of the paint display at the hardware store—trying your best to find the best white paint for your kitchen—only to realize they all look the same to you? To the naked eye, 50 shades of beige can look more or less identical. But to discerning interior designers who spend their days looking at paint swatches, each individual neutral paint color has different undertones, qualities, and purposes. Ask any designer which color they would use on a ceiling, kitchen cabinets, or bedroom walls, and they will have very precise answers to give you. The color attributes that they look for from one space to the next may be totally different. To find out once and for all what are the best whites, grays, and beiges, we asked four renowned interior designers—Shea McGee, Robert Passal, Gideon Mendelson, and Jay Jeffers—to share their favorite tried-and-trusted neutral paint colors with us. Order some sample pots—these neutrals are too good to pass up.
For a bedroom, consider looking for a color that will transition from day to night, but for trims, you may want a color that will highlight architectural details.
Read on for the best neutral paint colors, according to designers.
Benjamin Moore Simply White
“It’s difficult to find a white that doesn’t feel too cold or too yellow—this is the perfect soft white and works with any décor style.” — Shea McGee
Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
“This is my go-to for trim and paneling when I’m trying to achieve a cooler tone. It pairs perfectly with black. It’s definitely white but never looks unfinished.” — Gideon Mendelson
Farrow & Ball Skimming Stone
“This has just the right hint of gray, creating the perfect backdrop for a room with hits of vivid color.” — Robert Passal
Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
“Just like good fashion, this color can go from day to night with ease.” — Jay Jeffers