When it comes to painting your walls a pretty, neutral, and timeless color the options are pretty limitless. Trying to nail down a color that you love and then hoping that it will look the same on all four walls, all day/night as it did in the store or even on the swatch card is a fools errand. If you are super super picky and hate the thought of ever repainting, then paint it on four different pieces of paper and put them on four walls.
But, with all the walls that we have painted (and repainted) we have come up with a pretty good list of some of our favorites that we can trust and go to time and time again. So, for those of you that aren’t looking for anything too colorful here are some of our favorite and go-to neutral paint colors:
Ammonite by Farrow & Ball:
My current master bedroom (and family room) in the above pictures is painted this color and if you are looking for the softest, lightest gray that is so warm but not taupe yet then this is for you. I love how subtle the color is all while bringing some different hues into the home besides white.
Pavilion Gray by Farrow & Ball:
By far one of our favorite gray’s over here. Brady painted his living room this color and it served as the perfect backdrop to the other blacks, browns and neutrals that he brought in. It is a very soft gray that doesn’t feel too cool or too warm and really helps to brighten up a room. Scott also painted his master bedroom this color which looked beautiful. It is a very soft gray without going too dark but still being a distinct gray.
Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore:
This is still one of our favorite grays although we haven’t used it in a while. We painted the master bathroom/bedroom in our lake house project that color and I loved it in the space. It is slightly more brown than other grays, and yet sometimes looks green … which makes it warmer, but also in certain lights more like a pretty taupe than gray. It is a great medium toned gray, not to dark and not too light.
Super White by Benjamin Moore:
Our go-to white around here if you are looking for a modern clean color. It reflects light in such a pretty way and doesn’t have any cool tones that would it go blue or warm tones that would make it yellow. My old house was painted this color and when Brady redid his kitchen he chose to use this color to refresh the space. Its just really white.
Half Moon Crest by Benjamin Moore:
It’s really warm and yet feels like just a really good true gray. It doesn’t feel too blue or too brown so it is a soft happy color that can warm up a space. We painted our Commonwealth house foyer this color which you see above and it was such a happy little space.We also love sleigh bells which is the slightly lighter version on that same swatch card.
White Diamond by Benjamin Moore:
My old living living room on Commonwealth was painted this super cool white and I loved it for the space. I loved it because generally I’m more attracted to cool tones rather than warm tones and if you put it up to a true white it looked a little blue, but in person it just looked really white. So if you are looking for the perfect cool white then this is a great option for you as it doesn’t have any yellow or cream tones in it.
Blackened by Farrow & Ball:
Ginny painted her living room this color and it is a very soft white that has a slight hint of red/purple in it. It is very faint but gives just enough differentiation from white to make the moldings and details of a wall pop and give the room some warmth. This the perfect option if you are looking for a light color but aren’t into white, but be warned that it looked lavender in another project that we had to repaint. The light is different in different homes and how the sun comes into the house will reflect that. My stairways and entry are this color, too and I love it, I just didn’t like it in our living room.
White Dove by Benjamin Moore:
A very good white if you are looking for something with a little bit of warmth to it. It doesn’t have the bright tones of Super White or the cool undertones of White Diamond so it is the perfect warm white. We painted the Silver Lake Hill’s living room this color and it helped to feel more traditional rather than going to bright white and modern.
Just remember – these are our favorites and its a good jumping off point, but the tone of your floor could change the tone of the walls. Maybe you have a neighbors house that is pink which reflects through your windows. Just swatch it on a piece of watercolor paper (because its thick), then label them and stare at the for at least a few hours if not morning and night to make sure love it.
Have any of you tried some of these before and hate them? Or are there any others that you guys love and go back to time and time again? Let us know below and if you missed our other go-to paint colors be sure to check out our favorite non neutral paint colors here, our 10 non neutral go-to paint colors here, and our favorite pastel colors (for grown ups) here.
This is a great post! I was just thinking last week that I wish you would identify some of your favorite whites. I’m planning to paint the inside of my house and feel overwhelmed on the number of whites available.
Nice round up of white paint colours 🙂 I’ve painted most of my walls and ceilings in Swiss Coffee by BM and it’s such a soothing warm white that goes great with the other warm paint/fabric colours I’ve used throughout the house. If held up against a true white it does look on the yellow side but once on the walls it just looks white.
Yes to White Dove! I’m also a huge fan of “London Fog”. (Deeper gray.)
Love this post!
I painted my living room Benjamin Moore Simply White and loooooove it. When I saw the Super White above, I wondered what the difference was between it and my Simply White — and looked it up on BM’s website and didn’t see a Super White. Is is possible you meant Simply White?
Nope, they’re two different whites. Superwhite is my favorite – so clean and super super bright.
I LOVE my EH – I check it first thing before I even get out of bed in the morning. The lack of responses here this morning seems a clear indication others possibly feel the same as I do – left cold by another dose of recycled content. Yes, I understand that the new house is on embargo until September’s big reveal. Yes, I understand Emily is taking more family time right now. (Which as a working mom to a toddler I completely applaud and admire!) Yes, I understand that it’s summer so there’s lots of vacations going down.
However, as a loyal set of eyeballs your advertisers pay good money for, I can say I am again disappointed. I come for a daily dose of Emily’s personal voice and commentary, her family and home, wardrobe and style, and today left feeling like I didn’t get any of that. On a side note, all these photos have perhaps had the magic of photoshop adding additional light etc. How can I even trust the subtle wall color given that reality?
Sorry to be Debbie Downer, just had to share…
As someone mentioned in the comment thread the other day, you can’t really expect to come here every time and find a post that’s perfect for you. As the commenters above stated, this post was just what they needed today, as it was for me. In regards to being able to judge the quality of the colors from pics that are most likely touched up, I feel as though Emily did a great job describing the particular qualities of each color, in her voice. And let’s face it, you can’t cant even really judge a paint color from a paint chip that’s supposed to be an exact representation of the true color – the only way to really know how it’s gonna work in your space is to paint the wall/hang a large piece of paper painted in said color. Finally, I’m pretty sure if EHD’s advertisers are concerned about her content, they won’t be shy in letting her know ??
Julie is totally entitled to her opinion. I just wanted to say that I really love posts like this because, while they may not be the most exciting, they’re probably the most *useful* types of posts for when I’m tweaking my own home. I pin them or bookmark them for future reference. I say keep on with the roundups!
I totally agree! We’re almost finished painting our interiors, but we’ve been waffling on a bold color for one room, and Friday’s post was just the answer I needed. I’ll pin this neutrals one for another day.
Sorry Julie – I actually DO think you’re being a Debbie Downer, and quite unfair to boot. This is actually not “recycled content” – it’s a brand-new post that offers Emily’s valuable design advice, straight to your eyeballs via the magic of the internet, FOR FREE. It has taken time, effort, and thought. I think it’s unrealistic and a bit demanding to expect every day to be a brand new photos/reveals/wardrobe posts/etc.
Emily and team – keep doing what you’re doing! You are all wonderful at what you do.
Eh I mean it ~kind~ of is recycled content. Both her “Best Gray Paint by Ryan Gosling” and “Go-to Paint Colors” posts have these same colors. But those posts were YEARS ago and I might be the only one neurotic enough to remember them and look them up again and again
Ha. good memory 🙂 come back tomorrow for a big original post. People requested this one so we gave it to them. but stay tuned …. xx
I loved that Ryan Gosling post! I looked it up the other day when I was considering re painting the dining room. Emily, I love the educational/informative posts. They’re like gold nuggets I keep stashed away as I work on my own house.
I also want to add that if you truly love your EH, why are you being so unfairly critical? I also love my EH–this is hands down my favorite blog and I can’t imagine leaving a comment like this one. Not every post is going to be a home run for you. Instead of taking it so personally, you should probably just accept it and move on. Skim the post and come back tomorrow. It’s not that big of a deal! Content that speaks to you will inevitably return soon! The EH team have proven themselves again and again that they create incredibly beautiful high-quality content. In the meantime, read some other blogs to get your fill of what you’re looking for. Stop expecting one blog to meet your exceptionally high standards of what you think is engaging content. (However, if you think you’ll find other blogs that are as consistently high quality as EH is, you’re in for a surprise). Here’s some other blogs you might want to check out: Chris Loves Julia, Yellow Brick Home, Manhattan Nest, The Gold Hive, Room For Tuesday, Hither and Thither. There is loads of content on the internet waiting to be discovered… Read more »
Julie’s post was neither unfair nor unkind: she started with how much she enjoys this blog and ended on a supportive, empathic note.
Since this blog is a business for EHD, I am sure they welcome and rely on feedback so they can both retain and recruit the highest number of unique visitors, especially when the feedback is so gently couched (as it was here). No one’s feelings were hurt.
Thank you! And such a constructive response with great blogs that you are leading them to. Thank you thank you. And I know people have high expectations and that isn’t a bad thing – although feeling like you are disappointing people all the time is a bummer. Lots of stuff is changing, folks. Hopefully for the better 🙂
Not the PP but thanks for the suggestions!
I needed this. I am repainting my home and I am lost with so many options of white. One thing EHD keeps in mind is that the audience is in all stages of life. I am a single 30 year old male: A lot of the fashion and family does not apply to me, but having information to update my first home does.
Hey Julie, I totally get it and your comment is constructive and positive. All constructive criticism is welcome here, suggestions oh and positive comments, too. We are not longer accepting hateful comments (especially in the person realm) and will be deleting them immediately (hopefully before I can see them). I’ll explain later but some shit went down …… 🙂
Yay! So glad you’re taking this step for yourself, all the people the work with you, and your readers
Thank you for not putting any sort of beige on here XP Grays and whites all the way!
Noooo, I wish there were more than 10 so we could have gotten a few warmer toned options as well. Have Blackened going through loads of my house and love it but would have liked some cream or taupe-y recommendations too for some cold, north-facing rooms in my house ❄️
I also struggled with a huge north-facing living/dining room and absolutely love Farrow & Ball’s Tallow. It looks like melted french vanilla ice cream, and is truly a beautiful color that makes the cold room feel warm. I also tried F&B’s Dimity, but it was a bit too red. Maybe try those and see what you think?
Hey Emily, could you advise on when to use warm vs cool white in terms of how much natural light a room gets? I have a south facing living room with a wall of windows, but lots of shade from tall trees, and the room could use some brightening. I’ve read before that painting a dark-ish room the wrong white can make it look/feel darker/smaller and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Incidentally, my decor style falls between modern and traditional.Thank you 🙂
I agree. This would be nice. My house is almost completely shaded and does get a lot of light inside. I bought it with SW “On the Rocks” painted throughout. It’s a good gray, but feels cold and dull. I need colors to liven it up. I really like the “Super White” color…just wondering which color it translates to SW.
Josh: Be careful of trying to match a color into a different paint brand! I have stopped doing that all together after my painter color-matched my Ben Moore gray into a golden toned SW for my entire exterior. Did not have the heart to make him re-do and endure it to this day. They just can’t match the subtle undertones! You are better off finding a color you like in the offerings of the brand you want to use!
Yes to this! We have a very similar layout in our guest bedroom and master bedroom (they lie opposite our deck). The guest room gets ALL the sunlight. And our mater doesn’t. Which is fine for sleeping. But we need to paint them – do I paint the sunlit room dark? Or light? Or the dark room light or dark?
First, this collection of whites will definitely be a point of reference for me in the future. This, along with the “don’t paint dark rooms white” post—I can’t even tell you how many people I have forwarded that to. Thank you!
One thing I struggle with is knowing when to go warm versus cool with whites and grays. I’ve seen the exact gray used in two friends’ houses and it looked completely different in their spaces (it read very light warm gray in one, medium neutral gray in the other). Obviously painting samples is crucial, but how do you interpret your natural light situation and make an informed selection in the first place?
Another challenge for me is wood trim. Your tastes seem to lean heavily toward the white trim end of the spectrum, but what advice would you give to someone with stained wood trim who wants a neutral wall? Especially dark craftsman-style trim—is white too harsh in terms of contrast? Would your “don’t paint dark rooms white” post be a better point of reference? Thanks!
Thank you for this list! I used White Diamond based on your previous recommendation on the blog, and it is my favorite white–not warm at all, and pops on moldings in particular. I’ve also used Benjamin Moore Pure White, which is, ironically, a blue-green-toned super pale grey. Looks completely different depending on the room and lighting situation, but I’m a fan.
Thanks so much! SUPER helpful!
Love the colors 🙂 may I ask what color you use for the baseboards and crown molding? Btw, I love love how you dress! 🙂
We used Benjamin Moore “Decorator’s White” for the entire inside of our home and love that it is a true soft white that doesn’t go blue or yellow. For the exterior we went with BM “Simply White”. Get complements on it all the time.
So just curious, if you happen to have textured walls will super white just look lame? Are you better off with Dove White?
Love this post! I need to paint my whole house and this is very helpful (moving in). One question – what white do you typically use for trim?
Do you have any suggestions for cream colors? I’m in desperate need! Thanks for all of your posts!
You’ll really need to try different colors in your room(s) to see which works best.
When we lived in San Francisco, CA, BM’s Mayonnaise was my go-to gorgeous rich cream. When we moved to the Rocky Mountains that same color looked gray, lifeless, dirty. Up here my go-to is Calming Cream which looks as if it should be yellow bit nope, it is the prettiest, richest, yummiest full-fat cream.
For the white colors (especially the warm whites like White Dove), do you use the same color on the trim? Does that mean that you use white dove on the trim throughout the house? That snowball effect has been my only hold up for using white on my walls!
I have the same question!
We don’t have White Dove as a wall color, but we have used it on all the trim in our house and on the cabinets in our kitchen. However, our sink and backsplash tile are a slightly cooler white, and I think they complement each other well. So, I guess I would say you could do either, but Emily would probably know better!
Ha. I agree! You can do either. Sometimes the subtle difference is really nice and other times it can be nice to have a stark white as the trim color. Its only bad when you have a really yellow white with a really cool one as the yellow one looks dirty and the cool one can look blue or purple. I have ammonite next to blackened next to strong white and its just slight shifts of tone that totally work and I love it. But it can be a little hard if the light does different things.
WAIT. you guys – read Victoria’s comment below. She did white dove with super white and white dove looks yellow.. so maybe just don’t risk it .and do white dove on the trim, too.
I have Dove White in my living/dining room in south and west-facing light and we chose Decorator’s White as the trim color in semi gloss, and it looks fantastic! I wouldn’t put Dove White on the trim if the walls are also that color. The Decorator’s White is a much whiter/bluer white and it nicely contrasts with the Dove White, showing off that Dove White is ever so slightly warm and creamy. Just my 2 cents : )
I just painted most of my house – ceilings, walls, and trim – in BM’s Dove White. My house doesn’t have great architectural details (it was built in 1978), so I didn’t want to draw attention to the trim or the low-ish ceilings. By keeping it monochrome the eye doesn’t stop at the trim, but instead keeps going to the views outside or the art or the pretty rug. The single color makes for a simple, bright space and I love the way it looks!
Thanks for the round up! I love that there’s one post of all your beloved neutrals, it’ll save me time the next time I want to paint and can’t decide.
I painted a couple of room White Dove and was super disappointed after having read so many glowing reviews of the color. Eventually I figured out the problem was that I paired it with Super White for the Ceiling and trim. Do not do this! It makes the White Dove… not white. I’m planning to repaint the ceiling when I get the chance. The color is indeed lovely but it can not be next to a true white if you don’t want it to look very cream.
Crazy!! White dove at my house reads very grey! Had to go with BM chattily lace to get a warm white.
Thank you for posting this Emily- greys can be so tricky as I’ve come to find out (picking up and trying out sample after sample after sample). I’m happily keeping this list to help me with future projects. And I wholeheartedly love White Dove?! I just recently painted my whole house with it.
What about Decorator’s White? I know I’ve heard you reference that before, and I just no-brained that as a ceiling color when I needed to pick something to use over drywall repair we were having done. I wish I’d seen this post before then, though; oh well!
Thank you for this post – I’m currently trying to decide if I’m going to paint my living area grey owl 50% or one of the many BM whites.
Question: what is the go to for the trim and ceilings? I’m always confused on this.
Does anyone know the rule for this?
I haven’t painted my ceilings yet, but I always just use a can of pure untinted white for my trim. Is that weird?! Am I the only one who does this? I’ve never had a problem with anything looking too blue or too yellow with that strategy.
that is a great strategy. I think that is basically what super white from BM is, too. Just like, really really totally white 🙂
Bethany, that’s what I did too. I agonized over the perfect white for my upstairs hallway, but for the trim downstairs I just got untinted white. Frankly, I love it.
Oh good post! I’m obsessed with Benjamin Moore Pebble Beach. We used it in our apartment bathroom But planning to use it in the main living area of our new house.
In 2014 we painted our entire downstairs Super White by Benjamin Moore, and I remember I got the recommendation for it from an old post of yours. 3 years later, it’s going strong, and I still love it! Glad to know it’s still a go-to for you, and a belated thanks for turning me onto it way back when.
ah, thank you and you’re welcome. xx
Thanks for this post! I know you’ve rounded up your fave neutral paints in the past, but it’s been a long time and it’s good to hear about what still tops your list. I have White Dove in my living/dining room and love it. I think it helps that it’s a south-facing room that gets a ton of natural light. I am drawn toward the super white “California modern” style but realized that wasn’t right for my east-coast 1953 rambler, but White Dove is perfect. I’ve got Grey Owl in the bedroom too, which is dark and it can read kind of blue in the morning light (south and east facing windows), but I still love it.
THANK YOU ! ! !
I have white dove in my kitchen and family room area and super white in my foyer/stairway. White dove in my kitchen tends to look green sometimes on certain walls .. you are correct the lighting in each house and in each room is different… I paint interiors for a living so I don’t feel like repainting it right now! And just to add …My favorite black color is tricorn black by sherwin williams
Thank you for this post, Emily! Picking paint colors is very daunting, and so I really appreciate this roundup.
In a future post, it would be awesome if you could talk details such as (1) what is your go-to ceiling paint color and (2) exactly how floor color impacts paint color on walls. Just getting some examples & anecdotes from actual rooms you’ve designed would be fascinating and useful. These Qs always come up, but most “fave/best paint color” posts don’t address them. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Keep doing what you’re doing… you’re amazing!
That is a good idea. xx
I would really like to hear how floor color affects things as well! Especially because we’re Manhattan renters (still painting!) and will probably long have yellowish wood floors…
I’ve used BM Revere Pewter a few times with good results. It’s a grey, but not terribly dark. And White Dove is a good one, I’m just burnt out on it a little.
When it comes to colors, something to keep in my new: REFLECTIONS! My neighbor’s house is terra cotta so the walls in every room on that side of the house looks peach or pink during daytime. Also, neighbors down the street just painted the 2-story exterior of their house a dark, almost forest green — a lovely color. The bottom floor exterior looks decidedly lighter green on one side due to the reflection of a yellowish beige colored house next door. Trees and grass outside can make white walls inside look green. So reflections are just one more thing to keep in mind — and mandate putting up samples of paint colors on all walls to make sure before you forge ahead.
I painted my living/dining/kitchen/hallway/entryway gray owl based on your HYSTERICAL but helpful Ryan Gosling gray paint post and 4 years later I still love it. Isn’t it nice when you don’t tire of a paint color? Thanks!!
I need to have all of my ceilings painted. Looking for a solid basic color for all, any suggestions? I would say our style leans toward traditional and all our trim work is white dove. We don’t have any crown moulding. Finally, our main floor has no southern facing windows – which is seriously ridiculous – but leaves me feeling our home is on the dark side.
Thank you in advance. Love your blog.
Could you please ask Tessa Neustadt to write a post about how to take gorgeous interior & design photos? I would love her tips- her shots are fantastic! Thanks!
I like this idea!
I used Cotton Blossom by Behr on all the walls in my home. We don’t get great natural light so this was really difficult for me, but I love how it came out. It is on the warm side without being too yellow. Because of the lack of natural light, anything too cool seemed sterile.
This decor is top notch. Really like the colors used and the mix of bold and simple pieces. The wooden chair is a definite fave!
This is a terrific round up! I’m planning a move in the near future and will be painting multiple rooms of pale yellow to a more neutral whitish color. Your suggestions will give me a good springboard for experimentation.
While I’m likely an outlier reader here since I’m pushing sixty, a suburban East Coaster with adult children, I enjoy the variety of your content and look forward to reading your blog whether it’s applicable to me or not. Thank you and your team!
Great post Emily, have enjoyed both post on neutral and non neutral paint colors.
I’m about to paint a room white and after much sampling, leaning towards BM moonlight white. It’s not a bright white, I’d say it’s most similar to BM Swiss coffee, and less creamy than white dove. It’s often recommended (Anna at Door16, Darryl Carter, and tons of other folks on the interwebs).
Wowwww, how beautiful. And relaxed and no ironing. In love!…
This is soooo useful for me. Just curious if you would use the same paint in a north eastern light, like NYC (I live in Pennsyvania). Your California light is just so clear and bright, wondering if these colors would work in an overcast environment……
Pavilion Gray isn’t a BM color. Do you know where its from?
It’s by Farrow & Ball. I know this because I just left my Benjamin Moore store looking for theatre color based on this blog post. It looks like the perfect gray for me! The Benjamin Moore employee was kind enough to look it up for me.
That exact color, not theatre color 🙂
I love this round up! Do you have any recommendations for a white / lighter colour that looks good and modern in a house that doesn’t get much natural light? With a slate floor and timber ceiling (which I’m not allowed to paint white), I’m quite concerned about reinforcing dingy, dark shadows.
Hi Emily! I so could have used this post a couple of years ago – the last thing a stressed-out first-time homebuyer needs is a neurotic breakdown over the subtleties of white paints. Thanks for posting!
I’m doing a “budget” (ha) kitchen overhaul and I keep getting stuck on finishes. My walls and ceiling are Sherwin Williams Pure White, I’m ripping out the vomit-colored granite for a white quartz, and the last detail is the cabinet color. A soft grey sounds so pretty, but my floors are an orangey hardwood and I have lots of warm tones (a la Mel’s place, basically), so grey seems wrong. Is it too sterile to opt for white countertops, white cabinetry, and white walls?
Thanks for this roundup! I have painted all my walls in our new house using your blog as inspiration! My next request… painted exterior colors! Specifically painted brick thrown in there. We have to paint our brick for an addition and I’m at a total loss.
so in love with this apartment as a whole. nice round up of white paint colours. I don’t even know why but white makes me feel appreciated sometimes..
Great post, just what I needed as I debate paint colors. Anyone have a very light grey for cabinets they recommend?
I found Aloof Grey because of you and LOVE it. I’ve recommended it to other trying to find the perfect grey and they’ve used it too!
Perfect timing! We’re in the market for a new place and found one we like but what terrible wall colors. I’ve been dreading searching for a easy neutral color than can go on every main floor wall until could live in it for a while and find the house’s vibe. thank you!!!!
This is super helpful! Would love to hear your recommendations for neutral paint colors for a room with natural wood trim!
I painted my sons nursery Super White after your recommendation a couple years ago. I absolutely LOVED it and still do so I painted my twins nursery the same when they came along last year
I do have a question though. When using Super White I noticed it is an even brighter white than our builder trim and doors so we re-painted those inside the nurseries Super White as well. I am contemplating painting my whole house Super White. What trim color would you suggest since all of that will have to be repainted as to not clash with the Super White? Just paint it all Super White or is a warmer color like White dove better for a whole house? I have a mix of a lot of antique wood and brass in my decor.
As usual you come through when I am having a design dilemma, thank you!!