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My 10 Go-To Paint Colors

Favourite Neutral Paints

I feel like in the last 4 years I’ve painted walls hundreds of different colors, often liking, sometimes loving them and often, well, not liking them at all. WHOOPS. Paint colors are EXTREMELY tricky and act differently depending on the time of the day, the furniture that is in the space, the light, the tone of the wood, the traffic outside (kidding . . . or maybe not), etc. So while I still try, every single job, to embrace new colors there are some that I know I can rely on; that no matter what won’t fail me.

Here they are:

1. Half Moon Crest, Benjamin Moore

emily foyer
Photo by Tessa Neustadt

I think this might be my favorite gray right now. It’s really warm and yet feels like just a really good true gray. It doesn’t feel too blue or too brown. It’s like a big warm hug.

To see more of my foyer head over HERE

2. Teresa’s Green, Farrow & Ball

Photo by Mike Kelley

For a “mint” it is really easy on the eyes. I’ve done many aquas and some of them I’ve liked, and some of them I’ve wished they were more muted. But this green is super soft, and yet not sage-y at all. It doesn’t hurt that there is a ton of natural light in this space, but I just love it.

To check out this room in all its glory click HERE

3. Oystershell, Benjamin Moore

Boys Room lake house
Photo by Bjorn Wallander

This was in my old bedroom and office as well as the lake house twins room. It’s really light but has a lot of blue and green in it so its subtle and quiet but has a nice tone.  To see more of the lake house I did for the Harner’s click HERE.

4. Hague Blue, Farrow and Ball

scotts office
Photo by Tessa Neustadt

Its hands down the best navy blue on the planet. It has the most perfect amount of green in it, so it’s not purple-y. I’ve used it three or four times now, and love it every time. It can be really dark if there is no light on it, and much lighter if there is. It’s just deep, and intense, and modern, and yet totally classic.

To get more info on these DIY wall organizers click HERE.

5. Quartz Stone, Benjamin Moore

loreys kids room
Photo by David Tsay

This aqua is crazy happy. I’ve used it twice now, both in kids rooms, and it works if you have a lot of light and if you have a playful spirit. It’s not a sophisticated color, but it is bright, young and soft enough on your eyes.

To see more of this room click HERE, and to see the full tour of the house head over HERE.

6. Aloof Gray, Sherwin Williams

Curbly Living Room
Photo by Melissa Oholendt

Aloof gray has a teeny tiny more green in it, so it’s slightly cooler, but I really loved how it turned out in the Curbly’s home. Also I miss that family.

To see more of the Curbly’s House head over HERE

7. Benjamin Moore, White Diamond

Emily's Commonwealth Living Room
Photo by Zeke Ruelas

You can’t really tell but this white (white diamond) is really cool. I loved it because generally I’m more attracted to cool tones rather than warm tones. If you put it up to a true white it looked CRAZY blue, but in person it just looked really white.

To see more of my old house, click HERE.

8. Gray Owl, Benjamin Moore

lake house bathroom - grey owl
Photo by Bjorn Wallander

This is still one of my favorite grays, although it’s slightly more brown than Half Moon Crest, which makes it warmer, but also in certain lights more like taupe than gray. But it’s so warm and pretty. And it’s the prefect medium tone – not too light but not too dark.

To see more of the Lake House click HERE

9. November Rain, Benjamin Moore

Emily's Old Living Room
Photo by Teri Lyn Fisher

Now this color (November Rain – Benjamin Moore) is very tricky. I love it because it changes a lot – sometimes it’s blue, sometimes it’s green, often it’s beige, often it’s taupe, but it’s really really pretty and sophisticated. Scott also painted his Brooklyn apartment this color (excuse the small links . . . MAN I hate linking to old posts if the pictures aren’t resized).

10. Benjamin Moore, Super Bright White

Emily's Dining Room
Photo by Tessa Neustadt

So right now I’m rocking this BM super bright white color. It’s just white. So simple, clean, serene, bright, and basically has no tone to it. Now I need to fill those walls with a TON of art.

To see some of the progress of my current house, click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE!

Those are my go-to’s. But it’s time for me to explore and start adding to my favorite list. So what are your favorite go-to paint colors?

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  1. Hey Emily! Reading your article and showing the picture I just say’s you the one word… it’s really very good. Specially combination of the color is really very fantastic.

    1. Can you recommend a color(s) for a basement room that gets almost no natural light? (1 small window in one area and the remaking part of the space gets no light.
      Thank you

  2. Glad you have shared this wonderful ideas that one should know before painting any spaces. It looks like a lot of information. Thank you for your insights.

  3. I really love your work Emily. I need some advice on my new floors and wall color options.. HELP

  4. Can you recommend 3 different gray colors for 3 open concept rooms – master bedroom, living area, and den? thanks!

  5. So pleased that you shared this with us! Finally, I find out YOUR favorite navy blue!! Do you have a runner up? We want to paint our bedroom navy but I just can’t seem to find the right shade that makes it dark & dramatic yet modern against white. Any other options would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  6. This is really helpful post for us on painting color .

  7. Hi Emily! I just started following your IG and blog and I’m a big fan! I’m wondering if you can share your favorite black/very dark grey paint. We’re adding a second story and I’d like a (ish) matte vanity. Do you have a favorite paint color you’d recommend?

  8. I really, really love Benjamin Moore’s Sea Pine. It’s the perfect earthy/smokey coastal deep blue-green, IMO. I live on the coast in the Pacific Northwest so it jives with what’s out my window… Used it in the entryway of my last house and am about to paint the guest half-bath in my new house with the rest of my gallon because I just cannot be parted from the color. Otherwise I’m a light and warm paint color kinda girl, and design with lots of greens and blues and black with burnt orange and pale yellow for accents, along with plenty of wood tones and hits of white. Sea Pine coordinated nicely with these.

  9. We recently bought a large house that’s really open and we painted the whole thing, including trim – with the exception of a couple of bedrooms – Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. I was nervous about it but I absolutely love it. It brightened up the whole house and it is very crisp. I was worried that it would look contractor white but it’s really gorgeous. Grey Owl is also a favorite of mine as well and SW Manchester Tan taken down to 3/4 or 1/2 is also a go to.

  10. Hi Emily. I LOVE your style. Simply stunning. I have a question for you in your experience with Hague Blue; I am painting my bottom kitchen cabinets in Hague and want a crisp bright white for the upper cabinets and shelves. Do you suggest a good bright clean white to compliment? I am going a little mad trying to figure it out myself.

    Thank you!

  11. I love this room. I found this blog and decided to paint my daughter’s room the same color. I am wondering where you found the bedspread? I have no idea where to look and love the colors in this one.

  12. Hi there, hoping you can help with aloof gray. It looks very baby blue once on the walls. Do you have any thoughts at all on it? I chose it after seeing your review, and liking the green in it. Haven’t done the whole room yet, just the commode room. Any thoughts? Thank you! !! Nancy

  13. love the poste !!! love the vertical wall.
    I too have the same problem as you. Killing heat/sunshine over the summer months that burn my leaves and kill my plants. I am trying to think of a way to build a shelter for the plants from the sun.
    Thank you for your intelligent post and for helping others become more aware. You made more sense than others who speak within this same area of expertise and I am really glad I found your blog-website. I’ve joined your social networks and will keep an eye out for future great posts as well. Additionally, I have shared your site in my social networks as well. Thank you again!

  14. Love the design of your old house, my current furniture is actually quite similar.
    We’re about to repaint – do you happen to know if the Benjamin Moore White Diamond you used was OC-61 or 2121-60?

  15. Your links don’t work.

  16. “Hi Emily,

    Your blog is awesome. I love the paintings and the designs you’ve used in your blog. Superb!!!”