The Neutral Colors And Paints Designers Swear By

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Everyone needs a go-to white, cream or gray. Whether you’re playing up furnishings or simply leaning toward a more understated color palette, these are the best neutral colors to have at the ready, according to designers.


A FORECAST WINNER

gray living room in nimbus 1465 benjamin moore

Photo: Victor Harshbarger

Josh Greene

Josh Greene Design, New York City

Nimbus 1465 by Benjamin Moore

It’s the all around gray that works in cool and warm schemes and never goes purple. Here it is in the living room of a Greenwich Village apartment but we even used it as the shade for a Venetian plaster.


ALL PURPOSE

neutral living room in benjamin moore seapearl

Photo: Julie Soefer

Marie Flanigan

Marie Flanigan Interiors, Houston

Seapearl by Benjamin Moore

The shade offers a neutral palette with grey undertones, allowing for added versatility and depth. In this project, we wanted to achieve a light aesthetic that created a backdrop for subtle color. Seapearl’s tone layered beautifully with additional texture and accent colors.


GROUNDED PERSPECTIVE

neutral bedroom in sherwin williams shiitake

Photo: Erin Comerford Miller

Cheryl Luckett

Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, Charlotte

Shiitake by Sherwin Williams

This go-to neutral has the perfect mix of warm and cool tones.  It works with so many schemes. It’s light and cozy at the same time, making it one of my absolute favorites.


PENSIVE PALETTE

neutral bedroom with dresser Metropolitan by benjamin moore

Photo: John Neitzel/ Digital Destinations

Courtney McLeod

Right Meets Left Interior Design, New York City

Metropolitan by Benjamin Moore

I selected this moody, warm gray for this bedroom to convey a sense of calm modernity.


THE ULTIMATE BACKDROP

black bed in white bedroom painted pure white sherwin williams

Photo: Julie Soefer

Nina Magon

Nina Magon Studio, Houston

Pure White by Sherwin Williams 

White is a classic color that goes with anything! Pair it with black and you get a chic and sophisticated space.


PICTURE PERFECT

gallery wall in bedroom painted gray owl benjamin moore

Photo: Matthew Millman

Jay Jeffers

Jay Jeffers, San Francisco

Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore 

It’s a light gray, but it is my favorite version of white because I love how it plays off deep saturated colors. The crispness is just beautiful. We used it in this bedroom of an ultra-luxury condominium project in Pacific Heights. It boasts a double height ceiling, and the color makes the room look even larger.


PEOPLE PLEASER

formal living room in manor house gray by farrow & bal

Photo: Grey Crawford

Jeff Andrews

Jeff Andrews Design, Los Angeles

Manor House Gray by Farrow & Ball

I love to use in a living room or other formal entertaining space, is the perfect backdrop color to other warm or cool colors.


TIMELESS TONE 

layered living room in matchstick by farrow & ball

Photo: Miguel Flores Vianna Photography

Katie Leede

Katie Leede & Co., New York City

Matchstick by Farrow & Ball

It’s an especially effective, creamy wall color when decorating with fine antiques, gilt and silk. It provides a warm and quiet canvas for layering in richness. This New York City triplex takes on a livable coziness while maintaining old world elegance.