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The Best Neutral Interior Paint Colors

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I’ve received so many questions about what paint colors we used in our home to create a clean and neutral aesthetic. So, I decided to track them down and create a post with links to all of them.

A little backstory: In 2013, when we bought our first home, I knew I wanted to go with a nice, neutral gray with white trim for the interior. But there are endless grays, and even more whites, and it was a wee bit overwhelming. I didn’t want to become the crazy neurotic lady who spent the rest of her days waffling over various shades of gray, so I decided to bring in an expert.

I consulted with Angelisse Karol, and within a few hours she had whipped through dozens of swatches, held them up to our walls, and helped me select the perfect shades of gray for our entire home. I learned that paint colors look wildly different from space to space, depending on the light in your home, and you really need to play with multiple swatches to see how they will look on your walls.

Enough chit chat. Let’s get to the colors. 

The Kitchen

kitchen sink

We loved Nimbus by Benjamin Moore, but it was so pale it almost read as white in the rest of the house, so we ended up just using it for the kitchen, where it had more contrast against the bright white subway tiles.

Living, Dining and Hallways

dining paint colors

We selected Light Pewter by Benjamin Moore for our dining room, living room, and all of the hallways. It’s a crisp, pale gray, that reads as gray without any discernible purple, blue, or green undertones. I’ve recommended it to several clients and it seems to work well in most homes. Winner!


bedroom neutral colors

I wanted a gray with a bit more depth for our upstairs bedrooms. We landed on Vapor Trails, a lovely gray with a touch of green, that felt a little warmer and less stark than other grays we considered.

Trim and Ceilings

bathroom paint

We used Snowfall White, a bright, crisp white by Benjamin Moore, for the kitchen and dining cabinets, ceilings, molding, and trim throughout the house. We ordered semigloss for the trim and used eggshell finish for the rest of the home.

Admittedly, these colors are not winning any awards for boldness or creativity, but they achieved the exact neutral aesthetic I was going for, and they’ve held up well for the past eight years, needing only minor touchups from time to time. If you decide to try them in your own home, just promise me you’ll get some oversized swatches so you can test them in your space before pulling the trigger.

True story: When we first painted, I decided to go bold and paint our tiny half bathroom bright pink. It was instantly intolerable to me (pepto bismol nightmare) and I’ve stuck with neutrals ever since.

Photography Credit: Vivian Johnson 

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8 comments on “The Best Neutral Interior Paint Colors

  1. Hello,

    I am based in the UK and found you via a Sunday supplement. I wish I had seen this article before decorating my bathroom it would have been most helpful, especially for the white I painted the trims and basin cabinet, who knew there were so many shades of white!
    Not sure if we can get Benjamin Moore paints here?

    I shall look forward to future emails and inspiration.

    Kind regards

  2. Hi, do you find that you’re tired of the gray & white trend yet? I couldn’t have those colors where I live because we have winter six months out of the year and gray would depress me. But I’m thinking of a good light warm beige, any thoughts? Thanks, love your site!

    1. Oh, I love this question! I have always loved a neutral color palette in my home because I have a very busy brain and it helps me feel calm! I also get sick of bold colors, patterns and prints easily and find that it’s easier for me to have a neutral backdrop and use accessories like pillows, lamps, and textiles to mix things up. Check out http://www.solvemyspace.com for some great inspo to fight off the winter blues with plants, lighting, and color. xoxo

  3. Shira, Thank s for your inspiration! When painting, did you use eggshell on your ceilings as well, or did you use ceiling paint?

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