My 6 Best Guaranteed, Reliable Neutral Paint Colors

Last week, I wrote about my favorite white paint colors and how to use them. This week, I’d like to share with you my favorite neutral paint colors.

These colors are great if you’re ready to lighten up your space but don’t want to go all-white. They bring just enough color to make the party interesting without taking over your home. Here they are in no particular order:

MANCHESTER TAN- Benjamin Moore HC-81

Manchester Tan is the warmest color of this group. Don’t be put off by the name. “Tan” isn’t exactly glamorous, but it’s the best color to use if you have Tuscan finishes and want to go gray.

Manchester Tan works particularly well with natural stone like slate and travertine:

I know, it’s not “gray” gray, but if you have warm colored hard finishes and use something like Gray Owl, your home will look disjointed, like this:

See how the floors scream “YELLOW!!” next to the gray walls? And this travertine backsplash is undeniably pink next to the gray cabinets.

Just trust me on this one.

EDGECOMB GRAY- Benjamin Moore HC-173

Edgecomb Gray is so pretty in these pictures. It has a hint of gray but doesn’t even remotely look cold. It pairs really well with the light pink flowers.

This is a good gray to use if you are afraid of going too dark or cold with gray paint. I love the way it makes the floor and window pop in this bathroom.

ACCESSIBLE BEIGE- Sherwin-Williams 7036

Accessible Beige is essentially a lighter version of Edgecomb Gray. Again, don’t be put off by “beige” in name. This isn’t your standard builder beige. Accessible Beige is a green gray, so it will work well with natural stone, and it won’t feel cold like a blue gray.

This is a lovely color for living spaces that you want to feel light and airy. I could see this working really well in a beach or lake house with linen curtains.

PALE OAK- Benjamin Moore OC-20

Pale Oak is the color that bridges the warm “beigey” grays and the cold blue grays. I adore this color. You can pair it with true whites, like in these bathrooms…

And you can pair it with off whites and linens like in these bedrooms…

For this reason, Pale Oak is a good whole-home color if you’re updating old hard finishes room by room. It will look spectacular with the current crisp whites and will help lighten up dark woods.

GRAY OWL- Benjamin Moore OC-52

Gray Owl is where we start getting into the cooler (blue) end of the gray spectrum. If you have a room with a lot of natural light, it will lighten up this paint color and make it feel warmer.

If your room doesn’t have much natural light, the cool side of the gray will come out, and the paint will look darker on the wall than it does on the swatch. Keep that in mind if you’re considering this color for your walls.

I like the look of this bedroom where Gray Owl is paired with light colored wood. If you were to use espresso colored furniture in this bedroom, it would probably look a bit heavy.

FLEUR DE SEL- Sherwin-Williams 7666

Last on the list is Fleur de Sel. This is a very cool blue gray, but it’s light enough that it doesn’t feel heavy or industrial. You won’t want to use this gray with warm finishes. It goes best in spaces that are more contemporary with crisp white trim.

Here’s a close-up look at this color on the walls in a bathroom with a Cararra marble shower. Fleur de Sel is really good at picking up the blue tones in Cararra. I definitely recommend this pairing.

So what’s your favorite of these neutral paint colors? I think I’m going to paint my next house Pale Oak or Edgecomb Gray. I really love the way these colors accentuate clean white cabinets and tile.

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