Earth-Tone Paint Colors Recommended by the Pros

Bookmark these top nature-inspired shades for your next project. The experts weigh in.

Earth-tone paint colors offer an ideal backdrop for furniture, as well as a host of soul-soothing benefits. This timeless (and currently trending) color palette includes soft creams, off-whites, and warm desert-inspired shades. Muddied greens, blues, and vibrant mineral shades are considered earth tones, too, and they also create a relaxing atmosphere.

"Earth tones can offer a neutral calm throughout a home, but one can also add drama with the injection of a few spicy mineral tones through color blocking, such as painted bookcases or accented trim color," says Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball. "They exude a little more warmth in an interior compared to the default grays and whites, which have resonated so strongly during the last decade."

kitchen with beige cabinets
Helen Norman

Lisa Tharp, designer, and creator of ECOS Paints' new color collection Lisa Tharp Colors, believes earth tones are beautiful in the way they connect us to nature. "They are grounding, which reduces stress in a stressful world. Using a range of earth tones, from the cool shades of stone to the warmth of autumn leaves, provides a sense of balance and peacefulness," she says. "They remind us of the healing abundance of our natural surroundings."

While classic, these tones are uniquely popular for homeowners in 2021, due to their cathartic nature. "People want their homes to feel safe and restorative, and earth tones help achieve that feeling," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams.

Off-White and Creams

dining room with slipper satin no. 2004 walls
Courtesy of Farrow and Ball

Slipper Satin, Farrow & Ball

Earth tones are ideal for designing soft, layered environments, O'Donnell says. "Our traditional Farrow & Ball neutrals are a good example of layering shades, from Slipper Satin through to Old White," he says. Slipper Satin, described by the brand as a chalky off-white, works well alongside accent colors, as does Old White. "Both can successfully pair with bolds such as India Yellow to Stone Blue for contrast," O'Donnell says.

living room ceiling in creamery white
Courtesy of ECOS Paint

Creamery White, ECOS Paints

Creamery White, shown on the ceiling over an atmospheric blue wall, is a pale ivory shade that works in any space. "It's a versatile complement to any earth-tone color," Tharp says. "It has a touch of warmth that never veers too yellow and is perfect for an entire room or as an accent on millwork."

sitting area with shoji white walls
Courtesy of Sherwin Williams

Shoji White, Sherwin-Williams

"While neutrals are always in style, we've been seeing homeowners gravitate towards the warmer and earthier spectrum," Wadden says. "Shoji White is a soft, earthy take on white. It's a great earth tone for someone who wants a more neutral space but still wants to create a feeling of warmth and serenity." Looking for an accent shade? Wadden says Shoji White pairs well with deeper earth tones, like saturated greens and bronze.

Beiges and Taupes

stony ground home exterior
Courtesy of Farrow and Ball

Stony Ground, Farrow & Ball

O'Donnell describes Stony Ground as "the perfect earth neutral for a cozy bedroom or an elegant living room." We think it's a perfect earth-tone exterior paint color for a front door or siding, and it's at its best beside natural stone textures. According to Farrow & Ball, Stony Ground has "a slight underlying red, which adds warmth and creates a soft beige finish."

dining room accessible beige neutral walls hygge minimalist boho
Courtesy of Sherwin Williams

Accessible Beige, Sherwin-Williams

"Accessible Beige is one of our most popular colors and one of my favorite neutrals all-around," Wadden says. "This warm, neutral hue is an easy color to layer softness and texture into a sanctuary space of your own. It also has a beautiful gray undertone that works well with a variety of wood tones and opens up a space, whether it's a common room in an open-concept space or a bedroom where you want a soft, calming look."

wall in neutral territory sandy beige
Courtesy of Clare Paint

Neutral Territory, Clare Paint

"This year especially, we've seen people gravitate towards airy, warm earth tones like Neutral Territory, a rich sandy color, and No Filter, a beautiful light beige with warm undertones," says Nicole Gibbons, founder, and CEO of Clare Paint. "This aligns with our collective desire to bring a sense of calmness and serenity to our homes during a period when a pandemic, tumultuous politics, and climate disasters are top of mind." If you're looking for more beige options to test, Gibbons also loves Turbinado, a color she describes as Clare's "deepest of deep" warm beiges. "Like honey-colored sugar crystals, this is earthy at its best," she says.

Taupes and Browns

fireplace in met gray
Courtesy of ECOS Paint

Met Grey, ECOS Paints

"Met Grey is a warm-toned gray that introduces the colors of pale stone," Tharp says. "It's the slightly cooler counterpoint that adds balance and sophistication. Travertine is a classic light camel and is named for the creamy tan tones of classic travertine, a prized Roman limestone quarried since ancient times. Bronze Age is a rich, warm shade inspired by the ageless beauty of bronze sculpture. It's perfect as a dark, dramatic accent or transforming a small space into a cozy enveloping environment."

loft with mouse's back painted walls
Courtesy of Farrow and Ball

Mouse's Back, Farrow & Ball

O'Donnell calls Mouse's Back "the earthiest brown with added green for a complex, nuanced shade." Perfect for mudroom cabinetry in a rural setting, it's universally flattering for interior and exterior use. If Mouse's Back speaks to you, try Fawn Brindle by Sherwin-Williams, too.

wall near table in coffee date
Courtesy of Clare Paint

Coffee Date, Clare Paint

"For those looking for a complex, dark feel, this rich brown is a color that feels extra cozy and will spark a conversation," Gibbons says. "Trendy colors come and go, but the natural beauty of earthy tones is here to stay."

Muted Greens

walls in vintage home in french gray no. 18
Courtesy of Farrow and Ball

French Gray, Farrow & Ball

O'Donnell recommends the classic color French Gray for "a delicate, soft, earthy sage with a tiny dose of yellow so not perceived as too drab." For more muted green colors like French Gray, sample Svelte Sage and Mountain Road by Sherwin-Williams.

kitchen dining nook with light green walls
Courtesy of PPG

Olive Sprig, PPG Paints

"People continue to see green as a way to bring the outside in and emulate a feeling of nature that represents growth and resiliency," says Ashley McCollum, associate color marketing manager of PPG Paints. Her favorite earthy shades are Olive Sprig, which she calls "an elegant, grounded, versatile and highly-adaptable gray-green," and Pine Forest, which creates "a grounded, serene feel and pairs seamlessly with white and marble accents."

Vibrant Earth Tones

wall in faded terracotta
Courtesy of Farrow and Ball

Faded Terracotta, Farrow & Ball

Faded Terracotta is an easygoing pale orange shade, meant to match "the singular color of terracotta pots and tiles baked to a pale hue by the California sun." If you're looking for a unique earth-tone color with character and warmth, it's an attractive option.

Another is Rosa Palido by ECOS Paints, which Tharp calls "a surprisingly versatile warm pale pink that adds a touch of life to a neutral palette. It is elevating and refined, even handsome when combined with other earth tones."

medium pink wall in sitting area
Courtesy of PPG Paint

Big Cypress, PPG Paints

"A shaded ginger hue, Big Cypress is the equivalent of a big, comforting hug for your home," McCollum says. Pair it with warm woods, decorative textures, and off-white trim. Looking for a softer version? Try Transcend, part of PPG's 2021 Palette of the Year. "It's a warm beige with a pink undertone. Use this color in your home to emulate the feeling of warm sand on a summer day," McCollum says.

good as gold paint swatch
Courtesy of Clare Paint

Good as Gold, Clare Paint

"We've seen an uptick in shades of earthy yellow, like Good as Gold, a deep mustard color," Gibbons says. "This mellow mustard hue is slightly sunny yet perfectly subdued in a way that could almost pass as a neutral. It feels like a bright ray of sunshine right at home."

Get inspired with more paint color ideas on our podcast, The Better Buy. In this episode of The Better Buy, Renovation Husbands share their tips for renovating a historic home and how they invented their own shade of greige paint.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles