Designers' Favorite Wall Colors
We asked top designers what wall paint color they would choose if they could only have one. Here are their picks.
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Gray is a classic go-to wall paint color. It works with every decorating style and let's your accents take center stage. "When you hear 'gray' you think dreary, but this is a wonderful gray that has a lot of light in it, especially when paired with white trim. Even on a dreary day it looks good. Plus, it's a color that works well with so many other colors. It's absolutely beautiful with peacock blue accessories." — Mary Hickey, Minneapolis designer
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Classic Gray 1548 by Benjamin Moore
Gray is becoming the ultimate neutral because it looks good with almost any color. Classic Gray is a modern neutral that creates a light and airy feeling yet adds more warmth to a room than basic white. Paint colors that gorgeously blend into the background let your wall art and favorite furniture pieces do all the talking.
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For your bedroom, try a soothing shade of blue, like Blue Arrow. "Easy on the eye, easy to live with. It's a robin's egg blue-green with a bit of muddiness to it. I always like my colors a little muddy."
— Melissa Birdsong, Lowe's vice president of trend design and brand
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Blue Arrow 5001-3C by Valspar
Blue is a popular wall color because it goes with almost any wood tone. Blue Arrow is a versatile color that is calming without being boring. Painting ideas that involve blue-gray colors work well with with almost any neutral fabric, making them great for living room or basement makeovers.
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Another blue paint color, Sea Salt, is a designer favorite. "This pale gray-blue is soft and soothing. It's kind of like sea glass where it can look blue or green—and it works with both. And it's great with neutrals or cream. I've used it in a beach house, a traditional home, a sorority house—so it has a lot of flexibility."
— Janie Hirsch, Atlanta designer
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Sea Salt SW 6204 by Sherwin-Williams
Gray-blue is one of those paint colors that's both modern and classic. It has the versatility of a blue and the contemporary cool of a gray. Sea Salt will look great with almost any accent. Try the blue paint color in a bedroom, living room, or bathroom for a serene atmosphere.
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For a favorite designer paint color, go neutral. "This is my go-to whenever a neutral, but not boring, background is needed. It's a chameleon color. It has the amazing ability to read either warm or cool and never fails to make its surroundings elegant in any light." — Mandy Lowry, Atlanta designer
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Clay Beige OC-11 by Benjamin Moore
Beige works well in any room and with any accent hue. Consider it in a hallway or in the living room, where family portraits and art pieces cover the walls. As an off-white hue that suits any environment, Clay Beige is one house paint to always have on hand.
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Another favorite neutral paint color, Savory Beige sets a soft backdrop for any decorating style. "This is the perfect cafe au lait that puts just enough color on the walls to warm them up. Even the biggest colorphobes can commit to this pale tan." — Elaine Griffin, New York City designer
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Savory Beige 3002-10C by Valspar
Just like any great neutral, Savory Beige (also sold in some regions as Churchill Hotel Ecru) looks good everywhere and with everything. Paint colors with this kind of versatility are a safe bet to make when choosing a room color, because you can count on them being in style for years to come. Longevity is especially important in larger, more prominent rooms, and should be something to keep in mind when choosing living room colors.
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To add color to a room without overwhelming the space, opt for a soft shade of yellow. "When I'm using a color rather than a neutral for walls, I pick in the golden range. With a little tone of green peeking through, this yellow is not so intense that it's overly dramatic. It's warm and embracing—not one of those overly cheerful yellows. It's a subtle yellow you'll never tire of." — Barry Dixon, Washington, D.C., designer
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Gervase Yellow 72 by Farrow & Ball
Yellow is a popular wall color because it brightens rooms and is versatile enough to go with almost any style of furniture or accent. Gervase Yellow is a muted hue that has these attributes yet isn't too intense for rooms with lots of natural light. Yellow is a hit with kitchen paint colors becuase it brightens up a space you spend a lot of your time working in every day.