18 Favorite Wall Colors Loved by Interior Designers and Paint Experts

blue dresser and chair in pink room
Photo: Greg Scheidemann

Staring at a display case full of paint chips can leave even the most confident do-it-yourselfer's head spinning. We asked top interior designers and paint professionals which wall color they would choose if they could only have one. Here are their can't-miss paint colors.

01 of 18

Memorybook Blue 4007-5C by Valspar

Blue chair in corner next to wall art
James Nathan Schroder

Valspar's Memorybook Blue is a soft, peaceful shade that can work as a neutral in large doses. "Blues are said to promote productivity and help one's focus," says Sue Kim, color marketing manager at Valspar. "This hue is calming, creating a great foundation for a den or study." The muted shade of blue also works well as a kitchen wall color alongside white cabinetry and shiny fixtures and finishes.

02 of 18

Rocky Coast 1595 by Benjamin Moore

front room rocky coast wall and built-in shelf color rustic furniture
Anthony Masterson Photography

Use dark gray wall colors like Benjamin Moore's Rocky Coast to instantly add drama and elegance. "I love this moody gray," says Jessica Davis of Nest Studio. "It has a slight blue undertone and makes any room feel sophisticated. Use it in cozy rooms like libraries and dens."

03 of 18

Calke Green 34 by Farrow & Ball

green livingroom white pumpkin fall decor
Werner Straube

Saturated green wall paint colors, like Farrow & Ball's Calke Green, are a favorite for rooms that need a personality boost. "I love a good, playful green," says interior designer Jeff Andrews. "This color has a vintage vibe that can work well in any room that you want to have a little sense of humor, to not be too serious. But it also stands the test of time."

04 of 18

Tony Taupe SW 7038 by Sherwin-Williams

Corner of bedroom with nightstand shelf with books
John Bessler

Warmed-up, earthy shades of gray, like Tony Taupe, are the new go-to neutrals. Use these wall paint colors to envelop rooms in a rich, cozy feeling. "In a satin finish, this gray tone is ideal for a media room or library where you want a neutral color with great depth," says John Cialone of Tom Stringer Design Partners.

05 of 18

Classic Gray 1548 by Benjamin Moore

Living room with geometric table and square light
Kim Cornelison

Gray is becoming the ultimate neutral because it looks good with almost any color. Classic Gray is a modern neutral wall color that creates a light and airy feeling yet adds more warmth to a room than basic white. "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," says interior designer Mary Hickey. "Plus, it's a color that works well with so many other colors. It's absolutely beautiful with peacock blue accessories."

06 of 18

Naval SW 6244 by Sherwin-Williams

blue industrial loft dining room
Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams' pick for 2020 Color of the Year, Naval is a rich, saturated blue wall paint color that makes a bold statement. "I like a little drama in the dining room," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "Navy is timeless, and paired with gold accents, this color seems to sparkle." Use blue paint colors alongside neutrals like white, gray, and beige; add wood finishes and natural textures to warm up the look.

07 of 18

Escape Gray SW 6185 by Sherwin-Williams

gray bedroom with green pillows bed
Designers: Chris and Julia Marcum. Adam Albright

Escape Gray creates a cozy, soothing atmosphere that's ideal for the bedroom or living spaces when you want to kick back and relax. "A hint of green gives this gray a more natural and earthy tone," says interior designer Sara Hillery. "Pair it with deep, rich colors like papaya orange to create a warm yet striking statement in a living room."

08 of 18

Calamine 230 by Farrow & Ball

blue dresser and chair in pink room
Greg Scheidemann

For a modern twist on neutral colors for walls, consider Farrow & Ball's Calamine a subtler, more delicate version of millennial pink. "This pale wash of a cool pink works as a neutral, or pair it with red to amp it up," says interior designer Summer Thornton. "I like it best with warm southern and western light."

09 of 18

Cayenne Pepper 8-14 by Pratt & Lambert

room corner with bright orange two-toned paint and papasan chair
Michael Garland

Daring shades of orange, like Cayenne Pepper from Pratt & Lambert, are nothing to be afraid of. "Use this vibrant orange as an accent in a family room to create a warm and inviting atmosphere," suggests Stacy Garcia, design and color specialist. "Juxtapose it with cool neutral shades of white, gray, and midtone blues." If bold shades aren't your thing, consider using Cayenne Pepper for an accent wall color or even a piece of furniture.

10 of 18

Kendall Charcoal HC-166 by Benjamin Moore

gray living room assorted wall art
Annie Schlechter

Paint walls with a luxurious charcoal gray wall color to foster a sense of comfort (and make white trimwork pop). "Kendall Charcoal is a sophisticated, moody color that makes a living room feel elevated and intimate," says Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design. "I love contrasting it with pastels to anchor and complicate them."

11 of 18

Clay Beige OC-11 by Benjamin Moore

bedroom with clay beige walls blue and white striped rug
Granen Photography

For a favorite designer paint color, go neutral. As an off-white hue that suits any environment, Clay Beige is a natural choice for hallways or living rooms. "This is my go-to whenever a neutral, but not boring, background is needed," says interior designer Mandy Lowry. "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." Beige works well in any room and with any accent hue.

12 of 18

Wickham Gray HC-171 by Benjamin Moore

soft hued bedroom with post bed
William Waldron/The Interior Archive

This timeless shade of gray promotes calm and relaxation. "Bedrooms should feel like an oasis or retreat from our hectic lives," says interior designer Marika Meyer. "Wickham Gray is a restful tone that sets this mood." Pair gray with neutral finishes and natural textures for a soothing space.

13 of 18

Glowing Apricot 165 by Benjamin Moore

living room with glowing apricot wall color white entertainment center
Tria Giovan Photography

Bright and summery, this shade of orange adds brilliance to any wall. "I love Glowing Apricot for any room, but it's particularly beautiful in a dining room where it casts a soft golden glow that makes everyone look radiant," says interior designer Danielle Rollins. Pair this yellow-orange paint color with cool hues like navy or gray for balance.

14 of 18

Blue Arrow 5001-3C by Valspar

bedroom blue arrow wall color small wall-mounted nightstand
Laura Moss

For your bedroom, try a soothing shade of blue, like Blue Arrow, a versatile color that calms without being boring. "Easy on the eye, easy to live with. It's a robin's egg blue-green with a bit of muddiness to it," says Melissa Birdsong, Lowe's vice president of trend design and brand. "I always like my colors a little muddy." 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 almost any neutral fabric, making them great for living room or basement makeovers.

15 of 18

Hawthorne Yellow HC-4 by Benjamin Moore

sitting-room hawthorne wall color colorful furniture
Anthony Masterson Photography

This buttery yellow paint color has a slight gray undertone that balances the brightness. "Hawthorne Yellow is a vibrant choice for bedrooms," says interior designer Gary Mcbournie. "It has a certain cheeriness and works with tailored patterns in blues, greens, and browns or soft florals in a variety of garden colors."

16 of 18

Sea Salt SW 6204 by Sherwin-Williams

kids bedroom sea salt wall color white furniture
Edmund Barr

Gray-blue is one of those paint colors that's both modern and classic. Sherwin-Williams' Sea Salt has the versatility of a blue and the contemporary cool of a gray. "This pale gray-blue is soft and soothing," says interior designer Janie Hirsch. "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." 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.

17 of 18

Savoury Beige 3002-10C by Valspar

beige bedroom savoury beige colored walls
Helen Norman Photography

Timeless and versatile, Savoury 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," says interior designer Elaine Griffin. "Even the biggest colorphobes can commit to this pale tan." 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.

18 of 18

Gervase Yellow 72 by Farrow & Ball

white vanity in yellow bedroom
Cameron Sadeghpour Photography

To add color to a room without overwhelming the space, opt for a soft, muted shade like Gervase Yellow. "When I'm using a color rather than a neutral for walls, I pick in the golden range," says designer Barry Dixon. "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." 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.

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