Simplifying Neutral Paint Colours

'White' does not necessarily resemble computer paper and 'grey' certainly does not automatically mean you will be painting your entire room the colour of elephant's skin! Lighter hues are so much more than just one perfect white, grey, or beige. Each one has unique undertones that will look different on the swatch compared to on a wall in a room with tons of natural light. First things first, always follow these three simple rules below when choosing ANY paint colour:

  • Get actual samples of SEVERAL different colours, NEVER rely only on the free swatch. What a colour looks like on the swatch is not what it will look like on the wall.
  • Paint a decent size square on at least two different walls in each room for every colour. The colours will look different depending on the light source.
  • Examine each colour at different times of the day. What you love in natural day light, you may despise in the evening.

To keep things simple, below are only a handful of my favourite go-to neutral colours. There are obviously hundreds (if not thousands) to choose from, but for this post, we will only explore the Benjamin Moore colours that I use most often. If you are having trouble finding the perfect neutral hue for your home, start with one of the colours below!

Simply White - OC-117

Simply White has been named Benjamin Moore's Colour of the Year for 2016. It is considered as one of the 'most neutral' whites and is very constant in different light sources. This crisp, multi-purpose white is great for ceilings and trims.

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

White Dove - OC 17

Another favourite white for trim and mouldings, White Dove is a light, soft white with a warm feeling. This is a 'go-to' colour for many professionals, including myself. If you are looking for a trim or moulding colour, start by testing out White Dove - chances are you will love it!

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Decorators White - CC-20

Decorators White is a slightly more 'off white' compared to Simply White or White Dove. This 'cool' white has a slight a touch of grey in it but is still a great shade of 'white' to consider for your space.

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Dove Wing - OC-18

Dove Wing is one shade darker than White Dove. It really is the perfect 'off-white' colour for walls (most of our condo is painted in Dove Wing). This hue has grey undertones with a touch of yellow creating such a warm and inviting colour! Dove Wing is still light enough, but will show a contrast when paired with a lighter shade on trim and mouldings (such as White Dove or Simply White).

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

 

So while the next few colours are technically 'grey', I am not lying when I say do not rule these out!! Even if you are looking to stay away from grey, the colours below are warm and great neutral colours that may surprise you! Try them in your space!

Gray Owl - OC-52

One of the darkest colours mentioned in this post, Gray Owl is still a soft colour with green undertones. This colour is perfect in kitchens, as it pairs nicely with stainless steel appliances but will also look great in any other room (especially paired with crisp white trim and mouldings).

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Balboa Mist - OC-27

Balboa Mist is another soft, warm shade of grey that appears to have the slightest violet undertone. It may look a little dark, but when painted on a wall, this colour has an extremely warm and light feeling. Don't overlook Balboa Mist if you are set on more of a 'beige' colour!

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Classic Gray - OC-23

Classic Gray is a pale shade of grey with warm undertones. Even though this is clearly a grey, this colour is part of Benjamin Moore's Off White Collection and should definitely be considered if you are looking for more of a 'off white' colour. 

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Ashwood - OC-47

Ashwood is a fantastic neutral colour! Technically a grey, this colour has such a warm feeling with hints of beige that it still feels fresh and inviting. I originally thought I would paint our entire condo in Ashwood, but it felt too dark because we don't get very good natural light. In a space that is bright enough, this colour would still work as a perfect neutral. 

Image source: Benjamin Moore

Image source: Benjamin Moore