The Top 10 Soul-Soothing Light Paint Colors for Any Room
Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams
With everything that’s going on in this wild world of ours, I think we could all use some stress reduction via wine, a funnel, and a massage from Ryan Reynolds (or Blake Lively, depending on your preferences – I’ll take either). And nothing reduces stress like picking paint colors – RIGHT? Said nobody ever.
Seriously though, one of the best ways to create a calm environment is to wrap yourself in a color that soothes your soul. A color that reduces your heart rate and makes you take a DEEEEEP breath just sitting in it – I mean not literally sitting IN the paint (I’ve yet to try it, but it could work). Once you’ve got that magical color, you only need a good book and some good company. Maybe even a handsome fella like Doug…
Now, of course, there are psychological reasons as to why some colors are more calming than others. But, we all know I’m psycho enough as it is, and there’s ALSO something called PERSONAL PERCEPTION. For example, in some circles, pink is a stress-reducing color. PERSONALLY, it makes me twitch, and if I painted my room pink, it would only INCREASE my stress level, and I might have to cover up those pretty pink walls with some padding to BANG MY HEAD AGAINST. But hey, if you love pink, I can give you the prettiest pink out there.
Also, as a Color Consultant with ADHD and anxiety, I’m not just making this stuff up. And while I also LOVE dark colors, this blog post is geared towards the lighter end of things for mass appeal. When you’re done, check out this blog post too: How to Choose Paint Colors When You’re An Overthinker (also linked at the end of this article).
I can’t guarantee these colors will make YOU PERSONALLY feel more stress-free (although I hope they will). I’m here to get the creative juices flowing to get you thinking about what your best stress-free space could look and feel like.
1. BENJAMIN MOORE CLASSIC GRAY OC-23
Classic Gray is a fave neutral of mine, and I don’t even like its undertones, which speaks to the power of the right color in the right room. Classic Gray is an off-white warm gray with a soft, gentle purple undertone. In our last home, I painted our main bathroom with it and loved it. I’ve got it in our guest bedroom in our current home (which I don’t have a super fab photo of yet).
FUN FACTS ABOUT CLASSIC GRAY
- Classic Gray has an LRV of almost 75, so it’s at the start of the off-white range, giving a softer, more subtle contrast with white trim.
- Because of its undertones, Classic Gray can go SLIGHTLY purple-pink, without 100% commitment.
- Classic Gray is a hit with the average home builder (and home stager) as it has TONS of mass appeal.
Not sure what LRV is? THREE SLAPS WITH A WET NOODLE! Just joking (kind of), but you may want to read THIS.
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO CLASSIC GRAY
- Benjamin Moore Silver Satin
- Sherwin Williams Modern Gray
- Benjamin Moore Collingwood
- Sherwin Williams Egret White
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF CLASSIC GRAY
2. SHERWIN WILLIAMS GOSSAMER VEIL 9165
Gossamer Veil is a beautiful approach to gray. With its soft green undertone and a decent dollop of warmth, Gossamer Veil reads as a warm gray or greige, depending on its environment.
FUN FACTS ABOUT GOSSAMER VEIL
- While Gossamer Veil isn’t brand new, it’s not one of Sherwin’s original colors.
- Gossamer Veil has gentle green undertones, but they’re not so subtle that they disappear – they USUALLY show up to the party.
- With an LRV of 62, Gossamer Veil is a light-depth color that’s RIGHT on my magic number.
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO GOSSAMER VEIL
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3. BENJAMIN MOORE OCTOBER MIST CC550
October Mist is one of THE most beautiful, calming green paint colors. This isn’t just because of its depth (LRV of 46.54). October Mist is a green with a decent amount of gray in it (a slightly warm gray), which takes the edge off the green, leaving you with a gently infused shade of sage.
Apparently, green is one of the best paint colors for those with anxiety (myself included, as green is my go-to). However, blue is also popular for those needing a calmer environment. Just remember, paint colors are SUBJECTIVE to who is looking at them; it’s important to find colors that speak to you emotionally, not just colors that the experts say are what you need.
FUN FACTS ABOUT OCTOBER MIST
- October Mist is a WARM green, although it can look slightly cooler than traditional, olive-inspired greens.
- October Mist was Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2022 (and is quite similar to the equally as pretty, Sherwin Williams COTY Evergreen Fog).
- If you’re looking for a white trim color to suit October Mist, there are TONS of gorgeous options, including Benjamin Moore White Dove and Simply White.
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO OCTOBER MIST
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4. BENJAMIN MOORE OCEAN AIR 2123-50
Mmmm, Ocean Air. I can smell it right now – literally…I live on an island. Really though, I take a deep breath just LOOKING at Ocean Air. It’s a light depth blue with a touch of green and a more passive gray backdrop, leaving more color on the table (or on the wall would be more the point).
FUN FACTS ABOUT OCEAN AIR
- Ocean Air has an LRV of 73, leaving it sitting pretty in the off-white end of things.
- Ocean Air is a relatively clean color. It DOES have gray in it, but considerably less than a color like Mount Saint Anne.
- If you like a cheerful, but not baby-blue approach to color, Ocean Air could be perfect!
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO OCEAN AIR
- Benjamin Moore Gossamer Blue
- Sherwin Williams Sky High
- Sherwin Williams Topsail
- Benjamin Moore Summer Shower
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF OCEAN AIR
NEED HELP? Check out my ONLINE PAINT COLOR PACKAGES!
5. BENJAMIN MOORE SMOKE 2122-40
I LOVE Smoke, and I wish I had a photo of it for you, but it keeps disappearing into thin air… get it? Anyway. Smoke is on the blue-green side of things, but ONLY slightly. It also has a soft gray backdrop, which is the backbone of this calming color.
FUN FACTS ABOUT SMOKE
- Smoke has an LRV of 56, so it’s a light-medium depth paint color, offering a bit more contrast and body up against traditional white trim – I recommend Chantilly Lace.
- If you have a north-facing room, Smoke could be a wee bit chilly feeling, and you might want to check out a few other options.
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO SMOKE
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6. BENJAMIN MOORE ABALONE 2108-60
If you’re a fan of purple, Abalone is a great way to nod towards it, without going full-out Barney. Abalone is a light depth warm gray, so a gray with brown in it, with a purple undertone that is SUBTLE, but noticeable.
FUN FACTS ABOUT ABALONE
- Abalone has an LRV of 63, which is DAMN close to my magical LRV number! With an LRV of 63, it’s a light-depth paint color.
- If you’re at all sensitive to purple undertones, DON’T pick this color – it ain’t messin’ around.
- Abalone is a romantic, calming color that is well-suited to bedrooms and bathrooms.
PAINT COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO ABALONE
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7. SHERWIN WILLIAMS EVERGREEN FOG 9130
While Evergreen Fog is a slightly darker shade of green, there’s no denying its appeal for a relaxing, calming vibe.
Evergreen Fog isn’t overly cool looking, making it a versatile choice. Its LRV of 30 makes it a great choice for accent walls, exteriors, kitchen cabinets, and even entire rooms.
FUN FACTS ABOUT EVERGREEN FOG
- Evergreen Fog was Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year for 2022 and is STILL a popular choice.
- If you want to paint your kitchen cabinets a trendy green, but don’t want to go overboard, Evergreen Fog could be your color.
- Lighter shades of Evergreen Fog include Austere Gray and Conservative Gray, which are also calm, relaxing shades of green-gray.
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO EVERGREEN FOG
8. SHERWIN WILLIAMS SEA SALT SW 6204
This one should come as no surprise to those of you in the color world. Sea Salt is a GLOOORIOUS green-gray that OFTEN disguises itself as a blue-gray. It’s SO unpredictable that, more so than other colors, you need to sample it carefully to ensure it looks how you expect.
Sea Salt is surprisingly blue in some rooms, as shown in this playroom…
However, in other rooms, Sea Salt looks FAR more green (encouraged by the low KELVINS of the lighting), with only a whisper of blue to be found…
FUN FACTS ABOUT SEA SALT
- It’s FABULOUS on potato chips.
- It is a green-gray paint color, EASILY flashes into blue-gray, but RARELY looks like a ‘gray with undertones.’
- Sea Salt is a popular choice for bathrooms and guest bedrooms.
- Sea Salt is also a hit with home buyers.
- If you want a touch of color without being slapped in the face with it, Sea Salt could hit the spot.
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF SEA SALT
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO SEA SALT
- Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray is like a slightly darker version of Sea Salt
- Benjamin Moore Smoky Green
- Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments
- Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere
9. BENJAMIN MOORE BALBOA MIST OC 27
Balboa Mist is similar to Classic Gray, but it’s a bit darker, while still having a soft, feather-light look. You’ll also find violet undertones in Balboa Mist that can show up more in north-facing spaces than in southern ones.
Balboa Mist is popular in today’s home as it suits a wide range of white quartz countertops and other trendy finishes – including some of those from the earlier 2000s.
FUN FACTS ABOUT BALBOA MIST
- Balboa Mist has an LRV of 67, which will offer a nice contrast with white trim while still looking soft and subtle (I recommend Chantilly Lace).
- Balboa Mist can wash out if your room is OVERLY bright, but it will regain itself once the light is more muted.
- It has slightly purple undertones and can slide JUST slightly purple-pink, but not by much.
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO BALBOA MIST
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF BALBOA MIST
And I TOLD you I’d give you the prettiest pink out there, so here it is…
10. BENJAMIN MOORE PINK BLISS 2093-70
Pink Bliss is a light, soft pink paint color. It’s not baby powder pink – but it’s close in my books as it’s a delicate and gentle shade of pink.
FUN FACTS ABOUT PINK BLISS
- Pink Bliss has an LRV of 84, so it’s right up there in the off-white range – soft and simple.
- Pink Bliss is one of Benjamin Moore’s top-selling shades of pink.
- While you won’t find Pink Bliss on many front doors or accent walls, it’s a popular shade for kids’ rooms or adults who want a pretty, gentle color on their walls.
- Also a great stripper name (wink wink).
COLORS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO PINK BLISS
I’d love to show you a comparable Sherwin-Williams pink, but they don’t have any that come even close.
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THE TOP 4 CALMING PAINT COLORS
While colors are subjective to those looking at them, these are the top shades known to reduce anxiety and stress in the average person…
Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting packages – I’d love to help!
Chat soon and stay healthy,
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2020, OVERHAULED IN 2023