The Top 10 Soul-Soothing Paint Colours for Any Room
Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams
I don’t know about you, but 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 sensual massage from Ryan Gosling (or Jennifer Lopez, depending on your preferences). And nothing reduces stress like picking paint colours – RIGHT? Said nobody ever.
Seriously though, one of the best ways to create a calm environment is to wrap yourself in a colour that soothes your soul. A colour 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, could work). Once you’ve got that magical colour, all you need is 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 colours 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 colour. 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.
Which is why I’m not going to tell you that these colours will make YOU PERSONALLY feel more stress-free (although they very well could). I’m here to get the creative juices flowing, to get you thinking about what your best stress-free space would look and feel like.
And remember, I rely 100% on photos from my E-Design clients, so in some cases, I don’t have JUST the photo I need, but I’ve created a paint blob (super technical term) to show you the general idea.
BTW, I’ve recently created a series of ‘Quick Colour Reviews’ for colours that aren’t used as often, but still get asked about (like Shoji White, Heron Plume and Silvermist). If there’s a colour you’re curious about, please leave a comment and if its a contender, I’ll put it on my list!
1. Calming Paint Colour: 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 colour in the right room. Classic Gray is an off-white warm gray with a very soft, gentle purple undertone. In our last home, I painted our main bathroom with it and loved it. In our current home, I’ve got it in our guest bedroom (which I don’t have a super fab photo of yet).
A bit more 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.
- In the odd light, Classic Gray can go SLIGHTLY purple-pink, without 100% commitment
Not sure what LRV is? THREE SLAPS WITH A WET NOODLE! Just joking (kind of), but you may want to read THIS.
If you like Classic Gray, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Silver Satin / Sherwin Williams Modern Gray / Benjamin Moore Collingwood
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Classic Gray
2. Calming Paint Colour: Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne
There are two types of blue out there – blue-purple and blue-green (read more HERE). Mount Saint Anne is a soft, medium-toned blue with a wink of green in it and a stormy gray to calm it down.
A bit more about Mount Saint Anne
- Our lovely Anne is definitely the heavy-weight on this page, coming in at a whopping 42 in LRV. That doesn’t mean she’s overly dark, but she IS well-seated in the medium end of things with a bit more meat on her bones than the others
- While there is some green in Mount Saint Anne, she’s definitely a blue-dominant colour
If you like Mount Saint Anne, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Beach Glass / Sherwin Williams Rain / Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue
Read more: The 8 Best Blue Green Blend Paint Colours
3. Calming Paint Colour: Sherwin Williams Grassland SW 6163
Grassland is an organic-looking green with its warm gray base. This means it’s not a COOL green – one that will lean into green-blue, but a warm one with a wink of yellow tucked deep inside of it.
A bit more about Grassland
- Grassland is a great way to get colour on your walls, without going too far
- It has an LRV of 50, so it’s a nice light-medium depth
If you like Grassland, you might also like…
Sherwin Williams Softened Green / Benjamin Moore Gray Mirage / Benjamin Moore Camouflage
4. Calming Paint Colour: 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 colour on the table (or on the wall would be more the point).
A bit more 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 colour. It DOES have gray in it, but considerably less than a colour like Mount Saint Anne
If you like Ocean Air, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Gossamer Blue / Sherwin Williams Tradewind / Sherwin Williams Sky High
Read more: The 2 Types of Blue Paint Colours – Which One Do YOU Love the Most?
Click HERE or on the above image to see available packages
5. Calming Paint Colour: 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 colour.
A bit more about Smoke
- Smoke has an LRV of 56, so it’s a light-medium depth paint colour, offering a bit more contrast and body up against traditional white trim
- 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
If you like Smoke, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Wales Gray / Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments / Sherwin Williams Krypton
Paint Colour Review: A Blue-Green Blend – Sherwin Williams Silver Strand
6. Calming Paint Colour: 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.
- 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 colour
- If you’re at all sensitive to purple undertones, DON’T pick this colour – it ain’t messin’ around
If you love Abalone, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Barren Plain / Sherwin Williams Popular Gray / Benjamin Moore Collingwood
Read more: The 9 Best Benjamin Moore Purple Paint Colours
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…
- Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
- At $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needing for traditional paint sampling
- If you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE
7. Calming Paint Colour: Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray HC-171
If you’re not a fan of undertones (knowing that EVERY gray will have them), but want a LITTLE bit of interest, you might like the approach of Wickham Gray. Wickham is a light gray paint colour with a blue-green undertone. There’s enough undertone so this colour doesn’t fall flat, but not so much that the blue-green takes over.
All that photo is missing is me, a glass of wine and a floofy towel (I’ll save that photo for my other blog – wink wink).
A bit more about Wickham Gray
- Wickham Gray has an LRV of 68, so it’s sitting nicely in between the off-white and light range of paint colours
- Wickham Gray has a stormy look to it, rather than a fresh, icy approach
If you like Wickham Gray, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray / Sherwin Williams Front Porch
Read more: QUICK Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Gossamer Veil
8. Calming Paint Colour: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt SW 6204
This one should come as no surprise to those of you in the colour world. Sea Salt is a GLOOORIOUS green-gray that OFTEN disguises itself as a blue-gray, so you need to sample it carefully to make sure it gives the look you’re going for. When it comes to green, it’s usually the warm greens (yellow-greens) that are more calming than the cooler ones, but again, it’s ALLL about personal perception, which is why I gave you a few to consider.
A bit more about Sea Salt
- It’s FABULOUS on potato chips
- It is a green-gray paint colour, but EASILY flashes into blue-gray, so make sure it settles the way you want it to
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
If you like Sea Salt, you might also like…
Malt vinegar (seriously, this is what happens when I drink wine when typing) / Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray / Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue / Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere
9. Calming Paint Colour: Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
Balboa Mist is along similar lines to Classic Gray, but it’s a bit darker, while still having a soft, feather-light look to it.
A bit more about Balboa Mist OC-27
- Balboa Mist has an LRV of 67, meaning it will offer a nice contrast with white trim while still looking soft and subtle
- It has undertones that are slightly purple and can slide JUST slightly purple-pink, but not by much
If you like Balboa Mist, you might also like…
Benjamin Moore Pale Oak / Benjamin Moore Collingwood / Sherwin Williams Incredible White
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
And I TOLD you I’d give you the prettiest pink out there, so here it is…
10. Calming Paint Colour: Benjamin Moore Pink Bliss 2093-70
Pink Bliss is a light, soft pink paint colour. It’s not baby powder pink – but it’s close in my books.
A bit more about Pink Bliss…
- Pink Bliss has an LRV of 84, so it’s right up there in the off-white range – soft and simple
If you like Pink Bliss, you might also like…
Torture (just joking, kind of). Seriously though, I’m just making fun of the fact that I’m not much of a pink fan – although I like her music. Get it? Ooookay, I’m done. You might ACTUALLY like Benjamin Moore Wild Aster / Benjamin Moore Sugarcane / Benjamin Moore Hint of Pink
Not sure which calming colour will work for you and your room?
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting packages – I’d love to help!
Chat soon and stay healthy,
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KYLIE M INTERIORS E-DESIGN, E-DECOR, ONLINE OR VIRTUAL PAINT COLOUR CONSULTING AND ADVICE BLOGGER EXPERT IN BENJAMIN MOORE AND SHERWIN WILLIAMS PAINT COLORS
Kyl ie, I painted a large bedroom (it has a window on the east and a window on the.south sides of my home) SW Aleutian. I cannot tell you how gorgeous it came out! Everyone raves about it, including the painter I used. The most beautiful color in exactly the right room. Try it if you ever get the opportunity. Oddly, my daughter is now living in a home that has the same color in a living room that has very little light due to a porch – the color is dead dead dead! I couldn’t believe it was the same shade until I held up my paint fan, but sure as shootin’, it is. Hideously drab color when there’s no light. She cannot wait to get a different shade up on the walls!
Hi Nancy, yes, Aleutian IS a super striking colour! And yes, those darned porch overhangs can kill almost ANY colour, so she’ll also want to supplement with some good interior lighting to help a colour along 🙂
Thanks so much for this post! I always look forward to your posts and was so glad to see this one. I painted my powder room BM Mineral Alloy in November and cannot a get used to the color. I know I want a blue—-lots of white wainscoting. I will be checking out your suggestions for the next two months…????. BTW, I am painting my LR and the moulding in my DR SW Accessible Beige during this stressful time. I picked this color for my foyer/hallway after checking out all your suggestions on your many posts. Love this color, works
So well with new flooring and older items I have to love with right now.
Great post and good timing! Thank you Kylie, makes it feel like things are just… normal! Love all these choices. Now, I know you have a hate in for pink but I have to say I feel very cozy and calm in my midtown Toronto apartment painted in Behr “Malted” A grayed down Bandaid pink paired with white trim, deep navy bedside tables, gold lamps and some dark wood (husband). Love it!
Thank you Kim! I know…there are pink lovers out there and while I see the beauty of it, it’s just not my jam, but I’m GLAD it’s yours – there is a colour for everyone!
Kylie, I enjoy your posts and I learned a LOT before I chose a paint color for my main living areas. SW Sea Salt is my calming color. Sometimes it looks green (but a nice green – no pea soup) and then I can be standing at my kitchen sink looking into the living room during afternoon when the sun has moved to the other side of the house, and it looks gray. I just had my master bath painted Sea Salt too. Lots of light there, and it looks beautiful.
Thank you so much Kim! This is so helpful. Not surprising , I have looked at so many of these colors because I want a soft, calm palette in my home. Thank you for the quick and dirty of the not as popular colors. You mentioned BM beach glass. What are your thoughts on this color? Stay healthy everyone!
I painted my bathroom in Beach Glass and i absolutely love it. It looks great with the white cabinets and floors. It’s a beautiful shade.
Thanks Bert! Does beach glass look more blue or green or grey? East exposure room so I don’t want it to look dark. Now between beach glass and bm silver marlin. Thanks!
Perfect timing! Thank you! I think BM Ocean Air is beyond dreamy! How do you think it would play with old yellow/orange oak floors?
Hi Lisa, it could be lovely! They would bounce off of each other, as opposites attract and make each other look stronger. If you wanted to DOWNPLAY your oak, well that might not be the best approach, but overall, I think the combo could be very pretty!
I am trying to update my kitchen without changing our Uba Tuba countertops. The backsplash and floors can be changed eventually so it’s a nonissue.. My kitchen faces northeast but I get some light in from all directions. Wall cabinets will be BM White Dove, Grassland is on the walls and Uba Tuba on the counters. I want to put a little color on the island because I think the Uba Tuba and all that white might be a little much for me. Would the undertones of SW Krypton on the island cabinets work well with the Grassland, White Dove, and UbaTuba. Thank you so much for your input! I have loved your website!
Hi Kris, I’m feeling like Krypton could be a bit too light and could also compete quite a bit with Grassland 🙂
I love reading this article – very good information and choices of color. I have a question; I love SW Sea Salt (looking to find a right green-blue-grayish wall color) but worry that it might be too much of a color to use in a living room and a dining room area (open concept, one big area). I don’t want the wall to look too much green or blue. Any suggestions? The painter I hire only want to use SW colors. Thanks.
Hi Emily, this is a VERY good thing to think about, and something I remind my clients of often. If you’re already a bit concerned, I wonder if you might be a bit more comfortable with the likes of SW Silver Strand or Lattice perhaps???
Hi Kylie, I love the paint colour at the top of this post. The one with the white bedspread What is the colour called?
Ahhh, good choice – that’s Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue 🙂
I used BM Ashwood in our bedroom . Both north & western facing windows. It is a VERY soft pale greenish gray. BM Simply White trim.
It is so pretty & calming. Beautiful with linen bedding, linen upholstered bed & chair. Used soft ivory silk drapes. Painters, plumbers, carpenters & workers (men) all said it is one of the prettiest rooms they have seen! Ashwood doesn’t show up often on lists but is seriously worth looking into.
Hello Kylie. New to all things decor, including paint, without the tiniest knack or gift for it so I have a great appreciation for all the time & effort you give here. Thank you. Do you know of anything available int the U.S. that is comparable to “Sunday Soul” by Coat Paints?
Hi Sheri, I’m not at ALL familiar with Coat Paints – I’ve never heard of them! Now, this is just me looking at the color online (where looks can be deceiving), but you might check out the likes of SW Versatile Gray/Popular Gray – basically taupes (or VERY warm grays) with a violet undertone. I hope those get you on the right track!