HomeThe Best Paint ColoursNeutral, Gray, Greige Cream and WhiteSherwin Williams 10 Best Tan (Neutral) Paint Colors

Sherwin Williams 10 Best Tan (Neutral) Paint Colors

Posted on June 7, 2023 by KylieMawdsley


If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’d think this would’ve been covered with Sherwin Williams’s 5 Best Beige Paint Colors. And while that blog post is similar, this one is geared towards TAN paint colors – not beige.

Sherwin Williams best tan neutral paint colors with Kylie M Interiors, color expert

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Ummm, pardon? What’s the difference between tan and beige? I thought they were the same thing.

They are DOING the same thing – looking like warm neutrals, but they’re doing it differently. Like greige vs. taupe or white wine vs. rose, beige and tan are kissin’ cousins as they ARE related, but they have key features that set them apart.


Beige paint colors tend to look warmer in a more ‘golden’ way. This means they often have more orange-yellow or orange-pink undertones in them.

Beige paint color example


  • Beige paint colors are usually more suited to a Tuscan-style home than tans.
  • They are likely to have an orange or orange-red (pink) undertone.
  • They tend to look richer and warmer compared to tans.



Tan paint colors are often more subdued and neutral looking as those warm golden tones can fall back. You’re less likely to find orange or red undertones and more likely to find yellow or green undertones and sometimes even a slightly grayish cast.Sherwin Williams Tan paint color example



  • Tans are likelier to have a yellow or yellow-green undertone and less likely to have orange or red (pink).
  • They’re often in the light range and won’t have an overly rich Tuscan look to them.
  • Tans are MUCH closer to the greige world than beiges.

This is why some people HATE beige and LOVE tan! Even though they’re both warm colors, some people love the more grounded, neutral approach of tan paint colors compared to the more golden/early 2000s look of many beiges.

Are Beige & Tan The SAME THING? 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Paint companies have made it challenging for us to decipher between tan and beige, often using the words ‘tan and beige’ at whim, without the words relating closely enough to the colors they’re representing. Just because a color’s name includes the words tan, beige, white, gray, etc… doesn’t mean it actually IS that color!

Sherwin Williams Neutral Ground, best beige tan cream hybrid, sofa, home decor, area rug

So, today, I want to share some of the most popular tan paint colors with you – colors that are more muted and subtle looking than some of their roasty-toasty beige counterparts. Colors that can be a great way to TRANSITION out of the warmer, golden, Tuscan beiges of the early 2000s, without going into the gray, greige, or taupe worlds.

While tan pales in popularity compared to beige, many homes just beg for the perfect neutral shade of tan. Let’s see what Sherwin Williams has to offer us…


Canvas Tan is soft, fresh, and bright, giving it a typical tan look, without being heavy like the beiges and tans from the early 2000s.

Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan, home staging ideas bedroom. Dark wood trim, beige carpet. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color advice

E-Design by Kylie M, Photo via Tim Hanson Photography

Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan paint colour on walls, Shell White warm soft off-white on door and trim. Kylie M Interiors client BEFORE PHOTO


  • While Canvas Tan suits many wood tones, it doesn’t always love cherry/red tones.
  • Canvas Tan has a good life to it, without being overly colorful (yellow-green). It’s not one of the more muted tans (which we’ll look at shortly).
  • Canvas Tan has an LRV of 64. So, if you have a dark room, it can help it look a weeee bit brighter. In a bright room, it should hold itself quite well and won’t lose too much body when faced with direct light (keeping in mind that EVERY color will lighten/brighten when hit with direct light)
  • As shown in the previous photo, partner Canvas Tan with a soft, warm white like Sherwin Williams Shell White for a more muted look. For a more crisp approach, try Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.

The Ultimate Guideline to Choosing Paint Colors with LRV



Neutral Ground is a soft tan color, so it doesn’t have a golden Tuscan or a rich look. It’s like a lighter version of Canvas Tan; because it’s lighter, it comes across as slightly creamier.

Sherwin Williams Neutral Ground, wood floor, windows, best neutrla tan beige paint color, 4 club chairs conversation setting


  • Neutral Ground is great if your room has lower light as it won’t look quite as heavy as Canvas Tan (even though neither is terribly heavy).
  • Neutral Ground has an LRV of 70, so it’s lovely and light, without being off-white or washed-out.
  • If you like Neutral Ground but wish it were a bit MORE neutral, check out a flexible off-white like Sherwin Williams Shoji White.

Online paint colour consulting using Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams colours. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, DIY update ideas. Market

NEED HELP? Check out my ONLINE PAINT COLOR PACKAGES – let me make it easy for you! 



Wool Skein is a sneaky lil’ bugger with its undertone. At first glance, you might see a soft, simple tan, but it will be hard to miss the green hiding inside it on a larger scale. That’s right, green. If you don’t like green – don’t pick this color; it’s not subtle. And while that doesn’t mean it’s OVERWHELMING, it is noticeable.

As for depth, Wool Skein is light and fresh without becoming so light that it looks washed out. While at first glance it looks pretty darned ‘tan,’ compare it to Canvas Tan to see the shift from a relatively neutral tan (Canvas Tan) to a tan with green undertones (Wool Skein). Remember, comparison is a GREAT tool for finding the undertones in a paint color.

Sherwin Williams Woolskein, Westhighland White, RH Seafoam ceiling. Kylie M INteriors E-design. Client photo before

Paint Color Review, Sherwin Williams Wool Skein


  • It works well with many wood tones but not lighter reddish/pink ones.
  • It’s flexible with various accent colors and can work well in a north or south-facing room.
  • Pairing Wool Skein with blue or cool tones can bring out the warm tones a bit more. In particular, Wool Skein looks great with mid-tone gray-blue-green blends.
  • If you have warm-toned woods that have strong yellow, orange, or red tones, this could bring out the green undertone in Wool Skein.
  • The LRV of 64 keeps this color fresh and bright, without being punchy. It may subtly enhance a dark room and sit quite evenly in a bright room, without losing too much color in brighter spaces.

SAMPLIZE PEEL & STICK paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER, and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots.

  • Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1 DAY, depending on location.
  • They’re more affordable than the sample pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling.

Sherwin Williams best tan neutral paint colors, Canvas Tan, peel and stick Samplize with Kylie M

Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE



Sandbar is a light-medium depth tan paint color, with an LRV of 53. And while it does have tans subtle undertones, they’re SUPER muted, and most of the time, Sandbar reads as a pretty simple neutral. For this reason, Sandbar can act more like a hybrid between the beige and tan worlds.

Sherwin Williams Sandbar MSI quartz Calacatta Idillio, Iron Ore soft black paitned range hood, pendant light

With non-white painted cabinets being trendy, colors like Sherwin Williams Sandbar, Balanced Beige, and Pashmina are showing up in my Instagram feed MUCH more often!


  • Sandbar’s super subtle green undertones could show up more in a room with western afternoon sunshine.
  • Sandbar could be a bit muddy and heavy for a dark room and is best suited to a room with average or more natural light.
  • Natural Tan is kind of like a lighter version of Sandbar if you want a softer approach (coming up next!)
  • Sandbar looks stunning with darker greige tones like Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze.



To call Natural Tan a TRUE tan is an overstatement. In fact, its undertones are SO subtle; it can even pass as a beige (which can also grab a wee green undertone). Another thing that sets Natural Tan apart from the rest is the amount of gray it has in it. Natural Tan is a considerably grayed-out neutral, which cuts back on its warmth quite a bit.

Natural Tan is popular for those wanting a super muted tan look and is a great transition between the worlds of cool gray and overly warm beiges. With trends leaning warmer, this color could come in handy!

Sherwin Williams Natural Tan with white trim, dark wood floors. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consultant

FULL Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Natural Tan

Check out how incredibly muted Natural Tan looks in this next photo…

Sherwin Williams Natural Tan, best neutral warm paint colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

FULL Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Natural Tan

However, remember that if you have a north-facing room or a space with low light, a color like Natural Tan can look a bit flat and dull (as shown above).

Paint colors need LIGHT to come to LIFE! 


  • If you need a neutral that doesn’t commit hard to yellow OR orange, Natural Tan could be a great choice.
  • Natural Tan can work in a south-facing space if you love warm colors but don’t want TOO much gold.
  • Natural Tan has an LRV of 63, putting it DARN CLOSE to my magical LRV number for any room! This depth makes Natural Tan a light shade.



There aren’t many ‘off-white, tan paint colors.’ Why? Because once tan gets THIS light, it can act more like cream. Such is the case with Shoji White. This particular shade nods at the tan world, but being SO LIGHT, it can act more like a super muted, dirty cream-tan-greige blend.

However, as shown in this photo, the green undertone tucked deep in Shoji White simply isn’t noticeable, which is another reason why Shoji White is barely tan, but it’s the best off-white one I’ve got!

Exterior best green paint shade of paint, Sherwin Williams Retreat Shoji White trim, beige brick and warm asphalt roof. Kylie M client photo

FULL Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Shoji White

Sherwin Williams isn’t limited to the above shades; however, due to their popularity with my Online Color Consulting clients, they’re the ones I have photos of. I’d love to share a few more tan paint colors with you…


Grecian Ivory is another hybrid of sorts. While it harbors an obvious green undertone, it has a decent amount of gray in it, making it hover between tan and greige. In fact, your EXPOSURE could be the thing that has it leaning one way or another. For example, northern light might have Grecian Ivory favoring its greige side, whereas warmer southern sun could humor its tan base a bit more.

Kitchen wood cabinets, Sherwin Williams White Duck, wood beams, feature similiar to Mindful Gray. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy blogger

Grecian Ivory looks gorgeous partnered with soft off-whites like Shoji White and White Duck.



While Relaxed Khaki might look neutral at first glance, don’t let it fool you. Relaxed Khaki is a strong tan paint color with its green-yellow undertones.

Relaxed Khaki is a slightly darker, more rustic approach to tan and is great for those who want more contrast with their white trim or a cozier look. Its depth is closer to those found in the beiges of the early 2000s. Add a bit more depth, and you hit Universal Khaki, which has its own following, although it’s darker than what today’s warmer trends call for.

If you’re looking for a pretty color partner for Relaxed Khaki, check out mid-tone greiges like Sherwin Williams Gray Area and Studio Clay.



If stronger shades of tan come back in style (doubtful), I can see Oyster Bar being a HUGE hit. However, its increased yellow-green hues can be a bit much for the average space. Why mention it? Because it might be just perfect for YOU!

Manchester tan walls with corner brick fireplace, dining set. Red exotic cherry wood floor.

Oyster Bar has an LRV of 64, making it a light-depth paint color. If you want to see HOW much yellow-green it has in it, compare it to a color like Benjamin Moore’s Manchester Tan, which looks DARN NEUTRAL in comparison!



If you love a paint color with a bit more meat on its bones, Naturel could be the tan for you. With an LRV of 54, Naturel is in the light-medium depths. Naturel picks up where Relaxed Khaki left off, but is more subtle with its undertones, offering a more laidback approach to a light-medium depth tan.

Kitchen island painted Sherwin Williams greige, Urbane Bronze, red oak stain wood floor, cream, glazed kitchen cabinets, cream subway tile backsplash, gold pendant lights, Kylie M Edesign

Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze kitchen island

Natural goes well with the soft, subtle warmth of Sherwin Williams Alabaster or a wicked dark greige like Urbane Bronze.


If you want to create a palette with tan as your foundation, there’s a wide range of colors to choose from, including…


Sherwin Williams Best Beige Paint Colors

The 11 Best Warm Neutral Paint Colors That AREN’T BEIGE! 

The 5 Best Off-White Paint Colors

The 5 Best Cream Paint Colors – Benjamin Moore

4 Beautiful Benjamin Moore Warm Neutral Paint Colors


Check out my E-Design and Online Paint Color Consulting!

The best beige, tan, neutral paint colors for your room. Online paint colour consultant Kylie M Interiors Edesign. Diy decorating ideas blogger

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature

Originally written in 2020, updated and overhauled in 2023


  1. have you ever looked into Maria Killam’s website/blog/colour training? you’ve got the same eye for colour, but her ‘understanding undertones’ method is much easier to articulate and understand. combining your eye and online personality with her system would be an awesome combination.

    1. Post

      I do LOVE Maria! And yes, we have similar thoughts on these things! She’s very good at what she does and thank you for the compliment!

  2. You are an amazing teacher!
    I love Balboa Mist. Is it a tan?
    Maybe I’m a tan fan and not a person who loves beige. Now I know why!

    1. Post

      Hi Erika, maybe you ARE a tan fan! But…Balboa Mist is more of a warm gray that wants to be a taupe. So, it’s like a gray with beige in it and a soft purple undertone. It’s a beauty!

    1. Post
  3. OMG I love, love, love Canvas Tan. I have it in my office which is a west facing room, and the color is so beautiful! But I tried it in my great room (which has a northern exposure) and it lost its character! Darn! Now I am searching for another option. Thank you for another great post. Your posts are very informative!

  4. I am glad to have a chance to respond to canvas tan. On your recommendation to what paint colors go well with the color of your wood trim, I used canvas tan with orange oak and southern light in our last house. I loved it! Not everyone can appreciate orange oak, but if you have to make do, canvas tan is a great way to accomplish that. Thanks Kylie! I am now reading up on what to do with our new house!

    1. Post
    2. Thank you! Same problem here , with the orange/golden Oak in kitchen and all the trim. I have a canvas tan sample pot and I’m going to pay extra attention now . Trying to make Agreeable Gray work, but it keeps showing up blue. I already have Useful Gray , which is also blue/green. I’m trying to go opposite of the gray colors, as they aren’t working.

  5. Thank you! Same problem here , with the orange/golden Oak in kitchen and all the trim. I have a canvas tan sample pot and I’m going to pay extra attention now . Trying to make Agreeable Gray work, but it keeps showing up blue. I already have Useful Gray , which is also blue/green. I’m trying to go opposite of the gray colors, as they aren’t working.

  6. Thank you! Same problem here , with the orange/golden Oak in kitchen and all the trim. I have a canvas tan sample pot and I’m going to pay extra attention now .

  7. I’m seriously thinking about using Ballet White on the walls of my family room – a large room with a double height ceiling with East facing skylights and a south facing large window as well – but I’m concerned that it will be too washed out on sunny days. I want the wall color to read as a lighter neutral, not as an off-white. Can you suggest another Benjamin Moore color that is similar to Ballet White but is a little darker/more intense?

    Your posts are incredibly informative! I really feel I learn a lot by reading them. Thank you!

    1. Post

      Hi Lois! You could easily take a look at White Sand! Now as it gets that bit darker it loses a touch of the creaminess and looks a bit more tan, but it could hold itself just a bit better for you :).

  8. Thank you so much for this article! It really helped me to understand the difference between tan and beige. We have been looking to paint our kitchen/eating area which is west facing (has a small window over sink and a door wall with a window on each side) and has orange/yellow oak cabinets and floors. While canvas tan has caught my attention, I am not sure it is the one I want. I don’t want any green or grey in my paint color. (We back up to woods so it reflects the green in summer time in the kitchen.) What do you think of Sherwin Williams bungalow beige and dhurrie beige? Thanks!

  9. We painted our entryway and main living area BM Manchester Tan. As you enter our house, we have a dining room to the right in BM Wythe Blue. I am stumped on what color to paint the traditional living room (to the left of the entryway, which by the way has a 1960s avocado tile). I would like to add a bit of color as we did with the dining room. We have a print from Guatemala (http://www.laantiguagaleria.com/store/Cornucopia-de-Color-p90548200) on the wall that I would love to draw from — with blues, rich yelows/golds and colors of red clay. Considering BM Moir Gold, Concord Ivory, Lenxox Tan and even SW Cavern Clay (perhaps as an accent wall). The room has nice light with two east-facing and one south-facing window. I would l welcome ideas!

  10. I’m SO happy to see this post! Thank you for clarifying the difference between beige and tan.
    Do either Neutral Ground or Ballet White have undertones that will lean pink? Everything seems to lean pink in my dark/north facing foyer as well as my master bedroom.
    I like Manchester Tan but I think I need to stay in the 70 LRV range due to lighting (or lack thereof!) for a whole house color. Is there a lighter version of Manchester Tan?

    I’m searching for that fresh color that is “light without being off white or washed out”.

  11. I have a small living room with no natural light … I live in Sanjose . I want to try something with tan . I have pearl cabinets and white trim. Can you recommend me something too

  12. I have a room with 35′ orangey pine ceiling, and ballet white trim already but want to go very light, not gray.
    No one has been able to help with this one. Trying not to paint the ceiling or the trim. I love reading the blog because I am not the only person going crazy with colors

    1. Post

      Oooo, Kathy, if you have Ballet White trim already, you might be best to do Ballet White walls! It can be really tough to mix and match with trim colors that aren’t the typical ‘white’. I suppose you coudl check out BM Clay Beige, or consider getting Ballet White darkened by 50% – see what that looks like!

      If you want more help, I do have an Online Color Consulting service! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/hire-kylie/

  13. I follow your posts a lot. I enjoy the info from your expertise and study of paint colors…so the rest of us don’t have to do it! I was wondering what the tan colors are in your first two pics at the beginning in your introduction? They are beautiful!

    1. Post
  14. I have stumbed upon your posts as I am wanting to change out the wall color in our family/dining area. It has HIGH lighting with both west and south facing windows. I put a color on from BM and it is entirely too green for my tastes. I have very light oak floors and want to change out the color to a very neutral tan/gray/off white without going too yellow or too green. I can’t seem to find enough information on windows of both west and south to assist. Have any suggestions?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Posts

Meet Kylie

Thank you for visiting!  I'm so glad you're here!  Come on in to learn a little more about me!