The Top 5 Tan Paint Colours
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d think this would’ve already been covered with Sherwin Williams 5 Best Beige Paint Colours. And while that blog post is along similar lines, this one is geared towards TAN paint colours – not beige.
Ummm, pardon? What’s the difference between tan and beige, I thought they were the same thing?
Well, they are DOING the same thing – looking like warm neutrals, but they’re doing it in different ways. Just like greige vs taupe or white wine vs rose, beige and tan are kissin’ cousins as they ARE related, but have key features that set them apart.
What are beige paint colours?
Beige paint colours tend to be warmer looking in a more ‘golden’ way. This means they often have more yellow-orange or orange-red undertones in them.
A few things about beige paint colours…
- Beige paint colours 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
What are tan paint colours?
Tan paint colours 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.
A few things about tan paint colours…
- Tans are more likely 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 colours, some people love the more grounded, neutral approach of tan paint colours compared to the more golden/early 2000’s look of many beiges.
And you might notice me using the word ‘often‘ quite a bit and I have three VERY good reasons for this:
1. 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 colours they’re representing, for example:
- Benjamin Moore Grant Beige – isn’t beige. It’s tan. It is not a golden colour and leans just a wink yellow-green with a very slight grayish cast compared to typical beige colours
- Sherwin Williams Softer Tan – isn’t very tan. It’s more of a beige with its considerable orange undertone. Even though it can sometimes grab the TINIEST wink of green
For example, this next photo shows Benjamin Moore Desert Tan, which looks significantly more golden beige than tan…
2. Some colours could really fall into either category, depending on how light/dark they are and how committed they are to their undertones (less commitment to undertone would make them great contenders for both categories). Tans are OFTEN lighter and softer looking, beiges are OFTEN a bit heavier and richer.
3. There are always exceptions…
And while this article isn’t written in the name of science and MAYBE I’m being anal (won’t be the first time) and we should just group them in one big messy pile and call ’em beige, I DO believe that learning about the difference between the two groups will make your paint pickin’ life a HECK of a lot easier.
That’s why today, I want to share some of the most popular tan paint colours with you – colours that are more muted and subtle looking than their beige counterparts. Colours that can be a great way to TRANSITION out of the warmer, golden, Tuscan beiges of the early 2000’s, without going full-bore into the greige world.
The 5 Best Tan Paint Colours
1. Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531
A few thoughts…
- While Canvas Tan suits many wood tones, it doesn’t always love cherry/red tones
- Canvas Tan is one of the most NEUTRAL neutrals – it holds itself as a pretty standard ‘tan’, without sneaky undertones
- 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 colour will lighten/brighten when hit with direct light)
2. Sherwin Williams Neutral Ground SW 7568
Neutral Ground is a soft tan colour, so it doesn’t have a golden Tuscan nor a rich look to it. It’s like a lighter version of Canvas Tan and because it’s lighter, it comes across slightly creamier.
A few thoughts…
- Neutral Ground is great if your room has lower light as it won’t look quite as heavy as Canvas Tan (even though neither are terribly heavy)
- Neutral Ground has an LRV of 70, so it’s lovely and light, without being off-white or washed-out
Click HERE or above image to see available packages
3. Sherwin Williams Wool Skein SW 6148
Wool Skein is a sneaky lil’ bugger with its undertone. At first glance, you might see a soft, simple tan, but on a larger scale, it will be hard to miss the green that’s hiding inside of it. That’s right, green. If you don’t like green – don’t pick this colour, 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. And while at first glance it looks pretty darned ‘tan’, compare it to Canvas Tan to see the shift from a tan that is relatively neutral (Canvas Tan) and a tan with green undertones (Wool Skein). Remember, comparison is a GREAT tool for finding the undertones in a paint colour.
Read more: Colour Review, Sherwin Williams Wool Skein
A few thoughts about Wool Skein…
- Works well with many wood tones, but not overly reddish/pink ones
- It’s flexible with a variety of accent colours and can work well in a north or south-facing room, but it ‘prefers’ south (it’s a bossy little thing…)
- Pairing Wool Skein with blue or cool tones can bring out the warm tones a bit more
- 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 colour 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 colour in brighter spaces
4. Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan
Manchester Tan has been kickin’ it a LONG time in the paint world, but no-one is really TALKING ABOUT it’s
finicky finer qualities. Because while I love Manchester Tan, you have to be careful as it can lean a wee willy wink into green.
In this next photo, you’ll see the tiny touch of green coming up. This is BY FAR as green as you can EVER expect Manchester Tan to look – unless it gets incredibly jealous…
But in this next photo, Manchester Tan looks ALMOST neutral (and only flashes green on the far left, which could also be a reflection from the exterior).
A bit more about Manchester Tan
- It has an LRV of 64, so it’s a light paint colour, but not a washed-out type of light
- A lot of people want to pair it with travertine, but you have to be careful as some travertines have too much pink in them and can enhance the green undertone in Manchester Tan
Read more: Is Beige Back? You Might Be Surprised
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
5. Benjamin Moore Ballet White
Okay, this one is a stretch, but if you love tan paint colours, I’d be missing a BIG boat (Titanic style) not to mention it, especially if you have a north-facing room!
Ballet White is a light depth CREAM that is heavily grounded by a beige-gray backdrop that calms it down. This means that in rooms with northern light, Ballet White can look quite tan, while still having a subtle creamy warm backdrop. This is because north-facing light can slightly gray-out paint colours, and would encourage Ballet White to lean a bit less cream and slightly more greige.
Looking at this next photo below, Ballet White looks like the PERFECT, soft, light tan paint colour!
So, there you have it. Want more options? Check out the READ MORE section below.
Are you wondering what the best tan paint colour is for you and your home?
Check out my E-Design and Online Paint Color Consulting – I’d love to help!