Popular Neutral Paint Colours with MASS APPEAL
BENJAMIN MOORE & SHERWIN WILLIAMS
Other than decluttering and cleaning, painting is the least expensive way to add value to your home. And not only does it add monetary value (as a home that’s well-maintained is FAR more appealing than one with scuffed walls), but it ALSO adds emotional value as the buyer walks through your home, envisions living in it, LOVES it and HAS TO HAVE it!
In my article, The Best Paint COLOURS for Home Staging, Selling I talked more about actual ‘colours’ because there are some slightly stronger colours that are suitable for resale, depending on the room, exposure and style of home. It was also more on a ‘per room‘ basis, rather than a ‘paint your whole home’ basis.
This article is for those of you wanting to paint either one room or your WHOLE HOME a soft neutral paint colour that has MASSIVE mass appeal.
However, let me preface this with the following…
While gray paint colours are still being used in today’s homes, trends are shifting warmer. So while I have some gorgeous grays included below, talk to your Realtor to find out what YOUR demographic and local market are looking for in an ‘updated’ home.
1. BENJAMIN MOORE STONINGTON GRAY HC-170
Stonington Gray IS a light gray paint colour with a stormy blue undertone (sometimes greenish), but with its LRV of 59.75, I might lighten it by 25% just to take the edge off to accommodate hallways and darker rooms.
Not sure what LRV is? You might want to read this article before you go much further as it’ll help you HUGELY in your search for the perfect paint colour.
Kylie M Interiors E-design
WHY IS STONINGTON GRAY SUCH A POPULAR COLOUR?
- Stonington has a nice body and depth to it without going overly heavy
- it has a soft blue undertone that isn’t as dominant as some of other gray-blue paint colours
THE BEST ROOMS FOR STONINGTON GRAY
- open layout areas
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID STONINGTON GRAY
homes with pink (countertop/toned flooring/furniture), check out Benjamin Moore Classic Gray instead
- in north-facing rooms, the blue may become more obvious. Remember, EVERY gray paint colour has undertones!
2. BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL OC-52
Gray Owl is a light gray paint colour with a subtle blue-green undertone. This undertone doesn’t always show up, but in the right conditions, it can surprise you!
Kylie M Interiors E-Design
These photos show how soft and pretty Gray Owl can look. Keep in mind, it can look DRASTICALLY different from one room to another, depending on the exposure, furnishings, etc…and easily flexes from a green undertone to a blue one.
WHY IS GRAY OWL SUCH A POPULAR COLOUR?
- with the younger demographic it’s a SUPER popular choice
- it’s light enough to add interest without weighing a room down
THE BEST ROOMS FOR GRAY OWL
- south-facing rooms, north-facing rooms with reasonable natural light (knowing the room will look cool)
- wood tones and whites
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID AVOID GRAY OWL
- if your target market is aged 60+, generally speaking, they prefer more neutral/warmer colours
- in a north-facing, dark room, it could look awfully cold
3. SHERWIN WILLIAMS CREAMY SW 7012
If you are looking for a gorgeous cream without TOO much yellow in it, this is a good one for you. Creamy is a yellow paint colour with a neutral added to calm it down and Creamy has JUST the right amount of both. If you look at the baseboard in the photo below, you’ll see the difference between Creamy and BM Cloud White.
WHY IS CREAMY SUCH A POPULAR CREAM PAINT COLOUR?
- Creamy is a warm colour without being overly yellow
- it’s modern and fresh feeling without having the coldness of a gray
- Creamy has appeal to a younger and older crowd as it’s versatile enough to accommodate both warm and cool tones in decor
- it has more depth to it than White Dove and Cloud White for those who don’t want white walls
- I also love the slightly more subtle Benjamin Moore White Down
THE BEST ROOMS FOR CREAMY
- definitely north or east-facing rooms as the warmth helps to balance out the cooler light
- hallways and darker areas
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID CREAMY
- if you have intense bright southern sun – it will disappear, unless you want a super soft subtle look. Check out a different cream instead
I am also a fan of Sherwin Williams Alabaster, which is more of a warm white, not quite an off-white…
The waiting room of Eddins Counselling
4. SHERWIN WILLIAMS CANVAS TAN SW 7531
Going for a modern and clean, but not TOTALLY boring look? Then Canvas Tan might be perfect for you!
Canvas Tan is a warm light depth tan with a neutral approach as it doesn’t flash obvious warm undertones (yellow, orange, red, green). It’s similar to Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan but is a shift lighter/creamier looking and lacking much of the green that can pop up in Man. Tan.
WHY IS CANVAS TAN SUCH A POPULAR WARM NEUTRAL PAINT COLOUR?
- Canvas Tan offers a subtle warmth without flashing an obvious colour, ie. yellow, red or orange
- it’s a warm tan colour without looking like the Builder’s Beige of the early 2000s
THE BEST ROOMS FOR CANVAS TAN
- it’s awesome in south-facing or north-facing rooms, just make sure the north-facing room has adequate light
- looks great with wood tones that have yellow hues
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID CANVAS TAN
- if you have a lot of products with a cool gray in them, check out Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray instead
5. BENJAMIN MOORE WHITE DOVE OC-17
White Dove is a great choice for a soft white look. Unlike Cloud White, which has a bit more warmth-yellow in it, White Dove has a more neutral base, while still having the underlying warmth that stops it from becoming flat or gray. However, both are in my top 3 warm white paint colours.
WHY IS WHITE DOVE SUCH A POPULAR WHITE PAINT COLOUR?
- White Dove is warm without having a ‘colour’ to it
- it can be used on trim, walls and cabinets for a seamless look (read more HERE)
- north and south-facing rooms look great in White Dove’s subtle warmth
THE BEST ROOMS FOR WHITE DOVE
- most rooms, as long as you’re going for a soft, warm white look
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID WHITE DOVE
- dark rooms, or more to the point, White Dove is FINE in a dark room, but it won’t save the day (improve your lighting)
- if you have clean white in your surrounding finishes (ie. white appliances)
6. BENJAMIN MOORE CLASSIC GRAY OC-23
Classic Gray is NOT exactly what it says, as while it IS classic…it’s not always gray!
As far as light, soft grays go, this is one of my faves. Many of today’s popular light gray colours can go slightly blue or green – not this one. Classic Gray favours a wee purple undertone that softens this colour and gives it interest. Depending on the room and its exposure, Classic Gray can flex from the gray end of things to the more greige end without committing 100% to either. Just be careful, it’s NOT a cool gray and has been known to pick up a ‘barely there’ purple-pink undertone in some lights. Your walls WON’T look pink – but the undertone will be softer than a typical cool gray.
WHY IS CLASSIC GRAY SUCH A POPULAR PAINT COLOUR?
- it gives the illusion of gray without being cold or icy
- the depth (LRV) suits a variety of rooms and conditions
THE BEST ROOMS FOR CLASSIC GRAY
- works well in rooms with any type of exposure
- is flexible to accommodate a variety of tastes
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID CLASSIC GRAY
- if you have products with a green undertone (look at Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter)
- rooms with a LOT of natural light will make Classic Gray washout
7. BENJAMIN MOORE BALBOA MIST 1549
Balboa Mist is a slightly warm gray-greige with a warm purple undertone. It’s warmer and more feminine than Classic Gray with its soft and dusky undertone, at times picking up a faint purple-pink hue (nothing OVERLY dominant though – super passive).
WHY IS BALBOA MIST SUCH A POPULAR PAINT COLOUR?
- its undertones are soft and subtle while adding a bit more ‘colour’ than traditional grays
- Balboa Mist has a romantic and soft look while still being fresh
THE BEST ROOMS FOR BALBOA MIST
- south, north, east or west-facing rooms – it holds itself relatively well in most lights as long as the undertones suit the space
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID BALBOA MIST
- you have products with a green undertone in them., check out Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray or Benjamin Moore Rodeo instead
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
- they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed 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
8. BENJAMIN MOORE EDGECOMB GRAY HC-173
Edgecomb Gray is HANDS-DOWN, one of the most popular warm neutral paint colours – not just for home staging, but for ANY situation.
WHY IS EDGECOMB GRAY SUCH A POPULAR PAINT COLOUR?
- it’s a happy medium for those who love gray and those who prefer beige
- its depth suits a variety of rooms and conditions
THE BEST ROOMS FOR EDGECOMB GRAY
- works well in rooms with any type of exposure so long as the lighting is adequate
- is flexible to accommodate a variety of tastes
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID USING EDGECOMB GRAY
- if you have products with a green undertone, be careful, as it can look a bit pink in comparison
- in super low light rooms it can look dingy, make sure you have enough interior lighting
WHAT ARE SOME ALTERNATIVES TO EDGECOMB GRAY?
9. SHERWIN WILLIAMS AGREEABLE GRAY SW 7029
WHY IS AGREEABLE GRAY SUCH A POPULAR NEUTRAL PAINT COLOUR?
- Agreeable Gray is great for mass appeal, home buyers love it
- it goes with a variety of surfaces as the undertone are pretty flexible
THE BEST ROOMS FOR AGREEABLE GRAY
- South-facing or west-facing afternoon rooms that have a lot of warm light
- North-facing rooms if you want a warm, but not beige-tan paint colour
ROOMS WHERE YOU SHOULD AVOID USING AGREEABLE GRAY
- If you have north-facing or east-facing, Agreeable Gray WILL look grayer/cooler. Read more: The Best WHOLE HOME Gray and Greige Paint Colours
WHAT ARE SOME ALTERNATIVES TO AGREEABLE GRAY?
Not sure which colours will be best for your home or investment property?
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Originally written 2017, updated in 2021