25 Calming Paint Colors to Make Your Home a Haven

2019 Idea House Queen Guest Bedroom
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Liz Strong

Between kids and dogs, chaotic family dinners and happy holidays, Southern homes are filled with lots of things, but calmness isn't always one of them. And we wouldn't have it any other way—except, well, when we would. Those frazzled moments warrant a retreat, somewhere you can relax and take a deep breath (or three). You probably reflexively turn to cool colors like blue, gray, and green to create a serene space, but there are also neutrals, pastels, and yes, even high-pigment hues that soothe.

Take a peek at these 25 calming paint colors that designers love, and prepare to count down to zen.

01 of 26

Benjamin Moore Sea Haze

Home Office with Builtin Shelving
Chris Edwards; Styling: Kendra Surface

With remote work at an all-time high, home offices have had to rise to the occasion—and their first order of business is keeping stress from spilling into the rest of the house. Enter a calm color, like the one in this North Carolina home. For her husband's at-home work space, interior designer Liz Carroll painted the walls and bookshelves with Benjamin Moore's Sea Haze. Gray with green undertones, it's like a striking piece of sea glass.

02 of 26

Farrow & Ball Cromarty

Mountain House Main Bedroom with Gray Walls and Red Accents
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Lizzie Cullen Cox

Although Instagram might lead you to believe otherwise, white isn't the only neutral worth considering. Take a cue from this North Carolina home and paint your bedroom walls a pale, barely-there shade of gray. Here, in designer Whitney McGregor's bedroom, Cromarty by Farrow & Ball softens the space and offers just the right amount of contrast with white furniture and accents.

03 of 26

Farrow & Ball Setting Plaster

Melissa Smrekar's Living room

Peach may just be our new favorite color. Our inspiration: Dallas-based Melissa Smrekar's colorful cottage. Inside, light walls are a calming contrast to her bold, graphic furnishings. "Farrow & Ball's Setting Plaster is my all-time favorite color and reminds me of crumbling Italian villas," she says. "When the sun is shining, it's undoubtedly pink, but at night it softens to a cathartic neutral."

04 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Alabaster

Sitting area with white walls and four arm chairs with blue accents
Alison Gootee; Styling: Jenny O'Connor

Homeowners often have a go-to shade of white—and for one young Texas family, that color is Sherwin-Williams Alabaster, which they artfully applied to their window-filled kitchen and sitting room. "A kitchen creates its own clutter, so it's nice to keep the look clean," says Mia Brous, the designer behind this space and co-owner of the hit home boutique Madre in Dallas. White trim draws out the delicious creaminess of Alabaster.

05 of 26

Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray

Main bedroom with light pinks and blues
David Tsay

Inside Tori Rubinson's Fort Worth, Texas, home, the walls of the primary bedroom are painted in Benjamin Moore's Wickham Gray. It pairs beautifully with the trim, which is coated with Sherwin-Williams' Alabaster (diluted to 80 percent). With its pale blue-green cast, this wall color almost doesn't look gray in photos, making you question, "What color is this?" Which, in turn, makes us love it all the more.

06 of 26

Benjamin Moore White Dove

Chelsea Meissner James Island, SC Home Entry
Jillian Guyette

It's hard to beat classic white, especially in an entryway or kitchen. It maximizes natural light and feels like a breath of fresh air. Just make sure to pick something that isn't too bright. Your home should still feel cozy—not like a modern art gallery. You can't go wrong with forever-favorite Benjamin Moore White Dove. It's soft and vibrant without being blinding.

07 of 26

Farrow & Ball Vert De Terre

Hanna Seabrook Living Room in Louisville, Kentucky
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Elly Poston Cooper

Ground your home with an earthy green, like Farrow & Ball's Vert De Terre. In this Kentucky home, designer Hanna Seabrook pegged it as the perfect backdrop for neutral furnishings and accessories. With its blue undertone, this subtle green brings a soft, Edenic feel that works well with cool, off-white hues.

08 of 26

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground

Holly Williams Colonial Revival Remodel in Nashville, TN Pink Dressing Room Closet
Photo: Annie Schlechter; Styling: Matthew Gleason

Don't be afraid to "think pink," especially when outfitting your personal spaces. In this case, it was Holly Williams—Nashville shop owner, musician, and the granddaughter and daughter of the famous Hanks—who coated her closet and dressing room in Pink Ground by Farrow & Ball, a warm blush pink that's at once calming and luxurious. "It brings a ladylike elegance to the edgier items I'm drawn to," Williams says.

09 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Embellished Blue

St. Teresa, FL Beach House Screened in Porch Sink
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Frances Bailey

Every Southerner knows that brushing your porch ceiling with a pretty haint blue keeps the wasps (and bad spirits!) at bay. But we've also been known to use it for a screened-in porch ceiling, mostly because it makes any space feel instantly charming. In this Florida beach cottage, the porch ceiling is coated with Embellished Blue by Sherwin-Williams. The cool color reflects light well, so it's an ideal pick for a soothing outdoor space.

10 of 26

Dunn-Edwards Bay Salt

Chapel Hill House Living Room with Blue Sofa
Ngoc Minh Ngo; Styling: Ed Gallagher

Strike the balance between comfort and style with a warm-toned gray. An especially soothing option is Dunn-Edwards Bay Salt, which has the lived-in feel of a perfect pair of chinos, with just enough sophistication to justify custom furniture. Paint the trim in the same hue for a cozy floor-to-ceiling effect.

11 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Whitetail

The Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

The island-inspired sandy colors in this space are as laidback as an afternoon on the beach. In our 2017 Idea House, we matched the center island's cabinetry, painted in Sherwin-Williams Dormer Brown, with an off-white wall color, Sherwin-Williams Whitetail. This creamy coupling warms up the vaulted space and practically begs guests to plop down on a stool and stay awhile.

12 of 26

PPG Paints Scarborough

Ginny Stimpson's Fairhope Bay House Master Bedroom
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

This jewel box of a bedroom makes us want to crawl between the sheets and never leave. Although your eye might land on Abigail Borg's Laburnum Teal paper on the back wall first, we're obsessing over the deep teal hue on the surrounding walls of this Fairhope, Alabama, retreat. With its malachite undertone, Scarborough by PPG Paints is both nature-inspired and elegant, pairing gorgeously with crisp white sheets (or trim).

13 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Jasper Stone

2019 Idea House Queen Guest Bedroom
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Liz Strong

Are you noticing a trend? This is the third time we're highlighting Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (which just might be the coziest white you'll find). But what makes this space uniquely serene is the blue-green trim. Decorator Heather Chadduck Hillegas covered this traditional bedroom's window frames and baseboards in Sherwin-Williams Jasper Stone, which reads a bit like a neutral, but with higher contrast.

14 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Dressy Rose

Andrew Howard Colorful Makeover Mauve and Teal Dining Room
Photo: Max Kim-Bee; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

While mauve is an obvious choice for a bedroom, we can't get enough of the unexpected color for a dining room. In this formal space, designer Andrew Howard wanted a romantic palette that would glow in the dim light of dinner parties, which led him to a dusty mauve shade, similar to Sherwin-Williams Dressy Rose. To keep the color from feeling dated, pair it with modern accents, like the abstract painting and funky chandelier seen here.

15 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Spicy Hue

Rust Colored Master Bedroom in Florida Cracker Style Home
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Barbara Schmidt

Yes, this bedroom isn't blue, green, or white. And, yes, the paint color includes "spicy" in its name. But before you conclude we've lost it, look at this restful guest room in a Florida Cracker-style home. It calls to mind dusky sunsets, red clay masks at the spa—well, you get the idea. Although this bedroom owes its deep rusty shade to grasscloth wallpaper, you can mimic the color with Sherwin-Williams Spicy Hue.

16 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Quietude

2018 Idea House in Austin, Texas Master Bedroom Writing Nook
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

This bay-window spot in the primary bedroom of our 2018 Idea House is pure poetry. Credit the top-to-bottom blue, which draws you inward, transforming what could be wasted space into a charming nook. "Sherwin-Williams Quietude is a deep celadon that's perfectly calming for a bedroom," says designer Meredith Ellis of her color choice for the space. With a similar background color, the Roman shades blend right in, so their bold print doesn't disrupt the serenity.

17 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Zurich White

2019 Idea House Dining Room
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Liz Strong

If your goal is "golden vanilla," rather than "printer paper," head for the creamy white paint swatches. A slightly warmed-up white feels just as fresh and crisp as its cooler cousins, but brings an extra dose of cozy ambience. In the light-filled dining room of our 2019 Idea House, decorator Heather Chadduck Hillegas picked Sherwin-Williams Zurich White for the walls and trim, along with Misty for the ceiling and Naturel for the window flange. (She also used these accent colors to create the checkerboard motif on the floor.) Dreamy, right?

18 of 26

Dunn-Edwards Belize Green

Whitney McGregor Greenville, SC Dining Room
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Lizzie Cox

Sage green is one of those colors that seems to promise, "Everything's going to be alright." Maybe it's the hue's antique feel that makes it so comforting, like it's always going to endure (no matter if you flub the sweet potato casserole). In this South Carolina cottage, decorator Whitney McGregor called on the color to unite her antique furniture with the architecture. Achieve a similar look with Dunn-Edwards Belize Green.

19 of 26

Backdrop Home Palo Santo

Phoebe Howard Designed Texas Hill House Guest Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Adam Fortner

Interior designer Phoebe Howard prefers to keep spare bedrooms relatively neutral. That way, guests find a blank canvas they can easily make their own. A classic beige wall color emanates warmth, so you can pull off an uncluttered aesthetic, while still offering a welcoming space. For a warm beige with a hint of yellow, look to Palo Santo by Backdrop Home. "Beiges tend to get labeled as boring, but I think they can be really beautiful when done right," says Natalie Ebel, the cofounder of Backdrop. This is one of her all-time favorite beiges, and we can see why.

20 of 26

Farrow & Ball Parma Gray

Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam Charleston, SC Home Blue and White Kitchen
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lizzie Cullen Cox

There's coastal, and then there's kitschy coastal. You want the former. Julia Berolzheimer hit the mark in her Savannah home with the perfect balance between crisp and calming shades. You might think the rattan pendants, stunning La Cornue range, and patterned backsplash would be the stars of this space, but we're swooning over those cabinets in Farrow & Ball Parma Gray. This hue has a history of being used as a backdrop for costume dramas (really!), but here it takes on a less demanding role: encouraging everyone to exhale.

21 of 26

Clark+Kensington Sheer Mist

Kaynor Home in New Orleans
Laurey W. Glenn

Decorator Grace Kaynor believes your kitchen should be "a quaint and happy place." If you equate happy with bold pops, like these hand-painted floor tiles, turn to a cool gray, like Clark+Kensington Sheer Mist. This restful shade provides a neutral palette that's light and airy, but never stark. For something a touch warmer, try Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.

22 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Classic Light Buff

2019 Idea House Living Room
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Liz Strong

For our 2019 Idea House in Amelia Island, Florida, decorator Heather Chadduck Hillegas sifted through a catalog of neutrals, creating a breezy, reliable roster of colors. For the living room walls, trim, and bookcase, she chose Sherwin-Williams Classic Light Buff, complemented by a ceiling in Pure White. The result is a stunning, off-white backdrop for layered patterns, textures, and finishes that doesn't feel an ounce too busy.

23 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Creamy

Maison Studio WaterColor, FL Neutral Kitchen with Shiplap Wall Backsplash
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

These walls are like a bowl of melted vanilla bean ice cream, thanks to the aptly named paint color: Sherwin-Williams Creamy. The owners of this Watercolor, Florida, home kept things simple by forgoing a backsplash in favor of paneling that extends from countertop to ceiling. Cabinets (and appliances) painted with Sherwin-Williams Austere Gray give dimension to the easygoing palette.

24 of 26

Benjamin Moore Beach Glass

Kaynor Home in New Orleans
Laurey W. Gleen

You wouldn't think a formal dining room with an antique marble mantel, gilded mirror, and soaring ceiling could be relaxing. Yet Benjamin Moore Beach Glass manages to effortlessly ground the regal room with its soothing gray undertone. Both versatile and ethereal, this color works well in almost any space, whether a powder room or a primary bedroom.

25 of 26

Sherwin-Williams Inkwell

Fran Keenan Birmingham Cottage Breakfast Nook
Hector Manuel Sanchez

If you want to make a statement without going bright, charcoal gray is your go-to hue. It's hardly a typical neutral, since it's dark, not light, yet it still functions as a warm, versatile backdrop for almost any color scheme. Decorator Fran Kennan gave her cottage's breakfast nook a moody twist with black paint, which she paired with light flooring for a bit of levity. For a softer finish, go with a bluish charcoal, such as Sherwin-Williams Inkwell.

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These Tranquil Colors Will Transform Any Space

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