16 Calming Paint Colors to Soothe Your Southern Home
There’s little calm to be found in a Southern home. Between the kids and the dogs, and the family dinners and the holiday celebrations, a Southern home might be filled with happiness and love by the buckets—but it is not filled with calm (not even by one bucket). At best, there are fleeting moments of calm. These are typically spent in the peace of our personal spaces, whether you consider that place to be your bedroom, kitchen, den, or screened-in porch.
Turns out, there’s something you can do to make these spaces feel even more relaxing, and it comes down to design. What sounds more soothing: ocean blue or fire-brick red? Cool gray or canary yellow? (Exactly.)
While it’s undeniable that blues, grays, and greens are inherently calm colors, the buck doesn’t have to stop there. There are neutrals, pastels, and high-pigment paint colors across the spectrum that make for a serene space, and we’re spilling all the secrets.
Try one of these 16 calming paint colors for your Southern home.
These Tranquil Colors Will Transform Any Space
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 (OC-17). It's soft and vibrant without being blinding.
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, too. Why? Not only is it tradition, but it instantly makes the space feel more charming.
In this Florida beach cottage, the porch ceiling was coated in .
Make your living space both comforting and stylish with a warm-toned gray (including the trim!). You'll find a soothing pick with Dunn-Edwards Bay Salt (DET642).
This isn't your typical khaki. Warm up any living or kitchen space with an island-inspired creamy tan color, especially when pairing with sand or cocoa hues.
When designing a bedroom, choose a dark and cozy palette to complement your place of rest and relaxation.
In this Fairhope retreat home, you'll see Abigail Borg's Laburnum Teal paper on the back wall of the master bedroom—but we're taking note of the complementary deep teal on the surrounding walls: Scarborough 501-5 by Pittsburg Paints.
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 a warm blush pink that feels both calming and luxurious.
To get the look, go for Pink Ground by Farrow & Ball. "It brings a ladylike elegance to the edgier items I’m drawn to,” Williams says.
There's nothing quite as serene as blue-green. If you're not into all-over color, instead opt for a painted trim, like seen here.
While people often associate neutrals with calm, we'd like to make a play for a warm coral color. Not only does it give a fun pop of color, but the deep rusty shade feels cozy enough to cover your bedroom walls.
While pale lavender certainly makes a soothing choice for a bedroom, we can't get enough of the unexpected color for a dining room.
In this formal dining room, designer Andrew Howard wanted to use a romantic palette that would glow in the dim light of dinner parties, which led him to choose a dusty mauve shade. (We love Sherwin-Williams Dressy Rose (SW 6024).) To keep the color from feeling dated, pair with modern accents.
Think more "golden vanilla" white than "printer paper" white. That's what you get with a cream-white paint color. It feels just as fresh and crisp, but creates a warmer ambience.
In the natural light-filled dining room of Southern Living's 2019 Idea House, decorator Heather Chadduck Hillegas used Sherwin-Williams Zurich White (SW 7626) on the walls and trim, and then later paired it with Misty (SW 6232) (on the ceiling) and Naturel (SW 7542) (on the window flange) to create checkerboard motif on the floor.
If you want to make a statement without picking a bright color, charcoal gray comes off warm and inviting without looking like a typical neutral.
Pratt & Lambert’s Black gave a moody twist to decorator Fran Keenan’s cottage, but we suggest going with a bluish charcoal, such as Sherwin-Williams Inkwell (SW 6992), to give the room a softer finish.
Interior designer Phoebe Howard advises keeping guest bedroom spaces relatively neutral in order to ensure your guests have an easier time slipping into it and making it their own. A classic beige color (paired with an uncluttered design aesthetic) can bring instant warmth to the space without needing much else.
You'll find a warm beige with a hint of yellow in Palo Santo by Backdrop. “Beiges tend to get labeled as boring, but I think they can be really beautiful when done right," says Backdrop co-founder Natalie Ebel. (This is one of her all-time favorite beiges.)
Sage green is like a breath of fresh air, lending an earthy antique feel to any room. In this South Carolina cottage, decorator Whitney McGregor gave the dining room a more formal look to match her antique furniture by adding panels of molding to the plain drywall and hanging her art inside each panel.
Find a true sage green in Dunn-Edwards Belize Green (DEC782).
Decorator Grace Kaynor believes your kitchen should be "a quaint and happy place.” To make room for a bold statement (like these hand-painted blue-and-white floor tiles) or to keep with a neutral palette, a cool gray will do the job. It's light and airy without being stark-white.