10 Reliably Gorgeous Paint Colors Designers Trust
When a home update is in order, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of paint colors on the market. Even when you’re zeroed in on a shade, there are thousands of options to choose from. In Benjamin Moore’s inventory alone, there are more than 3,500 shades to choose from, according to the brand’s Color Marketing & Development Manager, Nivara Xaykao. So where should you start?
Xaykao suggests taking your time to collect inspiring imagery and whittling them down to just one image. “It’s important to start with a point of inspiration to help narrow down your selection,” she says. But here comes the tricky part: deciding between twenty-or-so nuanced shades in the same family and feeling confident about your final decision. It’s a tall order, but don’t lose hope.
Whether you’re looking for a reliably calming neutral or a riskier statement shade, the colors shared here are interior designer-approved, tested, and dependable. Stick with one of these suggestions from 10 seasoned designers who know Southern style, and you’ll be enjoying a beautiful new space in no time.
Farrow & Ball, Green Smoke, No. 47
For the statement-makers, Ashley Gilbreath of Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design recommends Farrow & Ball’s deep blue-green, Green Smoke. “Green Smoke is the perfect shade of green that feels timeless yet interesting, making it our reliable ‘go-to’ color for the client that wants to take a risk,” she says. “It allows you to be intentional with impactful color without your room feeling too bold or overwhelming.” Gilbreath believes this rich, relaxing color can work anywhere in the home—from a stylish home office to kitchen island cabinetry.
Benjamin Moore, Ballet White, OC-9
Dana Wolter of Birmingham’s Dana Wolter Interiors turns to the balanced subtlety of Benjamin Moore’s Ballet White time and time again. “It’s one of my go-to colors when a clean, warm white is needed,” she says. "I like to cut the original formula in half to dilute the yellow just a bit. Even at 50%, it is warm enough to be paired with deep, rich colors such as burnt orange or slate gray.” What makes it a reliably beautiful shade? Ballet White’s warm undertones enable it to mix perfectly with many different colors and textures.
Farrow & Ball, Hague Blue, No. 30
Marie Flanigan Interiors of Houston, Texas recommends Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue when her clients are going for a dramatic look. “While I’m naturally drawn to light and bright walls, I turn to Hague Blue again and again when it’s time to make a statement,” she says. “It’s a dynamic color, looking equally vibrant or subdued based on the lighting of the space and the accompanying furnishings.” Where does it work best? Flanigan has used this bold, inky-blue shade in a client’s media room as well as a glamorous powder bath.
Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace, OC-65
“Whites can be tricky!” says Kara Miller, Owner of Kara Miller Interiors of Jupiter, Florida, which is why she recommends the dependably crisp Chantilly Lace to her clients. “Most of our palettes have fresh colors to them and they pair so well with Chantilly,” she says. “This is a great color for a large open concept room because it allows the main part of the home to breathe and gives you the opportunity to transition into more colorful secondary spaces, or those with wallcoverings.”
Farrow and Ball, Pigeon, No. 25
Designer Amber Brown Matlack of Oklahoma-based design firm Brown Interiors, Inc. trusts Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon to be beautiful every time. “This color works with so many different other colors—it can be used all over without being too overpowering, or it can be used as an accent,” she says. “It has both green and gray undertones and works best with warmer whites and color palettes.”
Kelly Moore, Zinc Dust, KM 4903
Houston-area designer Veronica Solomon of Casa Vilora Interiors designed this show-stopping bathroom using Kelly Moore’s Zink Dust on the walls. “This dark and moody gray was chosen as a wonderful backdrop for the patterns in the wallpaper and floor,” she says. “It helps to create a luxurious feeling in the bathroom.”
Farrow & Ball, Ball Green, No. 75
Lauren Liess of Lauren Liess & Co recommends another soulful Farrow & Ball shade of green: Ball Green. What makes this earthy shade a standout? A subtle hint of silver and a nod to history make it uniquely special. “This is a moody gray-green,” Liess says. “I love it because it instantly adds so much depth and a sense of age to a space.”
Sherwin-Williams, Nuance, SW 7049
Roger Higgins of Nashville’s R. Higgins Interiors relies on ‘Nuance’ as well as ‘Natural Choice' by Sherwin-Williams for his clients. “They are slightly muddy whites, not stark white, and really add a richness to millwork when introduced to other colors,” he says. “Using tones that are less harsh allows us to layer in traditional antiques and furnishings that are more textural or colorful, so the walls and trim aren’t competing with the other items in the room.”
Shade pictured: Sherwin-Williams, Nuance
Sherwin-Williams, Little Boy Blu, SW 9054
Nashville’s Tori Alexander of Alexander Interiors recommends Little Boy Blu by Sherwin-Williams as a go-to trim and wall shade, which coordinates perfectly with this bathroom’s woodsy wallpaper. “Little Boy Blu was selected for this space to create a peaceful and ethereal, yet polished master retreat,” she says. “When selecting a light blue, I lean toward a grey undertone to make certain it reads sophisticated rather than too precious.”
Farrow & Ball, Pink Ground, No. 202
When Dallas-based designer Lisa Henderson of Lisa Henderson Interiors is thinking pink, she relies on Farrow & Ball’s soothing shade of blush, Pink Ground. “Pink Ground is my go-to pink paint color,” she says. “It’s not too bright, but is soft and works in a range of rooms—bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms. I love that it's a soothing and a more 'grown-up' pink, but can be as equally beautiful in a nursery as well!”
More Ideas for Great Paint
Looking for even more ideas? To get the designer look, Xaykao recommends a handful of reliable neutral shades, including bright whites, creams, and grays. “White paint colors are an essential in a designer’s toolkit,” she says. “Most often, these are very clean, modern hues like Decorator’s White, OC-149, Chantilly Lace, OC-65 and White Heron, OC-57."
For a versatile greige, try the ever-popular color Revere Pewter, HC-172. “It is one of our most popular colors because it has just the right mix of gray and beige, and you can take the color into any direction,” she says. Xaykao also advises the use of neutrals with balanced warm and cool tones for dependable results. These include Edgecomb Gray, HC-173, Pashmina, AF-100 and Ballet White, OC-9.
Shade pictured on cabinetry: Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter