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A Guide to Neutral Paint Colors


Choosing the right neutral paint color can often feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are hundreds of whites, creams, and grays to choose from; yet the more you hunt, search, and sample, oftentimes they all start to look the same—and you’re left just hoping you make the right call.

Because we know how daunting this search can be, we asked Jo to put together a guide of her go-to neutral paint colors—including what makes each shade one she returns to again and again.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHADE OF WHITE

Like a blank canvas, white walls make for a great foundation that can be added to with patterns, colors, and textures.

SHIPLAPOpens in new tab by Magnolia Home

ShiplapOpens in new tab is a go-to white—it’s creamier and feels more comfortable in a space than a harsh, sterile white. It’s such a versatile shade that works well on walls, trim and cabinets. In bright, natural light, you can really notice the cream undertones. If you’re looking for a stark white, we recommend True WhiteOpens in new tab.

Walls—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—Shiplap in Matte Sheen
See more of this house hereOpens in new tab.

One Horn WhiteOpens in new tab is a warm, crisp white. It has a light beige tint, which really brings out its warm undertones.

Walls—One Horn White in Matte Sheen
Trim—One Horn White in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—One Horn White in Matte Sheen

See more of this house hereOpens in new tab.

Locally SownOpens in new tab is a warm white that’s a little bit darker than a classic white. It can sometimes read as beige depending on what kind of light it’s in. This shade is well-suited in a space with rich colors and textures.

Walls—Locally Sown in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—Shiplap in Matte Sheen

See more of this house: hereOpens in new tab.

BLANCHEDOpens in new tab by Magnolia Home

BlanchedOpens in new tab is best summed up as a traditional white with creamy beige undertones. Together, Blanched and Shiplap help create a timeless look throughout Hillcrest Estate, one of our vacation rentals here in Waco.

Walls—Blanched in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—Shiplap in Matte Sheen

See more of Hillcrest Estate hereOpens in new tab.


CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHADE OF GRAY

Gray is a slightly bolder foundational color, and the right shade can help add depth to any space. It also makes for a great neutral color for trim and cabinets.

YARNOpens in new tab by Magnolia Home

YarnOpens in new tab is a blend of beige and gray—a staple “greige” that's ideal for bedrooms because it creates a light, yet cozy color in both natural light and artificial light.

Walls—Yarn in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen

See more of Hillcrest Estate hereOpens in new tab.

Sunday StrollOpens in new tab is a true gray with a hint of beige, and just one shade darker than Yarn. This color really stands out in a room with lots of natural light.

Cabinet—Sunday Stroll in Eggshell Sheen
Walls—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—Shiplap in Matte Sheen

See more of this house: hereOpens in new tab.

GatheringsOpens in new tab, a medium-toned gray brings a warm, mature color to walls. It’s a lighter blend of gray and beige (another “greige” shade). Here, it’s paired with Shiplap for the ceiling and trim, which really brings out its warmer undertones.

Walls—Gathering in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Ceiling—Shiplap in Matte Sheen

See more of this house: hereOpens in new tab.

On the cabinets in this laundry room is the shade Quaint CottageOpens in new tab—a cloudy hazel mixed with oatmeal beige. This color tends to read a little warmer due to its green undertones.

Cabinet—Quaint Cottage in Eggshell Sheen
Walls—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Quaint Cottage in Eggshell Sheen

See more of this house hereOpens in new tab.

Garden TrowelOpens in new tab is an earth-toned gray accented with olive green and cocoa. Since this is a deep charcoal gray, it’s great for when you want to make a statement, such as on an exterior trim or a bathroom vanity. This shade is dark enough to add definition, and provides a nice contrast to nearly any shade of white.

Left photo:
Trim—Garden Trowel in Matte Sheen
Brick—Sherwin Williams Dover White in Eggshell Sheen
Similar Magnolia Home Exterior Color—Pearly Cotton in Matte Sheen

Right photo:
Vanity—Garden Trowel in Eggshell Sheen
Walls—Shiplap in Eggshell Sheen
Trim—Shiplap in Matte Sheen

We hope this guide helps you navigate your next paint project with colors you feel good about. Be on the lookout for a guide to non-neutral colors coming soon!