The 10 Best Neutral Paint Colors for Any Room in Your Home

These designer picks go well beyond white and beige.

benjamin moore hale navy library

They used to take a backseat, but today's neutrals are leading the way in unexpected directions. Lilac, navy, and Estruscan red join the ranks of white, gray, and beige — and the result couldn't be more stunning.

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benjamin moore revere pewter HC-172​​
Lara Robby/Studio D
Pewter Neutral

Designer recommends using this greige color in large open spaces with turquoise, scarlet, or tangerine accents. "The warmth of this gray comes from the addition of a splash of beige and it feels as comforting as a bowl of homemade chicken soup," he says.

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More: Paint Your Room With One of These 15 Calming Colors

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benjamin moore huntington white dc-02
Lara Robby/Studio D
White Neutral

Since this white color is dead center between warm and cool, designer says it will work equally well in traditional and modern settings. "I am historically prone to a neutral palette, and this white has been my go-to for years. It's a chameleon, taking on subtle changes in shade over the course of the day," she says.

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benjamin moore gray 2121-10​​
Lara Robby/Studio D
Gray Neutral

Since this saturated gray-brown-black reads as black, but not quite as hard, it's easy to live with in any room, designer Peter Dun says: "It's not that intense fortune-teller black but soft and sun-bleached, with depth and mystery. In a matte finish, it looks like a slightly smeared blackboard."

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More: The 35 Best Shades of Gray Paint You'll Ever Use

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sherwin-williams doeskin sw 6044​
Lara Robby/Studio D
Mauve Neutral

Designer says this mauvey taupe is as warm as a cable-knit cashmere sweater, which is why he recommends using it all over a bedroom, not only on the walls. "It would turn the room into a cocoon ... very peaceful. Bring in ivory, gray, eggplant, or chocolate for contrast," he says.

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donald kaufman color dkc-17
Lara Robby/Studio D
Red Neutral

Since this bold color is the same earthy red that you see in pre-Columbian art, or an Etruscan mural, or a Turkish rug, it's surprisingly neutral and goes with anything, says designer : "We used it in our front hall as a backdrop to a Chinese coromandel screen and a huge African wooden sculpture. It creates this incredibly warm, inviting entry that draws you into the rest of the house."

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More: 13 Cool Shades of Red Paint for Every Style

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farrow & ball pale powder 204
Lara Robby/Studio D
Blue Neutral

According to designer , for a house in the country or by the sea, aqua is the new white and is the perfect complement to greenery or an ocean view. "The idea is for the wall color to be quiet so it can blend seamlessly with the outdoors. This blue-green is a pastel with personality. Keep the overall feeling serene with light floors, white trim, a touch of deeper aqua, and a few dark accents to anchor the room," he says.

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benjamin moore hush af-95
Lara Robby/Studio D
Beige Neutral

Beige is designer s dependable neutral that marries any white, even a white gone wrong. “Years ago, a Fiorucci salesperson stared at my all-beige outfit and said, 'Well, beige is the rage.' I say yes! Best on walls in washable matte, this changes hues with the light, warms a chilly entry hall, and whispers 'Shhh' in the master suite. It’s nearly foolproof," he says.

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sherwin-williams wallflower sw 6281
Lara Robby/Studio D
Lilac Neutral

Although typically considered feminine, designer says lilac performs beautifully as a neutral when paired with strong, deep colors like charcoal, black, or navy. "This shade is the perfect balance of saturation and tone, like seeing a sunset through a soft filter. Try it in unexpected applications — the ceiling of a moody, masculine library; the interior of creamy cabinetry in a kitchen," she says.

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farrow & ball stony ground 211
Lara Robby/Studio D
Stone Neutral

This is one of those chameleon colors that can read as gray, taupe, or green, depending on the light, according to designer . "I’d use it in a matte finish on walls, where it would be a great foil to warm whites, or in a high-gloss finish on trim," she says.

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benjamin moore barista af-175
Lara Robby/Studio D
Brown Neutral

People always think neutral means beige, but designer says beige isn’t a neutral it's "blah blah blah." Instead, he recommends looking to nature for inspiration: "You’ll see forest green, sky blue, and this luscious brown, which also reminds me of a melting pot of chocolate. I have used it in foyers, dining rooms, and even in my own bedroom. For a crisp effect, paint the ceiling and trim a bright white."

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