Tried-and-True Paint Palettes to Bookmark for Your Home
When it comes to paint options, the world is your oyster (or, in Benjamin Moore's world, it's your "Oystershell"). You can upgrade your walls, cabinets, and other furnishings with colors that range from quiet neutrals to hues that are bold and daring. Paint is transformative: In very little time, it turns the dull and drab into something that's truly spectacular—and, compared to other home projects, extremely affordable (to save even more money, make interior painting a DIY project). "Whether you want your space to feel more spacious, a bit brighter, or even more soothing, a new paint color can do the trick," says Caroline Harmon, a trend strategy manager for Lowe's.
When searching for your home's paint colors, keep an open mind: These days, gray is still going strong, but playful, friendly blue has captured many hearts, too. If you're wondering how to incorporate blue—the hottest color of the year, according to the Pantone Color Institute, which chose Classic Blue as its favorite—into a room without overtaking the space, pair it with neutral shades (beyond this blue-meets-neutral kitchen, you'll see a few more examples of how to use the shade in your home ahead). And don't be afraid of dark jewel tones—they'll be getting lots of love in 2020, explains Harmon.
For more examples of need-to-know-about colors and their best-possible shade pairings for your home, look to major paint manufacturers' websites, which offer handy guides for color matching. In the meantime, get inspired—and find the perfect paint palettes for your bedroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen, or office—with this selection, courtesy of our experts.
Lavender and Cream
Using the color wheel is a surefire way to figure out which hues work well together. In this sunny kitchen, three analogous colors—medium green (Flora on cabinets), light green (Fernwood Green on walls), and blue-black (Witching Hour on the door), plus white—create harmony, says Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager for Benjamin Moore. "The room looks fresh and balanced," she says.
White and Blue
White, ever the classic neutral, pairs with blue to create a contemporary look in an expansive living room. "Our approach was all about light and bright, using white for the walls, draperies, and rug to create a beautiful backdrop to the colorful design," says Newport Beach, California, interior designer Denise Morrison. As a result, the blue chairs and table really stand out.
This contemporary office owes its cool vibe to walls painted Sherwin-Williams' Urbane Bronze, a rich brown that pairs well with gray and ivory. "We wanted the space to look industrial," says John McClain, who uses the brand's paints for his projects. "Using a dark color in a small space helps to create the feeling that it's enveloping you."
Deep, velvety purple bedding and a burgundy bench play off dusty purple and light purple walls in this sumptuous retreat. "We used rich colors to create a cocoon-like environment so that the bedroom would feel similar to a hug," says Barnard.
Merlot, White, and Gray
When guests open the powder room door, they'll think they've stepped into a sparking jewelry box. Every surface—walls, ceiling, door, and window trim—is painted with Benjamin Moore's Dark Purple so there's no delineation, which unifies the look and "enlarges" the small space. A high-gloss finish makes the room glisten; the white sink and gray door provide balance.
By using a sandy color palette, says Barnard, this airy space feels fully integrated with the room's focal point: the bright blue ocean framed by the windows. Green accents (pillows, plants) echo nature for a calming and inspiring space. Artwork by Renae Barnard adds pops of color.
Neutrals with a Side of Mustard
To underscore the dining room's special architectural feature, Yeo says the walls were painted white (Benjamin Moore's Baby's Breath) and the trim beige (Balboa Mist) so the alcove could shine. Painted with the mustardy gold hue Marblehead Gold, the nook pops without being too simulating or distracting during dinner.
Blues and Greens
"This is a great way to use color in a teen's room," says Yeo. The walls are a soft blue by Benjamin Moore (Bird's Egg) with white trim and the charming set of drawers; their fronts are reminiscent of the colors of the ocean, and range from powder (Serenity) to dark blue (Clearest Ocean Blue). The painted white floor offers clean contrast—and mimics the palest-possible sand.
Green and White
Want your bathroom to make an of-the-moment, but organic statement? Paint beadboard and batten in a bold green such as Valspar's Wilderness and add gold accents (look to the towel hooks and frames seen here). "Keep the rest of the room light and neutral and the green will really shine," says Harmon.
Tonal Blues and Red
Rich, vibrant colors can work in a room that's in an otherwise neutral home, especially if the room is secluded. The library seen here uses three different shades from one color family: Benjamin Moore's blue (Lucerne) for the built-in bookshelves, a lighter iteration (Exhale) for the shelves' interiors, and a darker one (Soot) for the door. "Red accents bring the room together," says Yeo, "so it's not overly blue."
Layering color gives a room richness and depth. This bedroom, painted in Misty, a pale blue, offers the perfect base for more color, since it's so versatile. "Misty looks different in every environment we place it in," says McClain of the Sherwin-Williams hue. "Sometimes it has a green undertone, sometimes it's blue." Here, the shade is paired with bedding that's peachy-pink and gray, creating a pastel oasis.
Blue-Green and Earth Hues
Cabinets painted blue-green are this kitchen's lively focal point. The wood-and-gray hues ground the room keep the jewel tone from overwhelming the space. "When incorporating a lot of color, it's important to combine your designs with earthier tones to keep a space from looking too bright," says Morrison.
Gray and Honey
A gray-and-honey palette creates a warm, welcoming mood in this cozy bungalow's entryway. "The neutrals are an evolution from the all-gray palettes of recent years," explains Morrison. A rustic wood table and vase full of flowers add texture and keep this simple palette from falling flat.
This earthy bedroom is like an extension of the bountiful garden just beyond the French doors. Barnard used lighter and darker shades of green from the same color family on the walls, bedding, and draperies, which layers the look. A dark brown wood headboard and side table add warmth.