Last year, when we were building our home, I stressed out over paint colors. Secretly, I have a theory that the more you stress out over paint colors, the happier you are with the end result. I don’t know why it works out like this, but mark my words—a hastily selected paint color will never end up well.
I knew that getting the paint colors right in our new home was going to be super important. I’ve shown quick shots here and there over on Instagram and so many of you have asked me to share information about the paint color we used. So I put together this post to go super in-depth as to why we selected each color, and what alternatives we looked at. Here is my personal home paint color palette!
Let’s start with the outside. Years ago, we had a red brick home that I adored. When we got tired of the red brick, I painstakingly choose a gray color to paint the brick. I love painted brick homes. There is something so Southern about them. The requirements for this color were steep: I wanted it to look almost white in bright sunlight. But it still had to be warm. No yellow undertones—I didn’t want a cream house. Not too gray—I didn’t want a blue house. We ended up with Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray and I have used this color on four homes since. It ALWAYS works. People drove by the house and knocked on the door to ask what color it was. If you are looking to paint brick, you won’t go wrong with Agreeable Gray.
We needed a white trim color to complement it, and my painter suggested Sherwin Williams Snowbound. While this WAS a quick decision, it was one of the few quick paint decisions in my life that worked. The perfect combination of Snowbound and Agreeable Gray will charm your socks off. As far as accent colors go, on that house, we used Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray on the shutters.
On our current house, I wanted something that would pop a little bit more, and echo the cool tones we have going on inside the house, so we went with Benjamin Moore Greyhound. I had seen Greyhound used by the team at Studio McGee and wanted to try it ever since. It just felt so English, you know? Not gray, not green with a hint of blue. The paint chip was looking a lot darker, but not being a believer in paint chips, we went for it. On the exterior of our house, the color went a lot more blue, which I don’t mind at all, and it is definitely a blue-green.
If you’re looking for something blue-er, but not too blue for the outside of a home, I recommend Pratt and Lambert’s Contemplation. A longtime go-to for me on walls that need to be warm and soothing at the same time, Contemplation turns the prettiest color of rich but not bright French Blue on the outside of a home. Think blue shutters on a chateau in France.
Next, moving inside our home, I wanted to keep in mind current trends. Gray and white, right? It’s everywhere! I have a pet peeve, though: anything that looks too sterile. This means anything that goes too stark white, and if you pair it with stark gray, which seems to be the builder-grade go-to right now, you’re just left with too much contrast and too much coldness.
Here’s one thing I do like about gray, though: it’s long since been used in timeless interiors as a trim color. When I was first starting my stationery company years ago, an older woman in Oklahoma City befriended me. She was giving me a tour of their charming 1940’s home in Nichols Hills and telling the stories as she went. The home has since been torn down, with its charming bedrooms under the eaves, but one thing she pointed out to me was the gray trim. It was old school, she explained. My eye wasn’t mature enough yet to understand what gray trim being timeless meant, but obviously her words stuck with me.
I know white trim is popular, but as a mama with young kids who don’t yet have a hang of the idea of washing their hands and not dragging syrup up stair bannisters, I can tell you white trim wasn’t working out really well for our family. We’ve been through a couple of homes in the past few years, and the white kitchens got dirty fast. So I wanted a kitchen that was bright, warm, and wouldn’t get dirty quickly.
I had used Benjamin Moore Pale Oak for walls in the past. I first heard about this color from my friend Shannon Ho, who used it in the studio space at her home. Using it for trim was a risk, though. I couldn’t find any pictures of it being used as trim and was nervous as heck to paint a whole house in gray trim. We went for it, though, and oh my goodness, am I thrilled. We paired it with Benjamin Moore White Dove for the walls, and the undertones of the two work together perfectly.
White Dove was another color I had to spend some time thinking about. I love the brightness of white walls, but I wanted them to be warm, because I wanted to decorate with a lot of neutrals, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to warm up rooms with color. But again, trying to find a warm white that doesn’t go too yellow or too gray can be tricky, but White Dove did the trick. Our walls are WHITE, but not so white that they look sterile. And so kid-friendly, too, because it all still hides a little bit of dirt.
We chose to go with white walls throughout the house because I wanted to wallpaper several rooms. The one exception was my daughter’s room, which we painted Sherwin Williams Pinkish, another choice I was delighted with. It’s a warm room, so sweet and charming, and pairs well with the gray trim. All her furniture actually ended up being gray as well, and her room is coming together like I would imagine a charming English nursery would come together—just don’t tell her. She has actually picked out some Biscuit Home bedding that I think will be just the right bit of contrast for her room, but more on that in another post.
And then I went a little bit crazy with accent colors on woodwork. With all-white walls, there was room to play with cabinetry in each room. The mudroom, powder room, and boys room were painted Benjamin Moore Rushing River. I wanted a darker color to hide the dirt but didn’t want to go so blue that it would look navy. I love how the green tones of Rushing River pair well with all my blue rugs.
The kitchen island is Benjamin Moore Tranquility. This was another risking move. I couldn’t find many pictures of this color online, and nothing on woodwork. But it has been SO perfect on the island, I’m tempted to paint the rest of the kitchen cabinets this color as well, just to bring some blue into the upper spaces of the room.
We went with Benjamin Moore Silver Song for the kids’ bathroom and our utility room. This has been a nice choice: it comes off as a green-gray in both rooms, darker in our laundry room because of lower light and brighter in the kids’ bathroom. We went with chrome sconces in the kids’ bathroom, and I’m really happy with how the undertones of this paint color work well with the chrome.
Our master bathroom cabinetry is Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp. This is the loveliest color of gray-blue, although if I did it again, I think I may have gone a shade lighter.
Two colors we haven’t used, but I have long since loved are Pratt & Lambert’s Contemplation and Restoration Hardware Silver Sage. I’ve included both of these on my palette just for reference.
One final note I would add: on screens, these colors come off in the graphic as green. While some of them lean more towards green (Rushing River and Greyhound), most of them have strong blue undertones and will pair well with blues. Contemplation is especially blue on walls if you’re looking for a blue color.
My favorite choice of all of these has been the surprising choice of Pale Oak for trim and doors and White Dove for walls. The gray on the trim and doors just takes everything up a notch, makes things seem so much more sophisticated, and if you’re building a spec home or redoing an older home and getting all your woodwork done at one time, I would highly suggest using this combination as a refreshingly updated neutral base as your palette!
Next week, I’m going to share three common paint mistakes you’ll want to avoid. I’ve learned some of these the hard way over the years so I’m excited to offer you my hard-won tactics!