The 15 Neutral Paint Colors Interior Designers Always Use


Timeless design can feel elusive—you know it when you see it, but giving the exact words to what makes a long-lasting piece or a classic color endure can feel hard to pin down. While maximalism, saturated color palettes, and bright and cheery décor have kept many of us energized and inspired during the past year and a half, there’s an undeniable elegance to be found in choosing the perfect neutral paint colors for your space.

And because there’s nothing more fun than switching up the look and feel of our homes on a whim, the good news is that opting for a neutral backdrop helps maintain a grounding consistency even as shifting tastes and the changing of the seasons inspires new artwork, fabrics, and furniture. Neutrals provide you with the creative freedom to explore different vibes and try on various aesthetics because when it comes to these paint colors, the options are truly endless.

To help you navigate the wide (and sometimes intimidating) world of neutral paint colors, we tapped several trusted interior designers—Kim Lapin, Arvin Olano, Nicole Salceda, Killy Scheer, Shaolin LowSarah Stacey, Stefani Stein, Elizabeth Gill, Lauren Meichtry, and Erin Hiemstra—to share their expert advice. Keep reading to get their guidance on choosing the right hues for your home, plus all the details on their personal faves.

Feature image by Justin Chung for Lauren Moore.

Neutrals are a welcome departure from the ever-changing cycle of interior trends.

Timelessness implies an ability to withstand the pull of fads, and while in certain contexts “neutral” can seem synonymous with being dull or uninspiring, each of our designers pointed to the possibilities of application and intention that neutrals allow. Hiemstra reminded us that, when designing a room, you have to consider the neutral as an essential element. With the color as a foundation, neutrals can be used to create a color scheme or layer in an array of cohesive textures.

Olano agreed, pointing out that with neutrals, you can use a mix of materials throughout your home to bring interest to the space. Muted tones provide plenty of opportunities to build depth through contrasting accessories or art, and because timeless style provides the freedom to grow and change with your space, Lapin noted that you can explore leaning into the variety of emotions and feelings neutrals can evoke.

Without further ado, here are our experts’ picks for neutral paint colors that are anything but boring.


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