The All-Time Best Paint Colors, According to Real Simple Home Designers

You can't go wrong with White Pepper by Valspar–or any of these other pro-approved hues.

2020 Real Simple Home Tour: Sideboard
Photo: Christopher Testani

If you've ever spent hours meticulously painting a room only to take a step back and wish you'd gone with a different hue, then you know how difficult choosing the perfect paint color can be. To help take some of the guesswork out of the process, we asked the interior designers behind the 2020 Real Simple Home for their go-to hues. In the living room of the Real Simple Home (pictured above), designer Max Humphrey painted the top portion of the wall in Drizzle by Behr.

These are the fail-proof paint colors they've used in project after project—and have even incorporated into their own homes.

01 of 10

Classic by Clare

light gray paint color

"While I love color in all spaces I design, sometimes a great neutral provides the perfect backdrop to injecting the rest of the space with full-on color," says designer Joy Cho of Oh Joy! "I am obsessed with Classic by Clare, which is a very pale grey that reads white but has a lovely warmth to it."

02 of 10

Make Waves by Clare

a green-blue paint swatch by Clare

"I love this paint color. It's calming, nature-inspired, and the perfect addition to turn a space into a zen sanctuary," says Dayna Isom Johnson, the trend expert at Etsy and the designer behind the library and meditation room at the RS Home.

03 of 10

Hamilton Blue by Benjamin Moore

Hamilton blue deep blue paint swatch
Benjamin Moore

"Benjamin Moore's Hamilton Blue is a favorite medium-deep blue paint color," says designer Max Humphrey, who designed the open living room/dining room in the Real Simple Home. "I've used it for kitchen cabinets and wainscot in a shiny finish, as well as flat wall paint in family rooms—it's super versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on what neutrals it's paired with."

04 of 10

Tate Olive by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Tate Olive green paint swatch
Benjamin Moore

"Benjamin Moore's Tate Olive is another favorite because it can be used in really modern settings as well as traditional rooms," Humphrey explains. Pro tip: "It looks awesome paired with brass accents and camel-colored leather."

05 of 10

Ballet Slippers by Benjamin Moore

Ballet slipper pink paint swatch
Benjamin Moore

"Benjamin Moore's Ballet Slippers is my go-to pink paint color. I had a client's laundry room painted this color, because if you have to do laundry, why not do it in a bright pink room?" says Humphrey. We couldn't agree more.

06 of 10

White Pepper by Valspar

off white with undertones of gray and purple paint swatch

"I love Valspar's White Pepper," says artist and designer Rebecca Atwood. "We used it in my showroom on Mott St. for the millwork. It reads as gray against the white walls and has a slightly purple cast to it. I feel like it's this dreamy cloud-like color."

07 of 10

Pink Ground by Farrow & Ball

Pink ground light pink paint swatch
Farrow & Ball

"I also love Pink Ground by Farrow and Ball. It's peachy and happy. I used it in my own bathroom," says Atwood. For powder rooms or bedrooms, this is a sophisticated shade of pink.

08 of 10

Calm by Benjamin Moore

White paint swatch
Benjamin Moore

Interior designer Kate Hamilton Gray, who paired up with Rebecca Atwood to make over the main bedroom in the Real Simple Home, describes Benjamin Moore's Calm as "a beautiful soft neutral for bedrooms. It's warm without feeling too creamy or beige."

09 of 10

Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore

bright white paint swatch by Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore

"Chantilly Lace is my favorite clean white. It works well in many different light conditions," explains Hamilton Gray. You can't go wrong with this crisp white paint in any room of the house.

10 of 10

Parma Gray by Farrow & Ball

gray paint swatch
Farrow & Ball

Designer Roxy Te, the founder of Society Social and the designer of the terrace in the Real Simple Home, lists Parma Gray as a foolproof paint pick. "It's actually a soft blue that looks beautiful as an accent or an all-over color. We've painted our shutters and our entire playroom in this paint!"

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