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My “Go To” Paint Colors

My favorite paint colors that work in almost every home I go to

Over the last several years, I’ve been in hundreds of homes selecting paint colors.  I thought it might be helpful to share the colors that seem to work the best in most homes…all in one place.

My go to paint colors that work in almost every home

These color tend to be the most versatile in that they just work in most rooms, and my customers love them.


My go to paint colorsI’ve written many paint color articles with themes by color, but never have I shared my favorites all in one place.  I’ve organized this by color, and then if I have more detailed articles on that palette, I’ve linked to those articles so you can get more details.


Please note that this article contains affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.


My Go To Paint Colors – 18 colors that just work

Yes, I know 18 sounds like a lot, but this is because they are different people like different colors.  So I’ve gathered my favorite grays/greiges, beiges, blues, navy colors, greens as well as the best black and whites.


My “Go To” Gray and Greige Paint Shades

By far, the most popular paint color continues to be gray…and greige.  Lately, the shift has been away from cool grays and towards warm grays and greiges.  Greige is a mixture of gray and beige.


Lately, my favorite two warm grays (or greiges…they are pretty much synonyms) are Agreeable Gray and Repose Gray..

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray SW7029 - warm greige for north facing room     Sherwin Williams Repose Gray SW7015 - popular greie alternative to Agreeable Gray

As you can see these are both a mixture of gray and beige. Agreeable Gray is a bit more beige.  I’d say it’s smack dab in the middle of these two colors, so it’s a mix of warm and cool grays.  Repose Gray is very similar, but slightly more gray, so a bit cooler.

Agreeable Gray Paint in living room - SW7029 - a go to paint color

Both of these colors are very versatile and tend to work with both warm and cool shades in the room.  They also go well with almost any hardwood floor color – both dark and light, and even red toned floors.

agreeable gray in bathroom   SW Agreeable Gary in bathroom with navy cabinets

These colors are pretty much fail safe and work in almost every home I go to.  But, I would check out both to see which you prefer and how it looks in your home with your lighting.


The above pictures are all Agreeable Gray.  This picture below is Repose Gray (source).  Remember that the lighting always looks different in pictures, and this makes it look like Repose Gray is lighter than Agreeable Gray, but it isn’t.  It is ever so slightly darker (Light Reflective value of 58 for Repose Gray an 60 for Agreeable Gray).

Repose Gray a versatile greige


This second picture of Repose Gray is a bit more reflective of the “lightness,” but in real life it comes out a bit lighter than this picture shows.

Repose Gray SW7015 in Master bedroom

You can read more about about warm grays in these articles:


If you’re looking for cool grays, my two favorites are Gray Screen and Olympus White.  Gray screen is exactly what you think of when you think of a cool gray.  It has blue undertones.  (By the way, it is the perfect base color if you want to do Navy accent wall which has become very popular these days).


If you want a lighter cool gray, check out Olympus White.

Sherwin Williams Gray Screen SW7071 - cool gray paint shades   Sherwin Williams Olympus White SW6253 - grey shades of paint that are cool neutrals


Gray Screen was Sherwin Williams #1 color in 2016, so it’s very popular.  As warmer grays have become more popular, Gray Screen has dropped a bit, but it’s still in their top 20 paint shades


Sherwin Williams Silverpointe SW7653 - light warm greyAnd, one of of my other favorite grays is Silverpointe. It’s rally halfway in the middle of cool grays and warm grays. It has some green undertones to both warm it up a bit and make it more versatile.


It tends to warm up the room an bring in both warm an cool colors.


You can read more about about warm grays in these articles:


My “Go To” White Paint Shades

For some reason, lots of people get confused with whites.  Maybe that’s because there are over 150 of them.  Basically, you just need to figure out if you want a warm white or a cool white…or a white white.


This really just depends on what other colors you have in the room and your preference.  Oh, and stay away from anything too yellow.  My 3 favorite whites are 1) Alabaster (warm white), 2) Snowbound (cool white) and 3) Eider (very pale gray).  Oh, and if you want a white white, go for Extra White.

Sherwin Williams Alabaster - white shades of paint for shiplap   Sherwin Williams Snowbound SW 7004  Sherwin Williams Eider SW 7014

Here are some pictures of Alabaster (SW 7008).

go to paint color - Alabaster in Living room

Kitchen with shiplap walls painted in Alabaster SW 7008

black and white bedroom for teenager with Alabaster painted walls


And, the following one is Snowbound (SW 7004).  (I don’t have a good picture for Eider)

Snowbound SW 7004 in living room


Related articles:

Paint Samples

Now, let’s talk about samples…

It’s always best to test the paint colors in you own home and own lighting. The colors do look different pending your lighting and can even look different room to room.


You can definitely go to your local painting store to buy some samples (and a brush…be sure to paint with 2 coats), but I have a MUCH EASIER way for you. Check out SAMPLIZE.


paint sample from sampize


Samplize offers 12” x 12” peel and stick paint samples that are EASIER, AFFORDABLE and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.


Here are a few reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients:

  • Samples come right to YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, pending on location
  • At $5.95, they’re more affordable than the samples/brushes/foam boards than traditional samples…and of course easier and way less messy
  • If you keep the samples on the white paper, you can move them from wall to wall and room to room


They are amazingly accurate as they are made with 2 coats of real paint, so they are color correct.


Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE.


Do you need any paint shade fan decks?

Amazon can help with that. It’s so much easier when you have the full color wheels and can see all of these in your own home (vs. going back and forth to the store MULTIPLE times).

Sherwin Williams Benjamin Moore
Sherwin Williams fan deck | best warm grays and greiges How to find the best grays, greiges and warm greys

My “Go To” Blue Shades

I love blues. They are so peaceful and calming. And, when used in bedrooms they lead to a better night’s sleep.  Many blues work and everyone has their own preferences for blues, pending on how light they want it or which undertones they prefer.

go to paint shades - mild blue in bedroom

But, these 3 paints tend to work the best with my customers. Mild Blue and Icelandic if you’re looking for a light, but sophisticated blue.  If you’re looking a slight darker blue (but not too dark), Blissful Blue is a wonderful choice.

Kitchen with Icelandic from Sherwin Williams

All 3 of these blue shades work well with both dark and light shades.  I love blues because they tend to go with almost every shade of hardwood, even gray and whitewashes.

Mild blue SW 6533 - one of my go to paint colors  Sherwin Williams Icelandic SW 6526

Blissful blue Sherwin Williams


In this section, the first room scene (above) is Mild Blue, followed by Icelandic. The picture below is Blissful Blue.

Blissful Blue from Sherwin Williams in bedroom

You can read more about about blue paint shades in these articles:


My “Go To” Navy and Black Shades

Navy has become super stylish today.  It’s so popular that it’s almost become a neutral.  It’s a dramatic neutral.  My 2 favorite navy shades are Commodore and Naval.  I love Commodore because it has a bit more blue, so it’s a tad lighter and reads as a navy blue (rather than some shades that look black especially at night).

navy blue - Sherwin Williams Commodore

Sherwin Williams Commodore in master bedroom


Naval is a bit darker and is a true navy.  Both of these colors look amazing with white trim (do not use an off white as it will look cheaper).

Naval SW 6244 from Sherwin Wlliams

Navy bedroom - SW Naval SW 6244


Now, if you’re looking for a color with even more drama, consider Tricorn Black.  This color is hot!  It’s great for dining rooms, powder rooms and it is an awesome accent wall color.  It’s a dramatic black that is softened with a bit of gray to give it more depth and character.  They are showing this everywhere and it’s in Sherwin Williams Top 20 paint shades.

Tricorn Black SW 6258 from Sherwin Williams


Tricorn black SW 6258 in bathroom - black and white


bedroom wth Tricorn Black accent wall


Master bedroom painted in Tricorn Black SW 6258

You can read more about about navy and dramatic paint shades in these articles:


Before I cover the green and beige paint colors, I wanted to share a VERY helpful video from Sherwin Williams, with some quick and super useful DIY painting tips. It’s just 2 minutes and covers types of brushes and painting techniques. Also, towards the end of this article, I share the painting tools and accessories that we use (with links to buy them on Amazon).

Sherwin Williams and Pottery Barn Painting tips for DIY homeowners


My “Go To” Green Shades

I find greens one of the most difficult colors to work with when it comes to paint.  It’s so easy to get one that’s to green or too minty or one that clashes with the other greens in the room.


But, I have found Sea Salt the easiest to work with as it’s light and neutral and perfect for a Farmhouse look.  I love this color and it sepecially works well for bedrooms and bathrooms/powder rooms.  The color is just soothing and the subtle pop of color provides some visual intrigue when you want to go beyond gray or greige.

Sherwin Williams Sea Salt SW 6204

best paint shades for bedrooms - aquas and coastal colors


If you want to go a tad darker, try Rainwashed.  It also works really well.

rainwashed SW 6211

bedroom with shiplap painted with SW Rainwashed

My “Go To” Beige Paint Shades

Beige is a bit out of style these days, as it warm and sometimes dirty looking.  More people these days prefer greige, a mix of beige and gray (see above).  I’m personally not a huge fan of beige as I find most have too much yellow, too much tan or pink/peach undertones.


That aside, I have 2 “go to” beige shades that are neutral and filter out the pinks, peaches and tans.  So, if you’re a big beige fan…or it it just goes with your furniture or decor check out Accessible Beige and Shiitake.  Accessible Beige is fresh and up to date. But, now Shiitake has really grown on me.  It’s a little darker, but it has more depth in color, so it filters out those undertones even better.

Sherwin Williams Accessible beige - go to paint color


Shiitake SW 9173 from Sherwin Wlliams


best beige - Sherwin Williams Shiitake

Final thoughts

My go to paint colorsI don’t mean to imply that these are the only paint shades I use or recommend.  Every home and homeowner is different. You have to look at your lighting, your preference, your decor/furniture and see what works best. But, I have found these colors to work most often in the majority of the homes I visit.  I hope these standby colors work for you and make your decision making process faster and simpler.  And, please test, test, test with samples.


Helpful tools if you are going to paint yourself

Here are some painting tools that may come in handy if you’re going to do the painting yourself. Also, be sure to check out my article on the Top 10 DIY Painting mistakes and how to avoid them. The products below can be found on Amazon and delivered straight to your door.

  • Painting brush – this one costs a bit more, but it’s totally worth it. It will help you paint faster and more accurately. If you’re going to paint yourself, don’t skimp here. Incidentally, this is Amazon’s Choice as well.
  • Painter’s tape – a must have. Use for all the trim as well as ceiling area
  • Paint roller kit – this includes a tray. Use the brush for the edges and the roller for main areas of the wall (and ceiling).
  • Drop cloths – Yes, you’ll need them for sure. Some people have some on hand, but often not enough if you are doing many rooms.


Do you need any paint shade fan decks?

Amazon can help with that. It’s so much easier when you have the full color wheels and can see all of these in your own home (vs. going back and forth to the store MULTIPLE times).

Sherwin Williams Benjamin Moore
Sherwin Williams paint colors and how to find the best warm gray

Related paint shade articles


My “Go To” Paint Colors

9 thoughts on “My “Go To” Paint Colors”

  1. Hello,
    I wanted to know if you could give me a few suggestions on what color to paint my living room walls. I live in an apt. My windows face east, so I don’t get a lot of like when it is not sunny out. I am going for is an ocean theme in my living room.
    Do you have suggestions that would work best?
    Thank you for your time.

    1. Angela – I would try agreeable gray or open air for the east areas, since they get less light. check out this article for north facing rooms (east rooms follow similar light patterns.

  2. I really love greens and blues. I particularly liked the Sherwin Williams “Mild Blue” and for the greens, “Sea Salt” was a stunner.

  3. Wow! Great color choices. I particularly like the idea of using a light gray paint like “Gray Screen” on the other walls when you have a dark blue accent wall. A much smoother transition than pure white.

  4. Really love Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. Don’t know that I’d have the courage to use it in my home though. Might be a bit over-the-top for me. But the gray hue really is a stand-out.

  5. Hi from Baltimore, found your great website while choosing kitchen color. Any ideas on countertop colors that play well with maple kitchen cabinets? I’m thinking dark green, and hope we can find a distributor in the DC/Balt area that can help us. We just painted w/ “Windham Cream” by Benj. Moore.

    1. Don – Thanks so much. I’m not an expert on countertops, but I would think that greens and whites can work well. If you do whites, don’t do granite,but do quartz instead. Also, blues can work, but they tend to get much more expensive. There’s a beautiful green/blue I showed my mom a few years ago, but I forget the name. It’s a bit more expensive than your basic Ubatuba, but still in reasonable price range.

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