7 Paint Colors that Work (Almost) Anywhere

Paint Colors That Work AnywhereA living room by Bossy Color featuring Benjamin Moore’s HC-45 Shaker Beige. Photo by Mike Morgan Photography.

While a room can always be re-painted, it’s always preferable to get the color right on the first try. In addition to saving you a lot of time, money, and trips to the paint store, enlisting an expert will make sure you pick a hue that sets the perfect tone for your space. Annie Elliott, principal designer and CEO at Washington, D.C.-based interior design firm Bossy Color, has built a career around color, putting it at the forefront of her process and work. Here, she shares seven paint colors that will work practically anywhere.

Whispering Spring, Benjamin Moore (2136-70): This is a pretty light blue that still has some oomph. This is one of my favorite colors for bathrooms because the light blue makes disparate whites look crisper and more similar. Try it:  In your bathroom or bedroom.

Rectory Red, Farrow & Ball (217): I love this red because of its pink undertone. Orange reds can veer towards muddy brick, but pink-toned reds always look fresh. Try it: In your dining room.

Gentleman’s Gray, Benjamin Moore (2062-20): A very distinguished deep blue-grey, this color has just a hint of green, which disqualifies it as a “bright navy” (which Bossy Color declared the color of the year for 2015 in response to the travesty that is Pantone’s Marsala). But it’s a gorgeous color nonetheless. Try it: In your bedroom or library.

Windham Cream, Benjamin Moore (HC-6): This is one of my longtime favorites. It’s yellow enough to be interesting, but creamy enough to be versatile. Windham Cream looks especially great in homes with traditional architecture. Try it: Anywhere, but especially in your foyer/stairwell.

Clinton Brown, Benjamin Moore (HC-67): A strong, dark, dry brown, Clinton Brown has very little red, which makes it quite versatile. Try it: In your vestibule or mudroom.

Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore (HC-172): Even though this light grey has warm undertones, it holds its grey-ness in most situations. In other words, it doesn’t go beige. Try it: In your family room.

Chappell Green, Farrow & Ball (83): A mid-tone green that’s as soothing as sage without being dull. Try it: In your kitchen.

Of course, even designer paint picks need to be sampled. Elliott recommends painting 2′ x 2′ square paint swatches on the wall (or on several walls, if possible) before committing to a color.

TSG Tip 218 from Annie Elliott of Bossy Color, adapted from Bossy Color’s design resource, “7 Colors that Work (Almost) Anywhere.” Download the full resource guide and see examples of the colors listed above here. Bossy Color is featured in The Scout Guide Washington, D.C.