25 No-Fail Paint Colors, Picked by Interior Designers

living room with chaise illustration
Photo: iStock
From subtle to bold, these designer-approved hues are guaranteed to look good.

If you've ever stood in front of a display of thousands of paint chips, you know this: the possibilities are endless! So how do you narrow things down with a world of color at your fingertips? It's simple—just ask the experts. We reached out to interior designers all over the country to share their tried-and-true colors for every room in your home. From striking, dramatic hues to easy, versatile neutrals, we matched their picks with Sherwin-Williams® swatches to make it simple to find the perfect shade. And if you want to preview how they'd look in your humble abode, you can even test your favorites with the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap® Visualizer, which lets you virtually paint an image of any room—no brush required.

Living Room

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Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt

Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt SW 6204

“A gorgeous green-gray is a livable neutral that acts like a chameleon, taking on different tones as the sun travels over the sky. Sea Salt is a breezy, beautiful color that puts you at ease." —Phoebe Schuh, PS and Daughters, Philadelphia, PA

Sherwin-Williams Pearly White

Sherwin-Williams Pearly White SW 7009

“I like to stay neutral in living rooms; our daily lives can be crazy and colorful enough that we don't want to be overwhelmed with walls in the latest color trend! A warm but subtle 'greige' is the perfect soothing neutral for any scheme—and then you can let your family life and accents provide the color pops." —Allison Lind, Allison Lind Interiors, Seattle, WA

Sherwin-Williams Watery SW 6478

“A paler shade of teal can work well in a home that doesn't have a lot of bright colors. Watery feels young and fresh and fun. It can liven up a room, but is enough of a neutral for a person who's afraid of color." —Schuh

Sherwin-Williams Universal Khaki SW 6150

“I love Sherwin-Williams Universal Khaki. It's a warm neutral that's not too gold, so it works well in a transitional or modern room. Tan paint gets a bad rap, but it's a livable hue that's easy to change up with accessories. Plus, it's a great connector color if you have a hallway that continues up stairs or leads to bedrooms in different shades." —Libby Langdon, Libby Langdon Interiors, New York, NY

Sherwin-Williams Pure White SW 7005

“We're both firm believers that white walls can make a bold statement, and Sherwin-Williams Pure White is a perfect, whole-milk white. We love it for walls, trim, cabinetry and furniture. It feels both modern and timeless. It's especially lovely when you use it in flat on the walls and semigloss on the trim in the same room—it's such a subtle way to make a statement that everyone notices and loves, even though they aren't sure why." —Valentina Pollard and Rhiannon Fowler, Collective Charm Co., Austin, TX, and Brooklyn, NY


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Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige SW 7036

“For a more muted space, I love a mauve-gray. It goes well with other grays, peach and pale pinks. Then I like to use the same color in a glossier finish for trim around doors, baseboards and crown molding." —Annie Napoliello, Brontosaurus Inc., Brooklyn, NY

Sherwin-Williams Black Magic SW 6991

“Some people think I'm crazy, but I swear by matte black walls in a bedroom! It works surprisingly well, whether you have lots of light or not—in daylight, it lightens up to a warm charcoal, and at night, it makes lamplight glow. Whether it contrasts against ivory linen or wood furnishings, it's an excellent way to create a cozy space with interest and depth." —Lind

Sherwin-Williams Incredible White SW 7028

“I tested about 50 colors for my new master suite to find the perfect pale beige with a touch of gray—nothing too warm or too cool. Incredible White was the solid winner. It's totally neutral and soothing, with just enough contrast against white trim." —Erin Gates, Erin Gates Design, Boston, MA

Sherwin-Williams Icy SW 6534

“I love Sherwin-Williams Icy; it's a soft pale blue with light gray undertones. It's beautiful paired with cream, tan or gray bedding and fabrics, and gives a calming, serene feel to any bedroom while looking chic." —Langdon


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Sherwin-Williams Cayenne SW 6881

“Often in kitchens, I like to keep the walls bright white, then paint just the island or lower cabinets in a striking color, like a playful poppy reddish-orange if you're feeling bold." —Lind

Sherwin-Williams Extra White SW 7006

“For a simple kitchen, my go-to is a crisp, bright white. It never fails!" —Napoliello

Sherwin-Williams Electric Lime SW 6921

“I love bright lime green in a kitchen, it looks fantastic with white cabinetry or even black cabinets. Since kitchens often have minimal wall space behind the cabinets and backsplash, it gives you license to take a chance with a cool, fun color." —Langdon

Sherwin-Williams Favorite Jeans SW 9147

“Colorful cabinets are a fun way to brighten up a space! I love to use a dusty blue. It's a happy color and somehow both classic and modern, depending how it's used." —Michala Monroe, M Monroe Design, New York, NY

Dining Room

Sherwin-Williams Sea Serpent SW 7615

“Believe it or not, navy is a great neutral. I love a matte-finish navy with gray undertones in a dining room. It's quite stunning with bright white trim." —Lind

Sherwin-Williams Light French Gray SW 0055

“Sherwin-Williams Light French Gray is a newer favorite of ours. It's the perfect middle ground between cool and warm gray, and is beautiful paired with marble accents. It has such a rich tone that's striking in a formal dining room. " —Pollard and Fowler

Sherwin-Williams Oceanside SW 6496

“I love a rich teal in a dining room. It looks fantastic with blond wood, pale gray and gold accents." —Langdon

Sherwin-Williams Red Bay SW 6321

“Reds can have an orange or blue undertone, and I love the blue in this one—it pairs well with wicker furniture and cream accents. When it's thoughtfully worked into a room, it's very dramatic and sexy." —Napoliello

Bathroom or Powder Room

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Sherwin-Williams Eider White SW 7014

“In my bathroom, I was looking for a lovely light gray that was also subtle and not too blue. Eider White is that color and one we've used multiple times since in whole homes, kitchens and bedrooms." —Gates

Sherwin-Williams Gale Force SW 7605

“For a powder room or small bedroom, I like to go bold and sexy sometimes, with a dark, yummy blue with green undertones." —Napoliello

Sherwin-Williams Marooned SW 6020

“I love a rich maroon or chocolate brown in a powder room. This is the perfect place to think outside the box and try the color pop you wouldn't try anywhere else." —Langdon

Sherwin-Williams Envy SW 6925

“Powder baths are the best place to go absolutely bonkers. Find that one crazy shade you're too timid to do elsewhere, like a bold emerald green. A slightly safer application is the ceiling pop: Wallpaper the walls in a simple pattern, then put the colorful drama on the ceiling." —Lind

Pop of Color

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Sherwin-Williams Tanager Red SW 6601

“Something about the painter in me loves a pop in every room—a strong hue gives you a better read on the other colors. Sherwin-Williams Tanager Red is a sexy shade that makes you think of a boho, dreamy Moroccan hotel. I love it as an accent wall." —Schuh

Sherwin-Williams Daisy SW 6910

“I love painting the inside of a front door a bright yellow. It looks fantastic with eclectic décor, and almost acts like a piece of art." —Langdon

Sherwin-Williams Retro Mint SW 9036

“Furniture is where I'll go most trendy with color! This minty green looks amazing on furniture pieces in a high-lacquer finish. It's playful and out of the box, but very versatile." —Schuh

Sherwin-Williams Intimate White SW 6322

“Don't let the name fool you—this is not white! This pale pink is equally crisp and romantic on walls, furniture or the ceiling. It's subtle, ageless and happy—the perfect mix of ballet shoes and cotton candy." —Pollard and Fowler

The Nest and Sherwin-Williams present Colors to Live By, a sponsored series featuring color inspiration and palette ideas to help you paint your home with confidence. Visit the Sherwin-Williams Project Center to browse more project ideas and over 1500 paint colors.