Wall Color Ideas: Soft and Pretty Paint Colors
In this post: Are you looking for wall color ideas for an updated light and bright home? Here are the soft and pretty paint colors I’ve chosen for our home.⇒
There’s one question I’m asked more than any other.
That one thing that everyone seems to want to know is the name and source of our paint colors.
I’ve always been a fan of very pale “barely there” colors for the walls and I like them to have a neutral feel. The paint might be an actual color, but if soft and pale enough, it can function like a neutral.
My mother had a rule that every room should be painted every 3 years. So although I carefully selected our paint colors when we first moved into our home, a few years in I realized I wanted to update some of the decor. With mom’s words in my head, despite the fact that our home still seemed new, I decided it was ok to tweak some of the wall colors to work with the decor refreshes.
What follows is a bevy of wall color ideas, including all those I’ve used for the various iterations of my current home.
For a more in depth look at each of the rooms, you can click on the enclosed links (in pink), which will take you to the posts where they were revealed more fully.
Original Entry Foyer – Mushroom Cap 177
(Entry Foyer Update in the opening photo – Tapestry Beige OC-32)
Wall Color Ideas
I took a lot of time initially selecting my paint colors for each room, gathering swatches of much of what’s available in a variety of paint lines. I’m quite decisive when it comes to color and I never bothered with samples or painting sections of walls. I was happy with what I opted for the first time around and I only made changes a few years later when I decided to refine the overall style of my decor.
I think of my house as very white, but in truth it’s not white at all and nearly all the walls bear some color, albeit pale and wispy. I lean toward warm tones and I use them as neutrals, and when we first painted I found a pale banana yellow to be infinitely more interesting than beige or tan so you’ll see a lot of that among my earlier wall color ideas. In time I moved more toward greige in many of my rooms, and it’s interesting to see how the wall color changes the look of the rooms, as well as how the room decor evolution precipitated some of the paint color updates.
The underpinning of paint is an essential mood maker, setting the tone for what’s layered on top. As an eternal optimist I always surround myself with happy colors as I like to be enveloped in warmth. One particularly notable side point is that nearly every wall in our home was painted in a deep dark color before we moved in, so the transition to light and airy made the house look very different. Utilizing paint for this purpose is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform a home.
Back Entry Foyer – Mannequin Cream 2152-60
The Main Floor
Much of our first floor was divided between two different pale yellows. The first one is Benjamin Moore Mannequin Cream 2152-60, a barely-there yellow that at times reads like cream but offers a little bit more in warmth and color than a straight cream would. The other yellow is Benjamin Moore Mushroom Cap 177. While soft and lovely, it’s more of a true yellow than the lighter one, clean and clear, but lacking any harshness.
As my style evolved from classic French Country into a more modern version of French influenced decor, my paint choices became more neutral and most of the first floor is now greige.
Original Living Room – Mushroom Cap 177
Living Room Update – Tapestry Beige OC-32
Original Home Office– Mannequin Cream 2152-60
Home Office Updated – Tapestry Beige OC-32
Original Family Room – Mannequin Cream 2152-60
Family Room Update – Tapestry Beige OC-32
In addition to the yellows, I used other subtle colors when we first painted. In the dining room, I knew I wanted a rosy glow, so my choice was a blush color called Bridal Pink 2013-70, also from Benjamin Moore. The paint has just the right hint of barely-there pink while offering the warm glow I was hoping for. This room, too, was ultimately updated to a neutral greige as the decor in the room became more sophisticated. You can see the progression below.
Original Dining Room – Bridal Pink 2013-70
Dining Room Transition – Bridal Pink 2013-70
Dining Room Update – Tapestry Beige OC-32
The few rooms on the first floor utilizing very different wall color ideas have been neutral from the start (in fact this is where my love for Tapestry Beige first began!) In these cases the selection of alternate colors was very intentional. The first is the breakfast room, as well as the kitchen, which opens to and can be seen from the family room. This is the one place I decided to go with an essentially colorless shade.
In thinking ahead, I knew I would be renovating my kitchen to a predominately white room, and I painted the walls a warm greige with that in mind. The color is Benjamin Moore Tapestry Beige OC-32, which was also used in our master bath, another room that was destined for a ‘whitening’ renovation. The renovated rooms are now complete and the color has ‘spread’ to most of the first floor of our home.
Breakfast Room – Tapestry Beige OC-32
Kitchen – Tapestry Beige OC-32 (Cabinets – White Dove)
The butler’s pantry was also newly renovated, where I chose China White PM-20 to complement the cream colored cabinetry in White Dove. In the second photo, below, you can see how the updated neutral hallway color spotlights the white marble of the butler’s pantry.
Original Butler’s Pantry – Linen White
Butler’s Pantry Update – China White PM-20
Original Stairway – Mushroom Cap 177
Stairway Updated – Tapestry Beige OC-32
There are several rooms upstairs where I’ve used a wider array of colors in the individual bedrooms. The master bedroom below is where you can see one of my favorite paint colors, Benjamin Moore Wales Green 2028-50. This lovely green is springy and beautiful, a delightful color to wake up to. While I’ve moved to all white bedding in this room, I’m still enjoying this lovely wall color.
Master Bedroom – Wales Green 2028-50
Master Bath – Tapestry Beige OC-32
You can peek at the other bedrooms, below, for the rest of my wall color ideas. Most of these haven’t been changed yet, but I may be thinking through that soon. The french blue bedroom is our true guest room where I’ve chosen Benjamin Moore Sweet Bluette 813 to give the space a real cottage feel.
I’ve updated the bedding here, as well, to all white, which you can see in the second photo and I’m considering painting this room white. That would make it the only room in the house that’s truely white and I haven’t decided yet. I will, in either case, keep the blue and white accents, but feel they may take on a more sophisticated air against a background of white.
Origial Blue Bedroom – Sweet Bluette 813
Blue Bedroom Update- Sweet Bluette 813
The one room that wore a more modern darker shade is the grey bedroom, the room we use for my daughter when she visits. Here I used Benjamin Moore Winter Gates AC-30, pictured below. I did decide to significantly lighten this room and it’s now painted a very pale grey, called China White, which you can see in the second picture below.
Original Grey Bedroom – Winter Gates AC-30
Grey Bedroom Update – China White PM-20
Our third guest room is the room that serves as my son’s room when he visits. Here I used Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream OC-96, a color that reads to me as a warm khaki more than cream, but ever-so-subtly without a touch of heaviness. I’ve lightened this room by virtue of updating the bedding (see the second picture below), but the wall color remains the same. I’m considering changing it to Alabaster, but it remains to be seen if I follow through on that update.
Original Khaki Bedroom – Gentle Cream OC-96
Khaki Bedroom Update – Gentle Cream OC-96
What I have changed upstairs is the hallway, which like the downstairs rooms went from pale yellow to greige.
You can also get a glimpse of our lower level rooms, the basement rec room which has been grey from the start and our home gym, which is a very pale aqua. The gym is on my list for a simple update, possibly to white or alabaster.
And speaking of white, in case you’re wondering, all of the ceilings and trim are painted in Benjamin Moore Simply White, the most perfect white that I’ve ever found. It soft with no strange undertones, and yet is still a true clear white.
Paint is one of the easiest ways to make a huge impact on a room and create a noticeable difference for a reasonable price. It’s a great place to update often because the investment is low and yet the payback high!
Original Upstairs Hallway – Mushroom Cap 177
Upstairs Hallway Update – Tapestry Beige OC-32
Basement – Revere Pewter HC-172
Home Gym – Irish Mint 2041-70
Whatever you feel works best for your home, there’s no easier way to make quick and effective changes than you can with paint. It freshens up the room, making it look clean and new and it doesn’t break the bank like some other renovations can. Happy painting!!
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Your house is beautiful! I love the soft yellow paint color!
Thank you so much, Angelina! I really love when I see all white rooms, but to live with, I tend to lean towards soft color… 🙂
You’re home is lovely. I really love that mannequin cream color.
I have always loved soft yellow,I think it is a great”neutral”. I am in the process of picking a color for my kitchen and breakfat room,love the manniquin cream. You home is lovely.
Thanks, Diane! Yes, the mannequin cream is so soft and lovely and would bring warmth to any room. Thanks for your kind words… 🙂
Oh my goodness, I feel the sudden overwhelming urge to paint a room Benjamin Moore Wales Green! I love the little peek you gave us. I went to a luncheon at a friend’s house the other day and her family room/kitchen area is painted a beautiful soft green. Such a happy color.
Your home just couldn’t be any prettier.
Thank you, Stacey! The Wales Green was born from a mistake I made in my last home. Our bedroom was very similar to the way it is now, but the green I had picked was not clean enough and the result was a room not nearly as cheerful as this current one. I was afraid to go too bright, but it turns out the cleaner tone was just what the room needed. When a friend came over when we were painting the house and the room was only half done, she remarked that she assumed we were covering the green. I explained that, no, that was the color we were painting it to! Once it was completed I couldn’t wait to show her the full effect. It’s hard for some people to envision what color will do to a room, but it’s such an important decision… 🙂
Great choices! I love Benjamin Moore paint and can’t say enough good about them. I used Ladyfinger for our living room and love it. I still wanted a hint of yellow to work with the furnishings I have but I was scaling the color down after using Concort Ivory for a long time. BM paints are always true to form and cover nicely. I love that Wales Green you showed- it’s so fresh and cheerful. Your home is beautiful!
Thanks, Liz! Yes, I’m a big fan of Benjamin Moore paints. So many people swear by other brands, but ultimately, as long as the quality is good, it’s all about the available colors to me. I’ll be revealing the rest of the master bedroom later in the week, so you can get a better idea of the Wales Green in the space. It’s such a delightful color to wake up to… 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words!!
Oh what a marvelous sight!!! You have turned a reading about paints into a very inspiring experience!! It’ s nice to know what a colour can do if used according to its own ‘character’. Looking forward to reading more about your paints :-))
Thanks so much, Kate!!
Your house is very beautiful. The colours are lovely and everything is so elegant. I love that elegant look and would really like my house to be like that rather than the casual look it has now. I guess one thing that I have wondered is how to keep everything so clean. White linens and such like get grubby very quickly just from the dust in the air. How do you keep everything looking so pristine?
Thank you so much, Denise! It’s an interesting question you ask and one I feel strongly about. I love white couches! I have 5 of them including one out on the patio. I had white couches when I had 2 small children and a dog and if you saw the post about my son’s apartment, even he has white chairs that he’s kept clean for 2 1/2 years. I think it’s a matter of will. My theory is, you would never leave dirt on a blue couch or a tan couch, so why wouldn’t you simply clean a white couch when it gets dirty? That said, there are certain precautions I take. Our main sofa in the den has slipcovers, so when it gets dirty, we simply remove them and clean them. The outdoor furniture is durable, so it can withstand a good scrubbing. I also keep throw blankets in each room, in case anyone comes in with extra dirty clothing. And with the linens, white is actually easier than beiges or other light colors because you can bleach it to keep it pristine looking.
As for upgrading your current home to look more elegant, it’s often more about the accessories than the main pieces. You can have a very basic relaxed couch but if you add special pillows and elegant vases nearby, the look is immediately upgraded. Add one special vintage piece of furniture in each room and already your look is changed without starting from scratch.
Oh, by the way, one final word. We’ve always allowed the dog on the couch, put our feet up on the coffee tables and eat on the sofas. The house is here for us to enjoy. Much like clothing, when things get dirty, just have them cleaned… 😉
Thanks for visiting and for your kind words!!
This is a wonderful article in itself. Thank you for all the good ideas you share. I never fail to be impressed!
Thank you so much, Elizabeth!
So beautiful. Classy, elegant yet inviting. That is a tough combination. Thank you for sharing your ideas and insight.
Thanks, Jule!! How fun to see you on my blog… 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!!
As we are now on the hunt for paint, I find this post to be right on time. I am having such a difficult time deciding just where to transition our colors. I love your hint of colors instead of just cream and am going to check them out to see if they’ll work in our home. I find all your colors to go remarkably well with your décor and furnishings…great job!
Thanks, Bobbi! I always feel if the tones work well together, it’s fine to have rooms near each other in somewhat different colors. Almost everything in our home is pale and clear in color, although there is one surprise that will be revealed shortly. I did a dark grey in my daughter’s room if you can believe that!
Paint can be such an emotional color it really is the basis for any decor theme. A lot of people overlook it, but reading your post makes it sound a lot less work and gives it a lot more weight in the decision. Great post!
Thanks so much for joining the Dishing It & Digging it Link Party and I hope it brings you some new friends to enjoy the tour of your wonderful home.
Thanks, Christine! Thanks for hosting… love the new branding… 🙂
So pretty and they always have an elegance about them too! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!
So very soft, elegant and welcoming…gorgeous home!
Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
Your home and the paint colors you have shared have inspired me to continue my pursuit to find a paint color to replace the beige paint in our living area. I love the BM Mannequin Cream because of the light yellow tone it has. I have a question: is your trim color a true white or is it an off white? Ours is SW Westhighland White, which is not a true white. I am afraid a cream/yellow may not be enough of a contrast with it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and soft paint colors!
Thank you for the kind words!! I used BM Simply White for all the trim and ceilings throughout my home. It’s pretty close to a true white, but not 100% optic white. I’m not as familiar with the SW colors, so I can’t compare, but I’ll bet it’s enough of a contrast. I used the Simply White trim even in rooms where I used Linen White on the walls and I like that it provides some contrast. Thanks for visiting!!
Thank you, Lory!
loving your style, lory! now to dig into your archives! find me at hello lovely (http://hellolovelystudio.com) if ever you have a moment. peace.
Oh wow, thanks! And welcome!! I will definitely pop over to your site, too… 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for the lovely house tour! We are in the process of remodeling a new house that is completely different than our current house and I’ve been searching for a good neutral. Tapestry Beige may be just the ticket. 🙂
Thanks and I wish you luck in your new house! Yes, Tapestry Beige has been my go-to for so many things!!
My Master Bedroom is also Wales Green, we love it too! A year ago, as a slight update I added an accent color to the wall behind the bed: BM CSP-75 Castle Gate; it complements the Wales Green beautifully–check it out!
How fun! I love the grey accent!!
Happy to have found this as I am ready to have my kitchen painted tapestry beige. I’m agonizing over the trim since I do not want it too white. BM White Dove is too white I did a sample. I thought to do dove Wing, will that tone work? I have custom color kitchen cabinetry and this is why it’s so difficult. My current colors on the wall and trim is BM Saybrook Sage and California Paint Wild Oats(respectively). The Wild oats is similar in color to my cabinets. I am now going for a lighter and airier feel. Any recommendations for trim?!
Well, if you think White Dove is too white, you won’t want my suggestion. I use Simply White for all trim and consider it the perfect white, but it’s even whiter than White Dove. So it’s hard for me to know what you’re going for. Best of luck!!
Ah – great ideas! I’m going to look into some of those colors very soon. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!
Awesome! Good luck finding your colors… 🙂
Hello! I ran across your post on colors via Pinterest and am in love with your selections. In addition, I have been trying (and trying and trying!) to find a neutral beige and cream comforter for my guest room and you have one in the room with the suitcase at the foot of the bed…would it be possible for you to share with me where this lovely accessory originated? It is practically perfect for my needs! Thank you and be well.
Thank you and welcome!! 🙂
And yes, I’m happy to share. Here’s the link to the duvet cover (it’s the neutral combo): https://rstyle.me/+Sj1BJ–MKxtB5KmHiXUs7Ahttps://rstyle.me/+Sj1BJ–MKxtB5KmHiXUs7A
If you’d like to see the rest of the details form that room you can see it here: https://designthusiasm.com/fall-guest-bedroom-ideas/
Thank you for sharing all your wonderful paint colours. Gives us a great starting point. Undertones are very important when considering a paint colour as they can definitely influence the overall feel of the room.
So true and you are most welcome!
Lory, your home is so beautiful and inspiring. I’m working now on a blue bedroom and noticed that the colors listed for your blue bedroom were exactly the same. Would you please update this to the new color? Thank you!
Thank you for the kind words, Barbara! I’m sorry for the confusion that the second photo caused, but I haven’t changed the paint color in that room yet. (In fact I’m just now waiting on the painter, but it will be changed to China White.) The second photo was meant to show that I’ve changed the bedding to all white, and was considering a paint change. You can see that clarification in the post where I stated:
“The french blue bedroom is our true guest room where I’ve chosen Benjamin Moore Sweet Bluette 813 to give the space a real cottage feel. I’ve updated the bedding here, as well, to all white, which you can see in the second photo and I’m considering painting this room white. That would make it the only room in the house that’s truely white and I haven’t decided yet.”
I will most definitely update the post once it’s done… 🙂
Thanks for the prompt reply, Lory; that helps. I’ll read more carefully next time. : )
I love everything in your home. I just downsized from a 4500 square foot house to a 1200 square foot apartment and brought half of it with me!! As a result, it looks like a store. I’m fortunate enough to have a large attached garage so I am packing up a lot of things and working to make the apartment more pleasant and not like a shop. I will be selling on etsy in the near future as well as garage sales, Facebook and I’ve donated some things and am selling some furniture items on consignment locally. It’s a real process, but I think I’m starting to at least have a better vision of what I want to be the final result. Your blog shows me to use less, but larger items, rather than tons of little stuff, which causes visual clutter. Thanks for your posts.
Yes, definitely fewer larger things is the way to go! It sounds like your process will make it possible for you to really make decisions slowly and consciously, which is great… :-). Good luck in your new place!!
I think all of your color changes have really made your house French and beautiful. Excellent choices in colors. Thank you for sharing. Jean
Thank you so much, Jean!
Thank you for sharing your fantastic experience in home design. Your house is fabulous. I like the colors you choose because they look clean and neat and very comfortable at home. Before the year ended, I also renovated my house, and I am glad I found your post because you gave me more ideas. Great work!