Decorating|Renovating

New England Neutral Paint Color Scheme

Read the Color Story of this New England Neutral Paint Color Scheme and learn how to discover the perfect neutral paint colors for your own home. 

In the past, we’ve shared how to paint a room, our favorite room painting essentials, and how to choose a cohesive whole house color palette (like the one in this post) step-by-step. Today I’m going to share all of the details about my neutral paint color scheme!

Choosing a Neutral Paint Color Scheme

Originally posted April 11, 2017. Last updated May 19, 2020.

This was originally an even more massive post, but I decided to split it up for easier reading. You can also learn about my past paint color mistakes (and how to avoid them) here! This post is going to focus specifically on my current neutral paint color scheme. For source information on each photo, please click the link to that particular room.

Like I talked about in the Whole House Color Palette post, a typical paint color scheme includes 3-5 main colors. Of course, there are also accent colors and finishes, but today we’re focused on the main event: the primary paint colors. Below is a breakdown of my favorite neutral paint color scheme and the characteristics of each color!

What’s LRV?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is a scale from 0-100 that measures how much or how little light a paint color will reflect when illuminated by a light source. 0 is black and absorbs light and 100 is white with the maximum reflection.

Simply put, with a neutral you want that number somewhere in the middle, taking into consideration the amount of natural light in your space. Most of the colors in this palette fall in the middle-high 60-70 LRV range.

New England-Inspired Neutral Paint Color Scheme with Kendall Charcoal Painted Dining Room

New England-Inspired Neutral Paint Color Scheme

When it came to choosing colors for our New England Colonial, many of these came from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Colors Collection. Not only are they gorgeous and timeless colors, but they were pulled from historical American architecture and landmarks. Nerd alert: this played a pretty big part in my choices. You can read about how my decorating style has been influenced by the heritage of New England here!

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60

LRV: 65.77

Gray Owl is my all-time favorite gray paint color. It has a subtle blue-green undertone. It pairs really well with creamy whites such as Simply White.

In our breakfast nook this color paired perfectly with the Simply White painted bench and trim.

We also carried Gray Owl all of the way through our kitchen and down the hall to our mudroom.

In 2019 when we embarked on a full kitchen renovation, I still loved the Gray Owl so much that we decided to keep it. Although our cabinet company Shiloh didn’t offer Benjamin Moore colors, we went with their Polar White color for a close match to Simply White. It works perfectly with the Gray Owl!

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl painted Breakfast Nook with Simply White Trim
A neutral paint color scheme with Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray Foyer, Simply White trim, and a Kendall Charcoal door.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173

LRV: 63.88

Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray HC-173 in eggshell is the color that is currently most prominent in our home (although at times I’ve lightened it by 50% to raise the LRV, see below). I consider it the ultimate greige and I would honestly never be able to tell you whether it’s truly gray or beige.

The family room and foyer are painted this color, and then it goes up the stairs and into the upstairs hall (which are all connected).

It can have slight reddish or greenish undertones in certain low-light situations, so always make sure to properly test paint colors by creating a large paint swatch with poster board. Overall, it’s one of the most neutral paint colors I’ve ever worked with.

Edgecomb Gray Lightened by 50%

LRV: Approx. 70

why/when do you lighten paint colors?

I’ve chosen to lighten paint colors by 50% in rooms that have very little natural light in order to raise the LRV of the color by 8-10 points. Please do remember that this isn’t the same as tinting the color (adding white). This changes the overall color formula and should be treated and tested as its own color with unique undertones.

Our Dining Room is an example of a darker room where I lightened Edgecomb Gray by 50%. Eventually I embraced the moodiness and went for a high-contrast look (see Kendall Charcoal below).

Dining room painted Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray lightened by 50% with a Simply White planked wall and trim
A neutral color scheme of Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray and Simply White for a bedroom and bathroom

Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray HC-171

LRV: 68.94

Wickham Gray is one of my ultimate favorite paint colors. Like Gray Owl, it has some green undertones, and can in fact actually appear aqua in certain lighting situations. It can be cheerful and calming as these color shifts happen, and no matter what, it’s such a clean color.

The powder room was our very first project in this house, back in 2012. We ended up painting it Benjamin Moore’s Wickham Gray HC-171 in eggshell.

Before our recent master bedroom makeover, it was painted Wickham Gray for many years. After we covered up the north-facing window in favor of a better layout, the color really shifted. We swapped it out for something with less undertones (and I’ll go into that more later in the post)!

Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117

LRV: 91.7

Simply White has an ever-so-slightly cream undertone, although it’s still pretty light as far as whites go. This provides a contrasting warmth to the cooler tones of Gray Owl and Wickham Gray. It perfectly complements the warmer Edgecomb Gray.

This is the primary “light” color in our home. All of the trim and interior doors are this color and I’ve even been painting the ceilings Simply White as we replace the texture with smooth plaster. On our basement ceiling (a room with very little to no natural light) it is a cream color, but everywhere else it looks like a nice clean white.

In our mudroom, the walls are Gray Owl but the majority of the room is Simply White because of the built-ins and beadboard wall treatment.

Benjamin Moore Simply White Mudroom with Built-In Bench
Dining Room painted a strong contrasting Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal and Simply White

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal HC-166

LRV: 12.96

Out of all of the colors on this list, Kendall Charcoal doesn’t really have a detectable undertone. In my opinion, it’s the perfect contrasting neutral.

I use Kendall Charcoal in our home as the primary “dark” anywhere I’m trying to make a statement, like the insides of our exterior doors. I always recommend having a favorite light and dark and keeping everything else in the middle.

After fighting with the harsh shadows in our Dining Room for years, I finally went back to the drawing board and gave the upper walls a couple of coats of Kendall Charcoal. I love the contrast it brings to this room and in some ways it’s even brighter than it was before!

Other Colors in My Neutral Paint Color Scheme:

It’s inevitable to make some changes over time as your taste evolves and you finish new projects. Here are a few up-and-coming colors I’m loving in my home and one I’m ready to retire!

Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray SW7015 Lightened by 50%

LRV: Approx. 68 After Lightening

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve mainly stuck with Benjamin Moore colors in my house. The simple reason is that there’s an awesome Benjamin Moore store right down the road from me (shoutout to Mike, who has helped me with several paint product choices!).

With that being said, Sherwin-Williams also has great colors. A recent collaboration introduced me to Repose Gray. I lightened it 50% for our Master Bedroom Renovation since we removed a north-facing window and the Wickham Gray was no longer working.

Oh, boy. I LOVE this color. I’m not sure what it means for the future of our paint colors, but it’s something to make note of.

Master Bedroom painted Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray lightened by 50%
Neutral bathroom color scheme with Benjamin Moore Paper White and Simply White trim

Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55

LRV: 75.89

In the kids’/guest bathroom, I really wanted a lighter gray with blue undertones. I thought about lightening Gray Owl by 50% to raise the LRV, but the same concept is already neatly packaged in a proven color: Paper White! Paper White is a white-gray with ever-so-slight blue and green undertones. This may just be the perfect bathroom color since it looks so great with classic Carerra marble.

I’m not positive yet, but I think I may end up painting our Master Bathroom this color as well in the upcoming remodel. After all, the entire design plan involves marble, and I think it will be absolutely perfect. Stay tuned!

Benjamin Moore Gray Huskie 1473

LRV: 45.83

I went into detail about how I chose to paint our exterior Gray Huskie back in 2016. I still stand by this color as a gorgeous exterior choice that fits in so well with the rest of the color palette. Sadly, we had to replace all of our siding in 2019 because of a continuation of the water damage and rot that led us to repaint the exterior in the first place. I haven’t shared the full project yet, but it involved performance vinyl siding instead of paint, and I’ll explain more in a future post.

One thing I learned about exterior paint colors is that they always look much darker on a paint chip then they’ll look in full light. Also, the undertones will look different depending on the time of day. I would have never known looking at the paint chip that Gray Huskie had undertones of blue and purple!

Exterior Neutral Paint Color Scheme with Benjamin Moore Gray Huskie siding and Onyx Shutters

One to Watch: Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist OC-27

LRV: 67.37

I haven’t used this one yet in my own home, but it’s a favorite for client projects. I’m strongly considering using Balboa Mist in the upcoming family room refresh.

I know, I know. I got a bit of push back when I mentioned this in my Instagram Stories. Some of you have painted your whole house based on the sunny photo of the armchair with the Edgecomb Gray.

It’s still a great color, but I’m ready for a change. While I still love the Edgecomb Gray on a bright and sunny day, I’m craving something with a higher LRV for when it’s gray and cloudy (a.k.a. three-quarters of our New England year).

Edgecomb Gray was introduced as a refreshed update of Revere Pewter. I’m going to go ahead and say Balboa Mist feels to me like a refreshed Edgecomb Gray. It’s a bit lighter, and while it still has a warm undertone, it’s more of a subtle purple. Overall, it’s a very clean color.

One I’m Retiring: Benjamin Moore Cloud White OC-130

LRV: 87.35

While there’s nothing at all wrong with the color, I’m sticking with Simply White moving forward for simplicity’s sake.

I originally found Cloud White for my office to match the off-white IKEA cabinets that we’ve since replaced. Then, I used it in the family room because I wanted a creamier white to complement the off-white slipcovers and I conveniently had the leftover paint from the office. I’ll be swapping the slipcovers out during the family room refresh for gray (stay tuned for more on that decision) so it’s no longer a factor.

So if you notice it gradually disappears from future projects, the simple reason is a pared-down palette. It’s still a great option I recommend for a creamier white paint!

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray Family Room with Cloud White trim

So that’s it, my New England-inspired Neutral Paint Color Scheme. I’ll make sure to make updates as time goes on, since I’m sure we’ll make a couple of tweaks as we wrap up our renovation. Tell me in the comments or on Instagram if you decide to use any of these colors!

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New England-Inspired Neutral Paint Color Scheme

45 Comments

  1. Stephen Says

    Hey great post, thanks for sharing! I was wondering if you were familiar with an even lighter gray from Benjamin Moore? I’m looking for a white with the lightest touch of gray. It looks like Paper White might fit the bill, but I was wondering if you had any experience with it or any other light gray options? Thanks again!

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi, Stephen! Gray Owl is the lightest gray I have used personally, and I have seen it lightened with really nice results. But from what a quick google search just showed me of Paperwhite, that looks perfect!

  2. Stephen Says

    Thanks for advice, I’ll look into Gray Owl as well! Your post reminded me that I could also ask them to lighten the paint as well. Looks like I know how I’m spending my Saturday this weekend with all these possibilities!

  3. Jennifer Says

    HI there-
    Gorgeous home. Could you share what the exterior trim color is?
    Thank you!

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi, Jennifer! It’s Benjamin Moore’s Simply White!

  4. Stacy Says

    What color and brand tiles did you use in your mudroom and powder room? Looks great!

  5. Missy Says

    Where did you get the mirror in the picture with the Pottery Barn Grand Armchair? A friend of mine has the same one, I believe, which was made by the same manufacturer who makes Restoration Hardware furniture…only, it’s long-gone.

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      It was from Restoration Hardware, Missy!

  6. Stacy Hamrick Says

    Your home is beautiful! Your colors are all the colors I love! I do have a question about the edgecomb gray color you used. You state earlier in the post that you’ve lightened it up 50% for the dining room. Did you do that when using the same color elsewhere in your home?

    Again- gorgeous home! Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi, Stacy! So far the only room we’ve lightened the paint color for was the dining room. Thank you for the kind words!

  7. Deb Says

    I’m slowly trying to do some updates in our old farmhouse that was last remodeled in the 70’s which tells you what I’m dealing with. The bathroom is first on my list. I’m having issues with light fixtures to give the old farmhouse feel. I loved the fixture you put in your powder room. Can you tell me where you got it? Suggestions for matching vanity lights?

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi Deb,

      Here is the light fixture! They normally include other lights from the collection on the product page that would coordinate well. :)

  8. Yolanda Says

    Where did you get the white sheet looking curtains And the wooden curtain pull down? The one by the off white chair. Thank you !

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi, Yolanda!

      All of the details for our curtains are available here! :)

  9. Jennifer Says

    I love this! I am wanting to paint my trim and doors Sinply White. I’m still deciding if I want to go with Edgecomb Grey on my walls. I have one question- what color are your ceilings? I’m not sure if I should paint them Simply White in a different sheen or a totally different color than my trim!

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      The ceilings are just plain white (untinted) Benjamin Moore ceiling paint! We just finished painting our basement ceiling Simply White eggshell- and it’s much creamier on a ceiling than trim. What’s done is done for the basement, but I won’t be tinting my ceiling paint that color again.

  10. Brett Says

    Lovely home and beautiful design. Would you mind telling me where your white curtains are from in the living room?

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi! Thank you so much. They are from IKEA, and are available on Amazon here (they are the VIVAN if a store is nearby).

  11. Sheila Says

    Nina your house is so gorgeous! So I’m researching paint colors (strongly considering Edgecomb Gray) and while browsing on Pinterest, I came across this post of yours! Love it! So helpful and it all looks sooo pretty! You’ve done a beautiful job!

    Wish me luck – painting tomorrow! And I’m deciding between all white walls or Edgecomb Gray!

    Sheila
    xo

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Thank you so much for the sweet words, Sheila! I hope it went well!! :)

  12. Ashley Says

    I love your neutral palette! I also love the exterior colors. My shutters are currently dark green vinyl and I’d like to paint them dark grey/black. I was wondering if your’s are wood or vinyl and how easy they were to paint? Thanks!

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi, Ashley! Thanks for the kind words. The shutters are vinyl. We didn’t paint them ourselves, we chose to hire out the exterior painting. However, I noticed that they laid out the shutters and used a paint sprayer.

  13. Kellt Says

    Did you lighten the Edgecomb Gray paint for you living room? How do you know how much to lighten a paint color? I am strongly considering EG for our entire fist floor. We have a famr house with lots of rustic wood and thought it would be a great clean color after reading your post.

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi! No, we didn’t lighten it in the family room- the room is very bright during some parts of the day. I usually lighten by 50%- but it would definitely depend on the color. Edgecomb Gray appears to be a light creamy beige when lightened by 50% (our dining room is an example of this).

      1. Sarah Says

        This was also my question! Did you lighten it in the foyer. Your foyer has been my inspiration picture for a year!

        1. Nina Says

          Post author

          No, Edgecomb Gray is not lightened in the foyer!

  14. Heather Says

    Love this reno!! Just to clarify… if you repaint your cabinets, you are going to pick simply white, the same as the trim? I am building right now and struggling to pick two colours for cabinets and trim. Would love if they were the same!

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Thank you! Yes, I love Simply White as a cabinet color.

  15. Kelly Says

    Hi Nina,
    Just came across your neutral paint color options and LOVE everything you’ve done and your selections. We just purchased a NE style home here in CA (both originally from NE… RI & CT) and it’s a complete remodel. We are going with some of your color options for the walls, Edgecomb Gray and Simply White for trim. What is your flooring color? Is it wood? I love the traditional look without all the reds, yellows and oranges for flooring.
    Blessings,
    Kelly

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi, Kelly! It’s hickory hardwood. You can see the details in this post!

  16. Robin Curtis Staley Says

    What color did you use for the ceiling? I’m using edgecomb gray and simply white for my trim. just need to figure out the ceiling color?

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      We recently painted the ceilings Simply White (eggshell). It looks great upstairs, but in our windowless basement the color is definitely more toward cream than white. I minded it at first but now I don’t- I just wanted to give you a heads up!

  17. Laura Says

    Hi! Can you please tell me where you bought the outdoor front lights? Love them!!

  18. Maria Says

    Hi! I love your home! We are painting our house to get ready to sell. We are painting the living room/dining room and kitchen Edgecomb gray. We have a lot of light and the Edgecomb gray almost looks white. We have high ceiling and I’m considering doing ceiling EG too. Have you seen this or done this before? We are doing the painting ourselves and this would be so much easier. Thoughts?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      Hi Maria, Thank you for the kind words! And congratulations on your move. I don’t recommend painting the ceiling the Edgecomb Gray. I always recommend going a little lighter on the ceiling, in this case, I would go with a white.

  19. Bianca Says

    Such a great post, thank you for sharing! I’m excited to use Edgecomb Gray for my next room project.

    I’ve been long searching for a kitchen island similar to yours but no luck. Did you have yours custom made?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      Hi Bianca, we made it! You can see the tutorial here!

  20. Brittany Says

    Hi Nina! This is one of my favorite homes I’ve seen! Love the colors, decor, everything. Where is the tree in the living room from?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      Hi Brittany, thanks so much! The faux olive tree was found here.

  21. Nicole Haines Says

    Hi!

    Thank you for sharing the master list to the perfect neutrals, sometimes it can get a little tricky to find the right one. What a beautiful home you have! Not paint related, but may I ask where did you get your bamboo shades from? I’m on the hunt for the right ones, and I love yours!

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      Hi, Nicole! Thanks so much for the kind words. I have a few different combos of shades and curtains, and this post goes over them in detail! :)

  22. Allison Says

    Do you have an update on Benjamin Moore Touch of Pink when It was lightened 50%?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      I don’t have an updated photo, but her room is now painted the Touch of Pink lightened by 50% — It’s much softer and I love it!