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New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Read the color story of this New England Farmhouse and how to discover the perfect neutrals. New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Read the color story of this New England Farmhouse and how to discover the perfect neutrals.

One of the choices people seem to struggle with most in their interiors is which paint colors to choose for the walls. Although that first stroke of paint can seem intimidating, it isn’t necessarily the most permanent mistake you can make with your decor. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to take a risk! I’ve had my hits and my misses when it comes to picking out paint colors, and I’m going to share those with you today!

Breakfast Nook14 Ridge_13

When we bought the house back in 2012, we started with a fairly typical mixture of 90s/early 2000s experimentally painted walls and… interesting… wallpaper. There was never a question of keeping any of it, but what I didn’t bank on was the fact that some walls would need to be sanded or even have the drywall replaced when it came to wallpaper. So the painting hasn’t been as simple as I would have imagined. We figured out pretty quickly that we would need to take it slow and see what we could deal with, and what was high-priority to get rid of.

I knew immediately that I couldn’t “live with” the previous homeowner’s beige paint with a rag treatment (?) overlay in the kitchen, breakfast nook, and hallway. In my eagerness to cover up this look, I went to the paint store and picked out the first dark greige I could find. I couldn’t sand and get it up on the walls quickly enough… I don’t even have a photo of the results since it was before I blogged regularly about our home. Long story short, I somehow managed to make a room that already felt dark and (if I’m being painfully honest) dingy, even darker and dingier.

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | This sunny farmhouse breakfast nook is painted with Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with Simply White Trim.

After realizing I had made a mistake, I looked around the room and considered what I did and didn’t like. I liked the idea of a gray, but I wanted it to be more blue than brown. My preference was for it to be lighter (almost white) rather than dark. After some research, I found Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60 in eggshell. It has a definite aqua undertone, but it is such a pretty color. 

Mudroom

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Mudroom with custom-built storage painted Benjamin Moore's Simpy White.

We decided to carry the Gray Owl through the kitchen, hallway, and mudroom as well. Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 in semi-gloss is a natural companion for Gray Owl. It has an ever-so-slightly cream undertone (although it’s still pretty light as far as whites go), which provides a contrasting warmth to the cool tones of Gray Owl. 

Kitchen

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Farmhouse Kitchen with Cabinets painted with Insl-X Cabinet Coat.

Speaking of the kitchen, one thing I regretted was not having the cabinet paint tinted any particular color. We used Insl-x Cabinet Coat in satin straight from the can. The natural color of Cabinet Coat seems to have a bluish undertone, and as it has aged it has yellowed very slightly. I was actually okay with this since as I mentioned before, the Simply White of the rest of the trim in the room was a slightly creamy white. Since we are now several years in with our painted cabinets, we are contemplating a fresh coat. If that is the direction we decide to go in the kitchen, we will likely tint the paint Simply White as well. 

Powder Room

Regarding rooms that I couldn’t wait to paint over, this was definitely another big one. The powder room was our very first project in this house, back in 2012, because I truly could not even look at the rust orange with gold shimmer overlaying swirls. We ended up painting it Benjamin Moore’s Wickham Gray HC-171 in eggshell.

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Cottage powder room with Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray walls.

I am pleased to say I wouldn’t change a thing about the colors, although I do plan to make a couple of decor changes soon!  Wickham Gray in satin is my ultimate favorite paint color. Like Gray Owl, it has some aqua undertones, and can in fact actually appear aqua in certain lighting situations. It’s a blue-gray-green depending on the time of day. It can be cheerful and calming as these color shifts happen, and no matter what, it’s such a clean color. It’s the perfect compromise in our household, as Mack likes a bit of color, but this is enough of a neutral to keep me happy. 

Master Bedroom

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Wickham Gray painted bedroom.

Since I found that combination so soothing, I knew it was a perfect choice for our master suite. So far only the bedroom is finished (and will be revealed in early May, finally!) but we will also be carrying the color down our little hallway and into our master bath someday.

Foyer

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Foyer Painted Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray HC-173 in eggshell is the color that is most prominent in our home. I consider it the ultimate greige, I would honestly never be able to tell you whether it’s gray or beige (in spite of the name). The foyer is painted this color, and then it goes up the stairs and into the upstairs hall (which are all connected). Cooper’s room will also be this color when we repaint it. 

Dining Room

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Dining Room painted Edgecomb Gray and Simply White.

I wanted an all-white dining room, but Mack wanted some color. We compromised to Edgecomb Gray lightened by 50% and eggshell and painted the planks Simply White in eggshell. The room is light and bright, and we are both happy!

A Paint Color Fail that led to a Success: My Office

Since I talked about my hits, it’s only fair to address my misses. Most of them have occurred in my office, a room I’m chronically “stuck” on when I try to decorate. It’s also the first room in the house, so everyone who visits sees it. This was the second time I painted this room, but the first color was very similar.

This is Benjamin Moore’s Deep in Thought AF-30. In my defense, I brought a cabinet door to the paint store and asked them to match it, I really just wanted a white. It even still looked like it matched when the paint went up on the walls… but then it dried to a yellowish-green beige. I’m really just not a fan. Repainting the room is on my to do list.

The chalkboard wall is Benjamin Moore’s Chalkboard Paint in Onyx 2133-10. While I like the idea of contrast (and having a dark and moody backdrop), I really need my workspace to be light and bright. 

Another angle of the room. Right after we moved in, I painted the back of this bookcase Valspar’s Tranquility CI183. I was excited to have my own workspace and I had no idea what my style was yet. Furthermore, Mack kept silent and let me go to town since it was “my” space. It’s funny, as irritating as I sometimes find it to compromise on colors all of the time, our compromises have turned out to be my favorite colors. 

This just was not my style at all and it lacked the maturity I was craving. We recently repainted these built-ins and all of the trim we later installed in Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White 967 in semi-gloss. Now, for the record, this is a perfect match to Ikea’s “off-white” cabinets. I decided to trust my eyeballs instead of the color match machine, and it paid off. My plan is to paint the walls in Cloud White as well and possibly install board and batten. Since it is the room I work in and paint in, I’d really like it to be a blank canvas for creative thinking. 

Family Room

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Edgecomb Gray Family Room

I’ve come to believe that these missteps have a purpose. When I was looking at our living room slipcovers, which are actually not a pure white, (they are Pottery Barn’s Comfort Sofas and Grand Armchair in Natural Brushed Canvas- another compromise, since Mack wasn’t a fan of the pure white) I was concerned about how warm they looked against the previously Simply White semi-gloss trim, but because of my office missteps, I already knew a perfect solution.  When we completed the tongue-and-groove ceiling project, I decided we would use the slightly warmer Cloud White in eggshell on the ceiling and semi-gloss for the trim instead. It compliments the slipcovers much better, and I’m even considering doing a Cloud White (eggshell) board-and-batten feature wall behind the sofa and armchair. The walls are also Edgecomb Gray in eggshell, and it creates a cozy feeling in this particular room. 

Lyla’s Room

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | The perfect pink paint for a nursery.

Another challenge that I found was painting a room pink. When I was pregnant with Lyla, I painted her room Benjamin Moore’s Touch of Pink 2008-70 in satin. I chose it because it was a peachy pink, and I wanted something that was feminine but subtle. I got it up onto the walls, and it dried… and it looked like pepto bismol. I had a new can made, and they lightened the paint by 25%, and it was much softer

We originally painted the trim in Cloud white, but I decided to also go with the Simply White in semi-gloss for her trim during the repainting. My next step for this room is to do a lace stencil on the wall behind Lyla’s bed. I’m planning to paint the entire wall Simply White in Eggshell, then to stencil it with Touch of Pink. After some consideration, we are going to lighten the color to 50% and repaint the walls in eggshell. Pink is tricky! I think that the 50% will be perfect. Stay tuned!

Exterior

Updating the Exterior of Our Home

This was by far the most agonizing of all paint color choices. I discussed it more in this post. Since it’s so expensive to change a house color, I wanted to make sure to get it right the first time. I know a lot of people really liked the yellow, but it’s probably pretty obvious if you’ve made it this far that I prefer neutrals. I get asked a lot what the color was- it came with the house, but I suspect it was Benjamin Moore’s Hawthorne Yellow HC-4. The shutters and front door were a dark forest green. 

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme | Gray Huskie painted exterior.

What I find interesting about Benjamin Moore’s Gray Huskie 1473 is how extremely different from the paint swatch that it looks on an exterior. When I brought the sample home, I was extremely skeptical due to how dark and brown it appeared. However, on the exterior of our home, it is a bluish-gray and very very light. I went with Onyx for the shutters as well, but the painters went with a semi-gloss against my instructions. I would have chosen an eggshell for shutters. Overall, I am so happy with the combination! 

We still have several rooms in our home to makeover, and I will update this post accordingly when the time comes. I also wanted to mention that I tend to use Benjamin Moore Aura paints for walls and Advance for trim. This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just a preference! 

I hope that this helps clear up some of the color questions we receive frequently! If I missed anything, please feel free to ask in the comments!

New England Farmhouse Neutral Paint Color Scheme

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About Nina

Nina is the owner & designer of Nina Hendrick Design Company and the Nina Hendrick blog. Along with her husband Mack, she is chronicling the journey of transforming their builder-grade 80s colonial into a modern day New England dream home. Nina and Mack live in the suburbs of Boston with their three children and golden retriever Lucy.

Comments

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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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

Hi, Yolanda!

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

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?

Hi Deb,

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

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.

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

Love what you did with your rooms. Just bought a house and the extra house is painted in edgecomb gray. I’m at a loss when it comes to picking out window treatments/colors and new flooring. You’ve made it look easy… but m having difficulty…lol. any suggestions please? Thank you, enjoy your home, it’s beautiful!

Absolutely beautiful! I love everything you have done! Where did you get the curtains in your dining room?

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.

It was from Restoration Hardware, Missy!

Great post! We’re in the process of some updates to a 1975 split level home in RI. The kitchen and family are both north facing so not a ton of light. I like the pictures I see of edgecomb gray all over the blogosphere and am hoping to go this way for a neutral gray/beige. Have you ever encountered any pink undertones in your home with this color? Also curious for the choice of a satin finish across the house!!! Thanks for any insight!

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

Hi Stacy! They are the Leonia Silver 12×24″ tiles from Lowe’s!

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

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

Your color choices are bea-uti-ful!! I have made so many color faux-pas in the past. I tried to find the “perfect” green for my front door a few years ago and all I can say is “baby poop green” is not what I had in mind! And if the truth be told, I am sure there are more color bloopers in my future too. But posts like this will certainly help when deciding on color options.

Enjoy your upcoming trip. I am sure you will be inspired by the lovely countryside you will be visiting. Blessings!

Love your house, especially the exterior! So classical and beautiful. Great color choices.

Love your colors Nina. I used Revere Pewter in my family room and dining room. It fights with my brownish/reddish/ with a little cream tile but hoping it will look better after I get rid of the tile baseboards replacing them with white. Selecting paint colors was no fun with my Northern/Southern exposure. I live in AZ and my new used house has a lot of updates on our to do list. We are diy peeps like your household. One question: I like your PB chandelier. I love the outdoor nest look. Just wondering if you still love it! So many of the current styles are very simple and this one is a little busier. I have Port Meirion botanical dishes and want my kitchen to have a bright outdoor English garden feel. I would appreciate any feedback.

Oh no, your cabinet paint yellowed? I’m in the midst of selecting cabinet paint and I’m getting flustered with options. Definitely going with a white but the Benjamin Moore dealer said that the INSL-X wouldn’t yellow. My trim is white and I’m now very afraid my cabinets will look dingy in comparison over time. One question – did you happen to use a shellac based primer to block the stain from bleeding through? If not do you think it is the stain coming through or really just the paint turning?

Love all the pictures and great ideas! Thanks for posting!

Hi, Cheryl!

We used an oil based primer and it definitely isn’t the stain, but I need to edit the post to mention that we made the mistake of caulking after painting (which I detailed in this post), so we aren’t positive it’s the paint itself. If it is, it happened within in the past few months… after almost five years since we first painted. It still isn’t noticeable to anyone but me and my husband. We were hoping to get 3-5 years before deciding our next step, so it did what we thought it would!

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!

Looks great,love it.

Thank you, Karen! :)

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!

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!

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