When prepping your home for sale, one of the most important tasks is giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. The standard advice from most real estate professionals is to keep them neutral with shades of white. But as a home stager and an interior designer, I prefer to take a more stylish approach.

Remember, the overall goal of home staging is to make each room feel fresh, inviting and neutral enough so that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living there. That doesn’t have to translate, however, to bland, boring and devoid of style. Sometimes white can work, but a greater concern is making sure the room doesn’t look too stark. These elegant, crowd-pleasing neutral paint colors can help you stage your home to perfection.


FIG Interiors

As you consider these choices, keep in mind that to present your home in the right light, you’ll want to select a neutral paint color that coordinates with your furnishings and finishes. The following warm or dark neutrals can add style and while maintaining a mainstream look.

Gorgeous ‘Greige’

Gray has been the new white for years now. But not all grays are created equal. “Greige,” a pale gray with a beige undertone, is one of the most versatile colors for staging. Essentially a pale taupe, greige is a cool, sophisticated hue that can elegantly complement and add depth to a mostly white room. It’s great in both large and smaller spaces.

Wall paint: Elephant’s Breath No. 229, Farrow & Ball


Echelon Custom Homes

In this room, this go-to paint color for home stagers adds subtle contrast to the mostly white and beige palette. If the walls here were painted white, the space would have a starker look with less personality.

Wall paint: Kestrel White SW-7516, Sherwin-Williams; also try Mega Greige, Sherwin-Williams


Plum Interiors

Bird’s Egg Blue

I always refer to this type of blue as a grown-up turquoise. A warm medium blue with sunny undertones, bird’s egg blue is an elegant choice for living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, particularly when the rest of the room is white, beige or gray.

Wall paint: Pale Powder, Farrow & Ball


Arch Studio, Inc.

A pale serene turquoise works well with both traditional and modern decor to create a soothing feeling in this room. This calm environment can have a positive emotional effect on potential buyers and allow them to appreciate the beauty of the space.

In this large bedroom with textiles in shades of white, the pale turquoise creates a stylistic feature of the angled ceilings and beams while still giving the room a peaceful color palette.

Wall paint: Woodlawn Blue, HC-147, Benjamin Moore; also try Lulworth Blue No. 89, Farrow & Ball, or Gossamer Blue 2123-40, Benjamin Moore


Dramatic Charcoal

A darker color can also be a surprising neutral. Many people might be hesitant to use a dark paint color, thinking it will make the room look smaller or darker. A dark color can, however, add depth on an accent wall. In a dark room it can conceal any shadows and replace an overall dark feeling with a serene and stylish one.

Charcoal, a deep gray, is a perfect dark neutral that can raise the style factor in a room as well as add a refreshing cool tone that complements beige and orange wood hues. Adding subdued drama, it works well in light-filled rooms or on an accent wall, especially in smaller rooms or on walls where you want to feature an architectural element.

For a stylish contrast, coordinate charcoal walls with accessories and furniture in lighter colors, such as whites and pale beiges.

Wall paint: Kendall Charcoal HC-166, Benjamin Moore


Maneli Wilson Interiors

In this double-height living room, the cool character of the charcoal accent wall tones down the warm honey tones of the wood and brown sofa. It also gives the room a crisp modern feeling, coordinates with the clean, contemporary architectural lines and features the soaring ceiling, which is no doubt one of the selling points of this home.

Accent wall paint: Stormy Sky 1616, Benjamin Moore; also try Peppercorn SW-7674, Sherwin-Williams


J.A.S. Design-Build

Golden Yellow

Let the sunshine in with a little golden yellow on your walls or fixed elements such as cabinets. This photo shows how a cheerful yellow can add warmth to a mostly white kitchen; it works well with white or stainless steel appliances.

Cabinet paint: Castilian Gold, Pratt & Lambert


Martha O’Hara Interiors

In other rooms, such as a cozy bedroom or living room, this color’s sunny disposition can add a layer of charm to an otherwise blah color palette. It’s especially helpful in rooms that have low light, no view, or architectural features that cast dark shadows. The golden hues help eliminate a darker feeling and can distract from a bleak view.

Look for a yellow that has a slight wheat or creamy undertone and that isn’t overly bright or garish. A mellow yellow coordinates with most wood hues, earth tones, blues and pastel colors.

Wall paint: Traditional Yellow 170, Benjamin Moore; also try Ray of Light CSP-910 or Beacon Hill Damask HC-2, both Benjamin Moore


Emily A. Clark

Classic Navy

Navy blue is an excellent paint color to add sophistication, drama and a feeling of refined maturity to a room. Similar to charcoal gray, navy works well in a light-filled room or on a featured accent wall, particularly in smaller rooms or walls with architectural details like a fireplace.

Coordinate navy with contrasting pale hues like whites, silver or beiges.

Wall paint: Stunning 826, Benjamin Moore


Lisa Clark Design

As seen in this beautiful bedroom, a navy accent wall gives an ordinary room a more designed and notable look. The dark wall not only creates a dramatic backdrop to the simple wood bed and white accessories, it also adds visual depth to that part of the room. This is a clever design trick to help a room feel a bit larger or appropriately functional to a prospective buyer.

Wall paint: Hale Navy HC-154, Benjamin Moore; also try Indigo Ink HDC-CL-26A, Behr, or Commodore 6524, Sherwin-Williams


McKee & Company

Creamy Whites

If your walls are already a shade of white and adding a new color isn’t in your comfort zone, look to neutral creamy whites to give the room a warm and refreshing look.

Creamy white has an undertone of pale beige or greige, without being too yellow. The added warmth can give a stark room a welcoming glow without adding color.

Wall paint: Elmira White HC-84, Benjamin Moore


Chandelier Development LLC

Pair your creamy white walls with a whiter color on the trim, ceiling and fixtures. The ivory-toned walls in this bathroom, for example, create a subtle contrast between the cooler white of the bathtub and surround. The effect in this rustic bathroom is a soft glow — something a paler or cooler white wouldn’t do.

Wall paint: Muskoka Trail 974, Benjamin Moore; also try Linen White 912 or Glacier White AC-40, both Benjamin Moore; ceiling paint: White Dove, Benjamin Moore



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