How we found the perfect neutral paint

Posted in Blog, Room Sources, Tips, Projects & DIYs
on April 20, 2016
Want to know our paint colors?

We get a lot of questions about what paint we used in our home. I have to say, my friends have really good taste! 😉 Before we moved in, I read lots of blogs trying to find that perfect neutral.

Picking a paint color can be very overwhelming! There are so many images of beautiful, bright rooms with crisp trim and gorgeous decor. It’s easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole of options. Do you want white, or beige, or gray or greige? After watching about 72 episodes of Joanna Gaines making a room look open and bright with a can of paint, I knew it could be done in our little cape too. The rooms aren’t big and I wanted to give the illusion of more space, so the paint needed to feel light and airy.

The first color that really called to me was Moonshine, by Benjamin Moore. I found it on  Young House Love’s second house tour and really fell in love with it. It felt so refreshing and youthful!

Photo from Young House Love blog

Photo from Young House Love blog


It’s a beautiful soft gray that didn’t look too cool or too warm–exactly what I wanted! I was feeling confident and waited until the last minute to actually pick up a sample and swatch it. The plan was to use one color throughout the whole house to keep the painting process simple and if the color was right, it would work everywhere. Right?

Wrong! I finally picked up a sample of my beautiful Moonshine paint and put swatches all over the house. Every single room had a block of this color. I was quite thorough 😉

It became clear very quickly that this was not our color. Though it looked great in photos online and even in the can, it just did not work on the walls here. The warm wood trim in the living room and all the green trees reflecting in from outside made the color look blue. (Noooo!) This is where I emphasize to you… BUY A SAMPLE. Don’t just dive in and start throwing paint up all over the place.

I went back to my hardware store and scoured over the paint chips with my mom for a good hour. We place swatch after swatch next to each other. This one looks a little pink, this one looks a little green, that one is too dark… eventually we landed on Pale Oak (OC-20).

It was more on the taupe side, than gray, but knowing how the ‘perfect gray’ looked in our house, I knew leaning a little on the warm side would help avoid having that blue cast from before.


As soon as I got some swatches painted all around the house (again) it was like the heavens opened up! Bestill my heart! Does anyone else feel this strongly about paint? Needless to say we went with this color (in a flat finish) everywhere.

Depending on the time of day, it appears to be a soft pale gray, or a warmer tone, which is the look I had wanted in the first place. It compliments the wood floors beautifully and the light berber carpet upstairs. I love how it feels calm, and looks different all the time. If it’s bright and sunny out, the walls appear slightly green because of all the trees surrounding us and on cloudy days, it’s a soothing neutral.

Want to know our paint colors?

As for the trim and doors, wherever it was stained wood, we left it. We love having the original 1949 wood, it brings a lot of character to the space. I love having some built in history here. Anywhere that the trim was already painted, we updated with a clean, soft white. We chose Atrium White (PM-13) and it matched up with the walls and floors famously.

atrium white aura Ben Moore


I’d love to hear from you! Do you like neutral walls in your home? What are you favorite colors? Be sure to like our new Facebook page, where I share more ideas from I&H as well as other favorite bloggers!

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DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing
Selecting finishes for our non-white kitchen


  • Layla

    first of all, can i say your blog looks a m a z i n g !!!! and we had the same exact issues with paint in our house…we repainted the dining room 3 times because everything looked baby blue! even if it was a pure grey! i love your advice on buying samples…it’s worth it!

    April 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply
    • Brittany

      That’s so funny! I’m glad I’m not alone in the struggle 😉 (And really, should I be surprised you had the same problem? #separatedatbirth)

      April 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm Reply
  • Heather

    Incredible Britt!! So lovely!! The color is absolutely stinkin snd perfect for light and airy-ness to the space!! ❤️

    April 17, 2016 at 5:38 pm Reply
    • Brittany

      Thanks Heather!! xo

      April 19, 2016 at 10:53 am Reply
  • Debbie

    I have Pale Oak in my bedroom and absolutely love it. It could easily become my whole house paint. Looks gorgeous in yours.

    May 21, 2016 at 8:28 am Reply
    • Brittany

      Hi Debbie! Thank you–I love how it looks different in many of the rooms of our house. It doesn’t feel like the same color everywhere

      May 21, 2016 at 5:12 pm Reply

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