How to Choose the Best Warm Neutral Paint Colors For Your Home

We've been moving away from cool colors to warm neutral paint colors for some time now, but we're not headed all the way back to the Tuscan-inspired 2000s. This is a more modern warming that bridges the gap between warm and cool and offers flexibility in creating a balanced and timeless look.

A great way to bridge that gap is to use flexible neutrals that have a good balance of warm and cool. We're talking about off-whites, warm grays, taupes, and soft beiges. So today, we're going to explore creating light and airy looks by going a little deeper in color to create a warm, natural, and relaxed feel.

Warm neutral paint colors in a living room

Here are three things to consider when selecting warm neutral paint colors for living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and offices in your home.

Light reflectance value

Light reflectance value

The light reflectance value, or LRV, of a paint, lets you know how bright it is and how much light it will reflect. The scale is from 0 to 100, with 0 being absolute black and 100 being the brightest white. The higher the LRV value of a paint, the more light it will reflect.

Modern Gray vs White Dove

The warm neutrals we're discussing here with LRVs in the 60s and 70s are light, but are richer and offer a more cozy feel than white paints that have a higher LRV.

Neutral paint colors with warm undertones


All colors have an undertone and they're most noticeable in light colors. Those that look warmer will have yellow, beige, or pink undertones.

Neutral paint colors with cool undertones

Those with a cooler look will have blue, green, or violet undertones.

Comparing paint colors against a bright white

A good way to identify a paint's undertone is to compare it against a very bright white. You'll notice they look much deeper than soft white paint colors, and you can see how pairing them with white trim offers a nice contrast.

White trim colors

Some great trim colors to get this effect are Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace, one of the brightest whites available, or Sherwin-Williams Pure White, which is less bright and gives a more subtle but still very effective contrast.

Balance between warm and cool

There are many warm neutrals that have a wide range of undertones, but the ones we're talking about here will focus on the delicate balance between warm and cool.

Undertones of violet and pink

These colors are light enough to have a soft, almost imperceptible undertone of mostly violet or pink, and how they're perceived will be affected by both natural and artificial light.

Direct and indirect sunlight vs artificial light


Light, both natural and artificial, plays a big role in how color is perceived. The direction your natural light is coming from will have a big effect as will the color temperature of your light bulbs, which lean toward the warmer side.

Chantilly Lace LRV

Light colors with an LRV of 50 or above will reflect light and are the most affected by light and colors in their surroundings.

Different light in rooms facing different directions
  • Cool light from North-facing windows will enhance cool tones and make the space look more gray or blue.
  • Warm light from South-facing windows will enhance warm tones and make the space look more yellow.
  • East-facing windows provide a warmer light in the morning and a cooler light in the afternoon.
  • West-facing windows do the opposite by providing cooler light in the morning and warm bright light in the afternoon.
Warm neutral paint colors by Sherwin-Williams

The best warm neutral paint colors

There are lots of beautiful warm neutrals available, so use the following as a jumping-off point for your exploration. If a color appeals to you, get a fan deck or a sample card that shows adjacent colors to see if one of them might be an even better fit for you.

Put samples on the walls of each room that you're considering painting and view them at all times of day in natural and artificial light to make sure you're happy with how they look.

Sherwin-Williams Heron Plume

1. Sherwin-Williams Heron Plume

The lightest of our Sherwin-Williams warm neutral paint colors with an LRV of 75 is Sherwin-Williams Heron Plume. On its own, it looks like a soft white but when compared to a brighter white, you can see it reads a warm gray. It offers a great balance of warmth and coolness with its subtle violet-pink undertones and creates a soft warm vibe.

Sherwin-Williams Aesthetic White

2. Sherwin-Williams Aesthetic White

Sherwin-Williams Aesthetic White also looks like a soft white, but it's actually a light grayed-down beige with an LRV of 73 and a subtle touch of violet undertone, which keeps it from skewing to yellow. It reads softly warm against white trim, so it's great for when you want to keep things light and airy but want a bit more depth in color than a soft white.

Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak

3. Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak

Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak with an LRV of 69 is a beautiful neutral taupe. With its pink to slightly yellow undertone, this color is a chameleon, reading warm in direct sunlight and soft, warm gray in less direct light. If you don't mind its changeability, pale oak is a great choice to bring in a balance of warm and cool.

Benjamin Moore's Balboa Mist

4. Benjamin Moore's Balboa Mist

Benjamin Moore's Balboa Mist is a pale warm gray with an LRV of 66. With its subtle violet undertones, this color is also a bit of a chameleon, looking more gray in morning light versus much warmer in afternoon light.

Sherwin-Williams Modern Gray

5. Sherwin-Williams Modern Gray

The deepest of our colors is Sherwin-Williams Modern Gray with an LRV of 62. Modern Gray leans taut but is light enough that it can read off-white and bright light. It has a good bit of saturation and contrasts well against white trim.

As a light shade with a subtle pink undertone, it will definitely warm up a room while keeping a light yet cozy look.

Warm neutral paint colors

Warm neutral paint colors

If you're looking for the best warm neutral paint colors for your home, I hope this gave you some inspiration. I'd love to know what you think of these specific warm neutral paint colors, or if you have any other favorites, like warm neutral paint colors by Dulux. Share your thoughts by commenting down below.

Join the conversation
  • Skampy Skampy on Dec 13, 2023
    My house is in the greige color that is the warmer side of gray in Behr's Moth Gray that is very pale (dictionary describes as "a color between beige and gray"). All of your colors look great with it. I could never live in a cold gray house as I am a warm color person, but that is almost all you see these days.
  • Cosette Burke Cosette Burke on Feb 11, 2024
    Very informative.