Choosing truly timeless paint colors can feel a bit overwhelming. Planning to sell your home within the next five years? You have even more at stake when it comes to choosing the right paint color! And if you’ve spent a hot minute on Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram, or HGTV trying to figure out what’s “hot and what’s not,” you know that color trends come and go faster than it takes a wet paintbrush to dry out on a hot Texas day.
So how do you choose a color that feels fresh and modern, but can still withstand the test of time?
What makes a color “trendy?”
“Trendy” describes anything that’s currently popular with the masses. In terms of paint, it generally refers to a particular color group (like gray walls or blue cabinets). Trendy paint colors are beautiful and fun! The trouble is that they aren’t very flexible. That means when the trend shifts (as it oh-so likely will), you may be limiting your home’s decorative flexibility.
Now, if we’re talking about using trendy colors in your throw pillows or artwork, or even an accent wall, it’s not really an issue. That small-scale stuff is easy to adjust (and really the best place to invest in color trends)! But when it comes to large-scale color choices that are more expensive to update, like the wall colors for your whole house or the color of your cabinets…you really can paint yourself into a corner.
Planning to sell your home in the next five years? Choosing a timeless color is even more important! Because what’s trendy today may not be popular in a few years, and that means you will be putting a gigantic timestamp on your home. That definitely should not be your goal if you’re planning to sell in the near future.
For example, take a wild guess at when this super trendy harvest gold and avocado green colored kitchen was popular:
What makes a color “timeless?”
Timeless paint colors are more versatile. They’re lower chroma (less colorful, less saturated) and have the flexibility to lean into many colors without being tied down to a single hue. Timeless paint colors are blended neutrals that have a good balance of both warmth and coolness that makes them the perfect backdrop to many, many styles and trends.
Of course, nothing is absolutely trend-proof (sorry, my psychic abilities don’t extend quite that far). And there’s no such thing as a “no-fail” paint color that works in every home (that’s why you should always, always compare test swatches). But these five colors have a really good chance at coming out on top!
Our Favorite Timeless Paint Colors
- Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige 7036 is one of my personal favorites. I always describe this paint color as being able to lean into whatever surrounds it. In a room with brown wood and beige tile, it goes beige. In a space with grayer fixtures, it tends to reflect more coolness. Its slightly lighter version, Aesthetic White, is also incredibly flexible.
- Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173 is a gorgeous middle ground between gray and beige. Not too cool, not too warm. Don’t want to date your house and not ready to commit to a new trend? This may be your color!
- Sherwin-Williams City Loft 7631 is soft, light, and warm. It’s leans a bit creamier and acts as a great go-between for gray/greiges and warmer brown finishes.
- Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray 7029 is a beautiful warm, mid-tone gray that’s really more of a “greige” at heart. This gorgeous color is fully adaptable to a variety of styles, decorating trends, and interior finishes.
- Benjamin Moore Collingwood OC-28 is soft and classic. It has an LRV of 62, which means it’s not too heavy for darker rooms and still holds it’s own in a room with natural light (it might wash out just a bit in a room that gets a heavy dose of direct sunlight). Collingwood adds a refreshing touch of calm, cool, and collected…no matter what other decor trends you happen to be embracing.
Wait, does this paint look… purple?!
It’s possible. The quality of light (both interior and exterior) affects everything when it comes to evaluating paint color!
With a balanced quality of light, these five paint colors are beautiful mid-tone neutrals, which makes them extremely versatile and adaptable to any on-trend complements. Based on their spectral data, all five of these paint colors are low chroma (I.e., not very colorful, near-neutral) hues from the Yellow-Red (Orange) to Yellow color family. Near-neutrals from this color family are infamous for flashing hints of purple under certain lighting conditions.
If these colors appear purple in your space (and if you have average quality vision), it most likely means you are working with an unbalanced quality of light. To find a “timeless” color that works better for your space, you’ll need to either adjust your lighting or sample near neutrals from a different color family. (This is actually a pretty simple, straightforward process! I teach you exactly how to evaluate spectral data and adjust for lighting in my online course, Color By The Numbers™.)
Want a handy tool for keeping track of the timeless paint colors you’re sampling in each room of your home? Get our free Home Paint Color Organization Chart, available for instant download in our Library of Freebies!
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