top 10 paint resources

by Grace Bonney

This weekend I spent some time mulling over the imaginary paint colors I want to use in our new apartment. Never mind that we don’t have a new apartment yet, I’m already painting it in my head. And it’s going to include plenty of beautiful dark grays and peaches. I like to think I’m something of a gray paint connoisseur, having painted my last three homes every possible gray hue under the sun. While I was checking out gray selection at the hardware store below our house, I decided to keep the “Top Resources” theme going with my favorite resources for great interior paint. Paint quality and color palette offerings can vary widely from brand to brand, so today I’m sharing the trusted brands (and a few specific colors) that I’ve used and recommended over the years. Whether you’re painting your room or a piece of furniture, these companies have you covered. Happy painting! xo, grace

  • : Behr does bright colors perfectly. Their rich oranges (“Glowing Firelight” is beautiful) and bright lime greens are my favorites.
  • : Benjamin Moore is my go-to paint brand. Primarily because they have an amazing range of grays (““, “” and “” are my favorites). Their browns are also incredibly rich and warm (I used, and love, “Bittersweet Chocolate” in my bathroom).
  • : California Paints makes some great low VOC interior paints. I think of them when I’m looking for earthy tones: orange, red, mauve, yellow. Their best colors remind me of a California desert color palette. “” is a dusty orange-peach hue from their Historic collection that looks good in rooms with afternoon light.
  • : I’ll be honest — I think you can blindly pick a color from Farrow & Ball and end up with something that will look amazing. These high-quality paints work perfectly in modern or traditional homes. They have a sophisticated look no matter what color you choose. Note: their color palette is a bit more refined, so this isn’t the first stop I’d make if you’re looking for bold or edgy hues.
  • : I think chalkboard paint feels played out for some people because the black and white combo seems to be everywhere. But Hudson Paint makes chalkboard paint in a wide range of colors that are perfect for small or large projects. Their “” color is my absolute favorite. I’ve had a can of it sitting in my closet for over a year now, just waiting for the perfect project.
  • : Much like Farrow & Ball, Martha’s colors are classic, sophisticated and hard to mess up. They’re not the boldest or brightest on the market, but if you’re looking for something crisp and clean, this is your brand.
  • : Ok, this isn’t meant for full rooms, but it’s impossible to ignore this brand. I discovered Montana Spray Paints through Erica at and have been using them ever since. Their wide range of spray paints are a must for any artist or home owner looking for a great variety of hues (they have 182!).
  • : This company specializes in old fashioned milk paint formulas in beautiful historical color palettes. I love their “” color mixed with 90% white.
  • : Barb at opened my eyes to milk paint and ever since then I’ve been dying to try some. A good friend painted her bedroom with this company’s “Raw Umber” color and it was so beautiful. Their color range is a little limited, but if you like the look of milk paint, this is a great source.
  • : When I think of clean-lined modern homes, I think of Valspar. Their bold colors are perfect for those who want something that will make a statement. I love their brick-red hues, but their purple-gray options like “” are the perfect combination of bold and sophisticated.
  • : I got so many emails about this paint after I wrote the guide that I had to add it. A crowd favorite for its wide range of colorful low VOC paints.

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  • Thanks for letting me know about Montana Spray Paint! I have a project in mind that I need a yellow-y orange for, and it’s been impossible to find! Montana’s website listed a dealer near me so I’m going to check that out soon!

  • Thanks for this Grace! I have about 4 different peachy/pink paint chips up in my bathroom and they all look different in the day/night! I’ll have to check into the Salmon 90%.. it might be the answer!

  • Excellent roundup. I concur with your Benjamin Moore recommendations, and would add Smoked Oyster, Stone Harbor, and Coventry Gray as additional gray favs!

  • I recently painted my living room in Essential Gray (SW 6002) by Sherwin-Williams. It’s multi-faceted — looks blue sometimes, sometimes purplish, at other times straight on gray. I <3 gray paint.

  • Great round up ~ it’s much appreciated! Because you’re so experienced in choosing just the right gray, I would love to know your favorites in that department.

  • so many great choices of paint companies!

    I’m one of those people who are tired of seeing chalkboard paint all over the place. However, I think offering multiple colors add a fresh spin.

  • May I add Sherwin Williams to this list? I especially like their color theme palettes designed for many architectural design periods. The color range is these is great for both interior or exterior. The paint has excellent coverage, and darker exterior colors are long lasting (on our house).

  • Love Farrow and Ball (Pavillion grey makes anything prettier)! I would probably love the other brands too if we had acces to them here in Spain…..

  • What a lovely post about paint! I would definitely support the push for Benjamin Moore paints. Incredibly product. Especially their Aura line, makes painting a really enjoyable experience, it goes on so smoothly.

    It should also be pointed out that they have environmentally friendly paints. Love it!

  • I know a lot of bloggers talk about the BM paint, but we’ve had such good luck with regular ol’ Behr from home depot that I’m kinda afraid to try something new. Just yesterday, we finished our new kitchen in Teal Ice and we both love it. Of course, we really like color, so that fits in with what you were saying.

  • I love Benjamin Moore too. Am surprised not to see Donald Kaufman on the list… ! Expensive but very, very pretty.

  • My husband & dad are both professional painters & they’ve both agreed that Behr Premium Plus paint (they buy from home depot) is the best…it’s VERY nice & thick & goes on just lovely. The paint+primer stuff is crazy good too- we went from bright white to a shockingly bright blue in one single coat. Amazing.

    The thing I like about this brand is that I can go through the color samples of ANY of those brands listed above, pick the one I like & then have it color matched at home depot. I’ve brought in greeting cards with a gorgeous tone on them before & they’ve been able to color match.

  • I just finished painting my new house, and I have a fun NYC secret. There’s an amazing Benjamin Moore paint shop in Woodside (Queens) that carries all Farrow & Ball paint samples. But instead of charging you the $80 a gallon price, they match the exact color w/ Benjamin Moore paint. I did my dining room in “Off Black” and library in “Parma Grey”. Could not be happier!

  • Pratt & Lambert’s color selection is divine. I just used Atlantic Tulip. Love their paint, love their colours.

  • Im wondering if, when using a paint with primer and paint in one, can that be applied straight to drywall? Or does this type of paint only apply to walls that have been primed and or painted before?

  • Thanks for this! We’re moving into our first house in a little over a week, and I have been devouring paint chips for the past month.

    Do you have any idea if Milk paint is sold at chain hardware stores? Unfortunately those are the only options we have in our city :(

    • stefanie

      i haven’t seen it in chain stores, but you can order milk paint online if you’d like to try it :)

      or if you’re feeling adventurous you can make your own:


  • thanks, grace. any suggestions for a dark gray in a bathroom w/ no natural light? i know it breaks some rules, but i like it. i think the contrast w/ bright white tile and trim will be fantastic. that said, the color has to be just right. :)

    • for me, chelsea gray is the best around. but it’s a green gray. i used it in my old apt and EVERYONE commented on it when they came over. it was always “woah, what is that color? that’s awesome”. but “grey dove” by benjamin moore is nice, too.

  • I completed second Jess’s YOLO Colorhouse recommendation! I’m surprised more design folks aren’t concerned about VOC’s! Especially those of us with little ones or babes on the way…chemicals=bad!

  • getting ready to paint our condo. Having trouble selecting a gray benjamin moore paint (light) with white trim. What white will look good. Not too yellow..

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