Some paint colors, like blue, green, or white, are immediately recognizable. But others strike a balance between two different hues, making them a little tougher to define if you are not a decorating professional. Taupe is one of those neutral shades. Taupe is somewhere between gray and brown, with many different shades of taupe in between. It is sometimes confused for gray or beige, but what makes it taupe is its gray and brown mixture. Many interior design professionals agree that walls painted this shade provide the ideal backdrop for brighter hues, warm woods, and brass or gold accents.
One of the taupe's strengths is many colors go with taupe; it can handle a versatile color palette, such as pastel pink, sky blue, lavender, yellow, olive, and violet. Each taupe hue has its merits; some work better based on the room, such as sun exposure (sunnier or darker) and other colors in the space. No one shade of taupe is the best since it's situational, although experts agree that Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray is the best classic shade of taupe.
To help you pinpoint the best taupe paint colors for your home, we asked several decor experts to share their favorite shades for a broad range of decorating styles.
- Color Family: A blend of brown and gray
- Complementary Colors: Blue
- Pairs Well With: Warm colors such as olive or soft pink or a cooler sky blue or lavender color
- Mood: Calm and content
- Where to Use: Every room including dining rooms, bedrooms, and entryways; popular color for kitchen cabinets
01 of 10
Best Taupe for Dark Rooms: Benjamin Moore Sparrow AF-720
Brianna Thomas, the home design blogger behind Bloom in the Black, says Sparrow by Benjamin Moore is her favorite shade of taupe. "It is the perfect mix of deep gray and rich brown that changes in mood throughout the day."
Thomas suggests using the paint color in any space that lacks natural light. "The shade provides excellent warmth to a dark room while remaining the perfect neutral backdrop for literally any accent color story. Brights, pastels, and more neutrals—they all work! It is particularly beautiful in a family room or as a counterpoint to a bathroom that has a lot of crisp, white tiles."
02 of 10
Best Cozy Shade of Taupe: Poised Taupe by Sherwin-Williams 232-C5
"My favorite taupe paint color is Poised Taupe by Sherwin-Williams. It is a deep, true taupe color and it works with a variety of color palettes," says Jessica Salomone, the owner and interior designer behind Lotus and Lilac Design Studio. She adds that the shade works best in spaces where you want to create an enveloping, cozy feeling like in bedrooms, dens, or reading nooks.
03 of 10
Best Taupe for Creating Drama: Benjamin Moore Upper West Side CSP-70
New York-based interior designer Alec Holland is partial to a taupe paint color called Upper West Side by Benjamin Moore—and not just because of its city-centric name. "It is the ideal color when you do not want white walls. It is rich enough to create depth and drama, yet it still has a clean brightness to it." It pairs well with whites and other creamy neutrals and serves as a great color for living rooms, bedrooms, and home offices.
04 of 10
Best Taupe for Sunny Rooms: The Spruce Best Home Seasonal Taupe SPR-23
"An authentic shade of taupe has a not-so-subtle brown undertone, which can make it off-putting to those who fear dark walls," says Tara Polony, an interior designer out of Dallas, Texas. "What I love about The Spruce Best Home Seasonal Taupe is that it has a distinct brown and gray base without feeling too weighty or heavy. If you are looking to make a sun-drenched space feel more intimate and cozy, this is the color to use."Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Best Taupe With a Hint of Green: Dunn Edwards Paints Smoke & Ash DET 514
A neutral paint color with a subtle green undertone can give a room a relaxing vibe, says the design team behind Utah-based interior design firm Studio McGee. One of their favorites is Smoke & Ash by Dunn Edwards Paints. The earthy paint color works beautifully with brass accents and wood details.
06 of 10
Best Taupe for Neutral Decor: Magnolia Home Antiquing
"Taupe walls can make neutral furnishings pop," says New York City architect John Mochelle. One of his go-to shades when designing interiors for clients is Antiquing by Magnolia Home. It's a deeper shade of taupe, which allows brighter, lighter colored accents to really own the spotlight against walls this color.
07 of 10
Best Classic Shade of Taupe: Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173
When it comes to enduring colors, certified interior decorator Liz Toombs says Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray is the perfect shade of taupe.
Toombs, the president of PDR Interiors, says the hue is a part of the historical color collection at Benjamin Moore, so it possesses a timeless quality that is both classic and on-trend. "One of my clients loved this color so much that since I specified it in her first house, she has used it in every property she has purchased or renovated since."
08 of 10
Best Warm Shade of Taupe: Behr Smokestack N220-3
"Taupe continues to be hugely popular and a happy medium for homeowners," says Sarah Fishburne, the Director of Trend and Design at Home Depot. She adds that taupe is ideal for those who want a fresh neutral that is not as cool as a true gray. One of her favorites for room warming appeal is Smokestack by Behr. It has a little more yellow than some of the other taupe colors by Behr without dipping into the khaki or gold zone.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Best Light Shade of Taupe: Clare No Filter
Nicole Gibbons, an Oprah-vetted interior designer and a co-founder of paint label Clare, suggests one of the paint shades from her collection: No Filter. It is a beautiful light neutral with a gorgeous warm undertone. It's lighter in color, so it can be used in smaller spaces without making them look cramped or dingy.
10 of 10
Best Grayish Shade of Taupe: Sherwin-Williams Moth Wing SW 9174
Sue Wadden, the color trend expert at Sherwin-Williams, suggests a taupe color called Moth Wing. "The paint is a warm and grayish taupe that fits right in with the emerging desert modern aesthetic. It is the perfect neutral backdrop for natural accents like leather, wool, and wood." Quite a few colors will look nice against Moth Wing, so try experimenting with everything from earth tones to light neutrals when decorating.