Ralph Lauren Paint Palettes and Colors Explained

Interior of Dining room with green wall
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While purchasing your basic economy house paint, you may have gazed longingly at the Ralph Lauren Paint display. Ralph Lauren Paints always seem to possess a richer, more classic style than other paints. Is it worth your while to buy this admittedly more expensive designer paint?

Dreams and Illusions Are Yours for a Price

Paint manufacturers aren't just selling paint: they're selling transformations.

And who knows transformations better than Ralph Lifshitz, born in the Bronx at the tail end of the Great Depression? As he told Oprah Winfrey in 2002, he changed his name not because he feared reprisals--he embraces his Jewish roots--but because it had a certain four-letter word embedded in it.

Starting as a kid playing stickball in the Bronx, he transformed himself into a billionaire tastemaker, creating a dream world of WASP-y polo players on grand Eastern Seaboard estates...a world that could be obtainable by anyone simply for the right price.

About Ralph Lauren Paint

Palettes rarely change: Paint manufacturers are continually introducing new style sets and palettes. They have to; after all, this is their bread and butter. RLP tends to maintain the same core set of style palettes, and this is by intent. RLP is about tradition and permanence, not about chasing after the latest color trend of the moment. The colors and palettes found today at RLP have been there for years.

Treatments: One fantastic way to make a room stand out is to look at finish treatments, not just colors. RLP offers a unique paint treatment, Regent Metallics. At no point does this treatment ever look like metal, though. Instead, the paint has just enough metallic flecks in the mixture to give the paint a subtle, luminous glow. Color is predominant, glow secondary.

Suede is another specialty finish that is more than just matte. Rather, it replicates the texture of hand-brushed suede.

RLP availability: Ralph Lauren Paint's availability has been pared back. Formerly available at Home Depot store, it is no longer carried there. RLP paint can be purchased at a Ralph Lauren Home store, though.

Smaller "curated" range of colors: One unique aspect of Ralph Laurent Paint is its carefully chosen limited-quantity paint palettes. Unlike huge paint manufacturers like Valspar, Sherwin Williams, or Benjamin Moore, you will not find every color under the sun. This is one value of going with a designer paint: They steer you toward a vision.

They can be broken down into three broad categories: country estate colors, moody urban colors, and brighter tropical-type colors.

Who makes it?: RLP is made by Akzo Nobel N.V., a Dutch company. Akzo Nobel's Decorative Paints Unit, ICI Polska, is based in Poland and is also responsible for other paint brands you might know, such as Dulux and Glidden.

Country Estate: RLP's Claim to Fame

This broad category includes the RLP palettes Whitewash, Thoroughbred, and Naturals.

These palettes are what Ralph Lauren is most famous for: a feeling of an old and graceful country mansion with hunting dogs, rustic fireplaces, apple cider, and a vintage convertible parked on the gravel out front.

Most of these colors are neutrals, though in the Thoroughbred category you'll find deep reds, blues, and greens.

You can use one of RLP's extensive muted colors as your field color, which includes lots of grays, tans, and creams. Next, liven things up with conservative touches of brighter colors.

One other tip about choosing ceiling color (other than white). Simply take your wall color, then advance the same color up the swatch card to its lightest hue. That way, you'll have a ceiling color that chimes with your wall color, but is also light enough so as not to be overwhelming.

Ralph Lauren Paint Naturals
Ralph Lauren Paint

Moody Urban: City

Colors from the Urban Loft palette are made for the sophisticated urban pied-a-terre. They tend to be neutral but in the lower range of light intensity. They are dark, or rich, depending on how you view such things.

Think stormy grays, deep-deep reds, muted earth colors. and darker neutrals.

Ralph Lauren Paint Urban Loft
Ralph Lauren Paint

Bright Surprises and Tropical Delights

Accentuate the positive with bright accent colors. RLP is not commonly known for its vibrant colors, but it does have a few that you can employ as highlights to offset the neutrals.

This palette, called Island Brights, mainly evokes visions of tropical waters, with its aqua, blues, greens, turquoise. The sun comes out in the form of six yellow-themed colors. 

Ralph Lauren Paint Island Brights
Ralph Lauren Paint