Nate and Jeremiah Share Their Best Paint Tips—and Why They'll Always Adore Neutrals

The design duo recently completed a makeover using just 3 paint colors

Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent in playroom.

Courtesy of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

Picking paint colors can be mystifying: walking into your home improvement store leaves you lost in a sea of shades, it's tough to tell one finish from the other, and committing to a wall color that will be there for (what seems like) forever is truly intimidating. Any time we can get advice from design pros on choosing paint colors is a gift—and luckily for us, our favorite design duo is here to share all their painting wisdom.

Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent recently teamed up with Behr to curate a designer-approved collection of shades, as well as use their favorite neutrals to makeover the home of a very deserving family, which premiered today on the Jennifer Hudson Show. We got a chance to catch up with them about the makeover and how paint laid the groundwork for a stunning transformation.

And luckily for us, the duo was also chock-full of great tips for selecting timeless paint colors you'll never tire of—keep reading to learn all about it.

Transforming Spaces for a Deserving Family

Behr has partnered with Operation Homefront, which has a really beautiful mission statement about helping military families feel secure in the communities that they've spent so much time and effort to protect. Berkus and Brent were able to work on the two most high-traffic areas in the family’s home: the living room and the playroom.

“We have never gotten tired of surprising somebody with a space that really rises up to greet them," Berkus says. "This family is so great, and they've done so much for their community.” 

Middle school sweethearts, the couple has been married for 14 years with three beautiful kids—making them incredibly deserving of a home makeover that was long overdue.

"It's really fun to come in, meet great people, and say thank you for everything that they do," Brent says. "We thought: let's create something that feels beautiful and reflects who you are."

Nate and Jeremiah with homeowners.

Courtesy of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

To use throughout this makeover, Berkus and Brent selected Behr's Tranquil Gray, Even Better Beige, and—Brent’s personal favorite, Behr's 2023 Color of the Year, Blank Canvas. Because of these neutrals' adaptable qualities, they could be the underpinnings for a traditional or very modern interior.

"We didn't want it to be boring—we wanted it to be sophisticated, we wanted it to feel layered, assembled, and collected over time. When you get a neutral right, that's what it does. It’s a gateway for creating a really beautiful space," Berkus says.

How to Make Choosing a Paint Color Easier

Nothing quite defines a space like paint can—it lays the foundation for a room's entire color palette. So, choosing a color shouldn't be taken lightly. Although important, the duo knows that paint selections can be quite overwhelming, and because of this, Berkus is loving Behr's newest designer-curated collection of 30 colors, largely rooted in neutrals.

“It’s an extra confidence boost for a lot of DIYers,” Berkus says. “You're standing in that in front of that wall at The Home Depot, and it's overwhelming. The fact that it's been cooled down to 30 shades is really smart." And Brent agrees, noting that with this curated selection, you’re already exposed to the best of the best paint.

In terms of where to start when choosing a wall color, both halves of the duo noted that though they love going bold in decor, neutrals are the best, most timeless option for walls.

"For both Jeremiah and me, neutrals have been a real staple of our individual design styles," Berkus says. "The three colors that we chose for this project really show that three colors can be the foundation for almost any design style."

Playroom makeover completed by Nate and Jeremiah

Courtesy of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

The Duo's Best Tips for Selecting Paint Colors

As seasoned designers and decorators, Berkus and Brent know a thing or two about selecting paint. That's why we are all ears to hear their expert take on choosing the right one for your space—and Brent's first bit of advice may surprise you.

“Take your time, honestly,” Brent says. “It's not a popular thing to say—in a world like ours, everybody wants things to be done super quick. But the truth is, finding the perfect paint is really the backdrop for everything you do. It's so important to the process, especially design-wise."

Brent encourages people to put up to 10 different swatches on the wall before making a final section. That will account for changes in light throughout the day and how the color reflects the changing moods in the space. Finding a paint that encompasses and articulates your vision is what is most important.

Neutral iving room makeover by Nate and Jeremiah

Courtesy of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

Should You Go Bold or Neutral With Paint?

As with many existential questions, the duo agrees that it depends. For Brent, he'll always emphasizes that neutrals bring a lot of tranquility to a space. He notes that Blank Canvas is the perfect backdrop for bringing in anything you want or adding any personality through different textures, materials, or accent pieces.

"Nate and I always lean toward this: a new, more neutral palette that feels timeless at the end of the day—you're not going to get tired of a really beautiful neutral," he says.

But, Berkus suggests considering all your neutral options before deciding that white is right for your space. There is a great big world of neutrals to choose from, if that is your preference, and maybe white isn't always the right move.

“People panic and just paint the room white, then wish that they didn't,” Berkus says. “Then, they start with an accent wall, and maybe that doesn't look right. I think that those three colors in the home bleed well into one another and feel almost historic in some ways.”