10 Classic Paint Colors Inspired by Nature From Sherwin-Williams

A color expert's tips on bringing the pure colors of nature's elements indoors

Sherwin-Williams 2016 Colors - Pura Vida
©Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams' Pura Vida paint collection is not new, but it is enduring. Its remarkable staying power has everything to do with its soothing and engaging palette of neutrals inspired by the purest elements in nature. “The home is now the ultimate retreat from the world, and color is an easy and effective way to create a personal haven,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, about the resilience of the Pura Vida line.

The color collection forgoes bright colors in favor of hues that speak to nature's elements. Sherwin-Williams Pura Vida takes inspiration from natural elements, such as stone, alabaster, and sand, as well as natural fibers, such as cotton and jute. These elements remind us to live well, be well, and stay well.

  • Color Family: Neutrals in honed and sheered tones, marble hues, warm grays, khaki tones, blushed neutrals
  • Complementary Colors: Look to the undertone of each neutral to find the complementary colors
  • Pairs Well With: Soft tones with deep natural woods and dark metallic accents
  • Mood: Balanced and grounded
  • Where to Use: Walls, accent walls, cabinets

Here are the 10 shades of nature's essence found in the Pura Vida color palette. 

  • 01 of 10

    Ramie

    Ramie paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Ramie (SW 6156) is a medium-toned neutral paint color that mimics the color of a sandy beach and would be gorgeous as the inspiration for a soothing and mellow monochromatic color scheme. Use Ramie as your mid-point color, choosing lighter and darker colors to complete your scheme. For example, pair it with creamy warm whites and deep chocolate brown for a spa-like setting for a bedroom and bathroom, or a serene living room or kitchen.

    Tip

    Building a neutral color palette with these tones can give you a relaxing space that still feels lush and luxurious. Add textured accessories of the same neutral tones, such as chunky knit throws and throw pillows, to add depth.

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  • 02 of 10

    Ancient Marble

    Ancient Marble paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Ancient Marble (SW 6162) has a hint of green, without the blue undertone found in sage green. This is a relaxing and easy-to-use neutral if you're ready to move past beige. Pair with an off-white with a subtle green undertone and darker sages or browns. Add color to the palette with an earthy ochre that has more of an orange hue.

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  • 03 of 10

    Urbane Bronze

    Urbane Bronze paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Urbane Bronze (SW 70480), one of Sherwin-Williams' Colors of the Year, is a popular, stylish alternative to charcoal gray or dark brown. If you're looking for a darker and more complex color as a balance for your neutral color scheme, Urbane Bronze is a deeply rich choice.  "Layering texture and tone is key," says Sue Wadden, Sherwin-Williams' director of color marketing, who suggests pairing Urbane Bronze with shades of beige, parchment, mushroom, and ochre. "Rich leathers and soft oranges, yellows, blues, and greens have a place alongside this beautiful color."

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  • 04 of 10

    Gray Area

    Gray Area paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Gray Area (SW 70520) is a delightful beige color teetering on greige. Some beige neutrals can be too warm for a room, so the hint of gray undertone in this beige cools things down. Sue Wadden suggests using a soft, warm gray like this color to inspire relaxation in a room. For a modern and sophisticated spa-like bedroom or bathroom, pair this color with creamy off-whites.

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  • 05 of 10

    Unfussy Beige

    Unfussy Beige paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Unfussy Beige (SW 6043) can be easily considered as a taupe color (a warm color that blends a little more brown with a little less gray). The nostalgic richness of Unfussy Beige is perfect if you love the luxurious taupe colors of the past. According to Sue Wadden, a gentle, warm taupe like Unfussy Beige inspires a peaceful stillness in a room. It has a very subtle pink undertone that can look luscious by pairing it with deep, warm tangerine or medium dark red-orange accents.

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  • 06 of 10

    Alabaster

    Alabaster paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

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    Alabaster (SW 7008) was also once a Sherwin-Williams' Color of the Year and continues to be a popular creamy off-white. Bright white may be too much light if you are trying to create a relaxing color palette, which is where Alabaster comes in. Use of this full-bodied off-white can achieve a quiet harmony in a room. It's soft, tranquil, and also a more modern white that invites joy and warmth in a space, says Sue Wadden. Alabaster would look beautiful paired with light blushes and grays but is also adaptable enough to work with bright pinks, oranges, and other citrusy colors.

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  • 07 of 10

    Neutral Ground

    Neutral Ground paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    True neutral colors are hard to find. Neutral Ground (SW 7568) bridges the gap between a warm and cool beige. It has a green and greige undertone which can look warmer and slightly darker in a room with less natural light. The color may look very pale in a room with an enormous amount of natural light. It's best used in a room with balanced light to make the space feel open and refreshed. Use it with bright white or off-white trim, though it could work beautifully with natural wood trim since it won't bring out too much of the yellow tones of the wood.

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  • 08 of 10

    Useful Gray

    Useful Gray paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Useful Gray (SW 7050) is a warm and sophisticated neutral color. If you love gray but don't like the coolness of it, a gray with a hint of warmth like this one with its yellow and green undertones could fit the bill. Pair Useful Gray with a creamy off-white and deep espresso brown for a classic palette that suits a variety of decorating styles. A soft gray like this color invites relaxation when used in a room, suggests Sue Wadden.

    Tip

    Understanding cool versus warm colors can help choose the right neutral because make a space feel different. Cool colors, such as watery hues, help a room feel refreshing. Warm colors, such as hues of the sun, make a space feel cozy.

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  • 09 of 10

    Wool Skein

    Wool Skein paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

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    Love gold but want something much more subtle? Wool Skein (SW 6148) is a golden neutral that gives the warmth of gold in a decorator-friendly color. It won't overly lighten up a space, but this balanced color won't darken it, either. Instead, it will make a room feel cozy. Pair this elegant color with soft blue and blue-gray accents. The color looks amazing with travertine tile, creamy white trim, and dark wood flooring.

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  • 10 of 10

    Doeskin

    Doeskin paint swatch from Sherwin-Williams

    The Spruce

    Doeskin (SW 6044) is a soft neutral that could also be considered a rich taupe because there's more brown and less gray in the hue. This color has a complexity to its undertones, which includes subtle pinkish or mauve tones. This cozy and inviting color pairs well with other neutrals like creamy whites, grays, browns, and even black.

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