America’s 50 States of Gray (and White and Beige) Paint Shades

Are your paint colors on trend?

Punchy and bold colors are out, while more neutral shades are in, according to a recent study conducted by Raleigh, NC-based home improvement contractor All Star Home. It was based on analyzing 1,821 Google search terms related to Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore’s most popular paint colors over the past 12 months.

The company also interviewed more than 1,000 homeowners across the country about their paint color preferences.

An updated traditional kitchen with painted cabinets in Sherwin-Williams’ Greek Villa hue.

(Photo courtesy of Paper Moon Painting via Houzz)

Across the country, gray, white, beige, and greige (the lovechild of gray and beige) were the top paint colors.

“The fact that America continues to choose these colors for 2023 is certainly not surprising, given that the interior design market turned to neutrals during the [COVID-19] pandemic,” says Annamaria Zampogna, co-founder of architectural firm Forza Creativa. “Our homes are our refuge, and it is proven that gray, white, and beige are the flag bearers for promoting balance and serenity. This preference will continue as long as we look to add overall well-being in our lives.”

The most popular paint color in America was Sherwin-Williams’ Grizzle Gray, a darker, moodier gray, according to the study. It was followed by Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue, Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster, Benjamin Moore’s Distant Gray, and Benjamin Moore’s Capitol White.

The states where homeowners preferred darker colors

Sherwin Williams paint color in "Iron Ore"
Iron Ore by Sherwin-Williams

(Sherwin Williams)

However, not all U.S. states preferred these lighter, more muted shades of white and beige.

In America’s Southern and Western regions, for instance, homeowners preferred darker grays like Sherwin-Williams’ Iron Ore, which was the most searched-for paint color in Georgia, Texas, and Nevada.

States with larger inventories of older homes, like Illinois and Connecticut, slanted toward more historic colors like Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.

Then there were the states that preferred darker, classic colors. Colder weather states Vermont and Alaska leaned toward Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy, while in Mississippi folks preferred Benjamin Moore’s Black Forest Green.

Color is the hardest part

Choosing the right color is often the hardest part of a big renovation project.

About 40% of homeowners say they’ve regretted the original color they chose, and 32% have actually spent the time and money repainting a room because they didn’t like how it made them feel.

Zampogna recommends homeowners do some research on paint colors and take some paint swatches home with them before repainting a room.

“I am fascinated by how color can control environments and communicate a desired feeling,” says Zampogna. “We can use color to evoke the past or simply transport ourselves to a different landscape in our minds, so it’s essential to get it right.”

In DIY we trust

Americans also aren’t afraid to put on their painter’s pants and do it themselves—at least when it comes to their home’s interior.

About 93% of homeowners say they have painted at least one room in their house on their own, with only 1 in 5 of survey respondents saying that they found the job challenging.

However, homeowners were far less likely to brave painting the exterior of their homes on their own. Reflecting a logical fear of heights, ladders, and steep roofs, only 27% of homeowners surveyed said they had painted the outside of their abodes. Many preferred to leave those jobs to the professionals. (It’s a pretty good idea.)

Notwithstanding the DIY factor, painting remains a high-priority home improvement project on most homeowners’ to-do lists. Almost half of Americans would prefer that at least one room in their house were a different color, and about a quarter would like to paint their home’s exterior.

The most common reasons for putting those projects on the back burner are due to time constraints and budget limits.


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