Choosing the Right Paint Color - Sherwin's Top 50

Ready to update your wall color but are not sure where to begin with the thousands of color options? A great place to start is with the classics, such as Sherwin Williams Top 50 Paint Colors.

Sherwin Williams Top 50 Paint Colors


The colors in this collection include timeless grays, beiges and other neutrals that are most often chosen by Sherwin customers. We see these colors used on everything from walls to trim, ceilings, cabinets, and accent pieces.


A good first step to selecting your home's colors is to discover a “flow” color for your walls, which is the main color to be used in the primary areas of the home (kitchen/dining, living room and connecting spaces such as hallways, stairways, foyers & mudrooms.) You can then build your color scheme with darker or lighter accent colors in other rooms oft the house.

Accent colors are typically not required in flow areas, unless they are used to highlight an architectural feature such as a fireplace chase or inset wall. Bedroom, baths, laundry rooms, offices and other areas closed off with a door can have their own unique colors without interrupting the overall color scheme. Powder bathrooms are a favorite place to go bold with color and design.


Below are a few good options to get started. They are on the lighter side, which creates a neutral backdrop for your home's features and are some of the most popular colors here in the midwest:

  • SW 7029 "Agreeable Gray"
  • SW 7036 "Accessible Beige"
  • SW 7641 "Colonnade Gray"
  • SW 7038 "Tony Taupe"
  • SW 7531 "Canvas Tan"

There is one set of colors that is incredibly popular and come from the same fan deck strip. These are included in the Top 50 group and both "Repose Gray" & "Mindful Gray" make excellent flow colors:

  • SW 7014 "Eider White"
  • SW 7015 Repose Gray
  • SW 7016 "Mindful Gray"
  • SW 7017 "Dorian Gray
  • SW 7018 "Dovetail"
  • SW 7019 "Gauntlet Gray

Which flow color is right for your home will depend on the lighting and trim color in your house (more on that below) and other elements such as flooring, countertops, cabinets, drapes, bedding, window treatments, etc. that you plan to keep.


If you’ve picked up a few color swatches, the next step is to bring them home and see how they appear in your home’s natural light. Colors can vary greatly depending on the lighting in your home and which direction a room faces.

*NORTH: The light in north facing rooms is gray with a slight hint of blue, meaning its a cooler color. Offset the chill with a warmer color.

*EAST: East facing rooms have a softer brighter white that intensifies until noon, then can become more gray. A slightly warmer color works, keeping in mind that afternoon sun can wash out some colors.

*SOUTH: Rooms facing the south have a warm, yellow-toned light, which intensifies as the day goes on. Go with a warm color if you’d like to really create an amped up warm space, but offset with grays or cooler colors if you’d prefer to stay neutral.

*WEST: West facing rooms start the day flat & gray but brighten up in the afternoon. These rooms can handle both warm & cool colors, and are the right spots to really bring a warm color to it’s highest potential.


Another factor in selecting the right color is how it will look next to your trim. When enameling the trim, selecting the lightest color on the fan deck strip is a great option for the trim color. (If you’re looking for something more neutral, look at SW 7005 “Pure White” as a great timeless option.) With stained woodwork, note that the undertones (yellow, red, green, etc.) will impact the wall color. The best option here is to bring home some swatches and tape them up on the wall next to the trim and view them at all times of the day to narrow down your options.


Once you have narrowed down 2-3 options, Sherwin offers a small 1.5 pint Color To Go product that is an affordable way to sample paint on the walls. (One note, this paint is only available in a satin sheen - if you paint your walls with a flat, eggshell or matte, the color will be slightly different.) Viewing the painted sample at various times during the day, on cloudy and sunny days and noting how they compliment your homes fixtures and furnishings can help you select the color that feels just right.


Which wall sheen to use is a big question we are often asked and the answer depends on how the space is used:

*Flat: Flat walls are gorgeous! They offer a soft, sophisticated look and best of all, hide imperfections in the walls. Flat walls, however, are easily marred and require touch ups. This sheen is best used in areas with the least traffic such as bedrooms, formal dining rooms and offices.

*Matte: Matte walls still offer much of the sophisticated look, but offer a bit more durability. Use in living rooms, laundry rooms or any areas without kid or pet traffic.

*Eggshell: Eggshell wall sheen offers a more durable, cleanable surface, but the offset is that wall imperfections are more easily seen. This sheen is perfect for high traffic areas like kitchens, mudrooms, hallways and kids bathrooms.

*Satin, Semi-Gloss, Gloss. Walls with a higher level of sheen are popular accents, but are typically not recommended due to the need for a much higher level of perfection required on the drywall substrate. If clean-ability is the goal, an eggshell sheen is recommended.

If you’re still not sure about which color is right for you, call us! We’re happy to put our 30+ years of experience to work for you to find your perfect color!

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