Benjamin Moore Calm: Not just another greige paint color

The Calm shade by Benjamin Moore is incredibly versatile, since it has such a high LRV, and it is pretty well balanced in its undertones.

Greige paint colors continue to be a popular choice because they offer so much versatility.

Benjamin Moore’s Calm is an excellent example of a particularly light and bright greige color, which can lean warmer or cooler, based on your design.

Are greige colors still a good choice?

Chances are, if you have spent any time at all recently perusing the Pinterest boards and Instagram stories of designers, you would have seen a greige paint color make an appearance at some point.

The reason why greiges continue to be a popular choice for almost any kind of design, to this day, is because these colors are the happy medium of the design world.

They have enough pigment to pack a punch regardless of the lighting in a room, but they also usually have both warm and cool tones, which makes them an easy and simple choice for any design in need of just one more shade.

Benjamin Moore Calm: Not just another greige paint color

Even with the abundance of greige paint colors on the market, Benjamin Moore’s Calm (OC-22), still stands out as a fan-favorite among designers and homeowners alike.

Like all greiges, Calm has both beige and gray hues, which makes the color incredibly versatile (which is what has made the color so popular over the years), but it also means that the color can shift in unexpected ways.

Calm is also certainly on the lighter side of the spectrum, with an LRV of 75.83. This is why Calm can almost be considered an off-white color, but since it has such soft tones, it usually ends up looking more like a very light gray when it is actually in your space.

This is also what makes Calm such an excellent choice for when you want to upgrade and freshen up a room, but you do not want everything to feel too stark.

Greige colors like Calm usually have both warm and cool tones, as a result of the brown tones present in beige colors and the green, blue or purple tones in gray colors.

However, with Calm, the warmer tones are fairly well-balanced by the color’s slight purple undertones (or as Benjamin Moore puts it “the barest hint of lavender-gray”) which prevents the color from appearing too creamy and warm, but will also keep it from looking flat and dull in lower-light areas within your home.

Understanding Benjamin Moore Calm’s undertones

Even though Calm’s undertones are so soft and subtle that you may not even notice them at first glance, these undertones will impact the way the color shifts within different color schemes.

Calm can be considered a chameleon color, meaning that it can lean both cooler and warmer, based on what you pair it with.

For instance, If you place Calm right next to an obviously warmer off-white color like the fan-favorite White Dove, the color’s purple undertones become really apparent.

Calm – Benjamin Moore White Dove – Benjamin Moore

Yet, when Calm is placed next to very cool, gray-toned greige shades like Eider White or the even darker Pale Oak, it looks much softer and brighter.

Calm – Benjamin Moore Eider White – Sherwin-Williams Pale Oak – Benjamin Moore

How your lighting will affect Calm

Since Calm can shift so easily between leaning warm and leaning cool, it is important to consider the kind of lighting that your space has before committing to this color outright.

Calm is a pretty neutral and well-balanced shade in general, but having very warm or cool lighting will accentuate different tones within the color.

Warm lighting, like the natural lighting found in south-facing and sometimes even west-facing rooms, as well as warm-toned light bulbs, will make Calm lean into its warmer tones slightly and may make those purple undertones stand out.

On the other hand, extremely bright, cool lighting may wash Calm out since it is so light.

The best places to use Calm

Calm is one of the few shades on the market that looks fairly balanced and interesting, even though it is incredibly light and brightening.

This means that if you are aware of how the color shifts, you can use it just about anywhere in your home.

As its name suggests, Calm works especially well within color schemes where you really want to capture that sense of spa-like relaxation, like bathrooms and bedrooms.

But this color has also been used successfully in living rooms, kitchens and even entryways or lofts.

Can Calm be used on the exterior of your house?

Calm is certainly an incredibly versatile color, but unfortunately, it is not ideal for exterior color schemes. Direct, natural sunlight tends to wash out lighter colors like Calm.

This means that instead of getting the calming and balanced color that you would normally get from Calm in an interior color scheme, you will have a blinding off-white color that is too stark.

Calm may also appear differently based on the time of day, which can make it quite difficult to coordinate the rest of your exterior color scheme.

Trim colors that pair well with Calm

The other reason why Calm is so popular, despite the color’s sometimes confusing undertones, is the fact that Calm is just pigmented enough to be used as an all-over main color. Especially in rooms with lower light, where you need an extra touch of brightness.

If you plan to use Calm as one of the main colors in your design, some of the best white trim colors to pair this shade with include:

Color name Color swatch
Chantilly Lace – Benjamin Moore
Oxford White – Benjamin Moore
High Reflective White – Sherwin-Williams

Darker colors that coordinate well with Calm

Another great thing about using Calm in your color scheme is that this color is light enough and versatile enough to pair with a wide variety of darker, earthy tones.

Some of the best colors in this category to pair with Calm are as follows:

Color name Color swatch
Black Pepper – Benjamin Moore
Wrought Iron – Benjamin Moore
Ozark Shadows – Benjamin Moore