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Paint Spotlight: What Our Designers Think of Benjamin Moore Pale Oak

While darker, bolder paint colors are definitely having a moment in the trend spotlight, neutral paint colors will always have their place. One versatile neutral that we’re particularly loving right now is Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore.

Want to learn more about this popular Benjamin Moore paint color? We’re giving you the scoop and showing it in action with some of our favorite color schemes.

What color is Pale Oak?

Pale oak is a true “greige”—a perfect blend of warm gray and beige. Reminiscent of white oak, as a paint color it adds just a touch of color and warmth to space while remaining versatile and neutral.

What undertones does Pale Oak have?

Benjamin Moore Pale Oak has warm undertones which lean a bit yellow, giving it a really creamy finish. And since this soft paint color sits at the intersection of gray and beige, it can lean toward one or the other of the base colors, depending on its surroundings. Because of that, the furniture and decor in a room, as well as the natural and artificial lighting, will greatly impact how this color “reads” in a space. In some lighting, Pale Oak will have the slightest purple or pink undertone. But in a space with a ton of natural light, this paint color will actually read more off-white than gray or beige.

What We Love about Benjamin Moore Pale Oak

There’s a lot to love about this warm, versatile neutral. But here are a few of our favorite things about Benjamin Moore Pale Oak:

  • It creates a warm sophistication and quiet elegance in a space.
  • It can balance out deep and bold shades, while also making white look more crisp.
  • It’s a neutral shade—but it’s far from boring. (The perfect choice if you’re wanting a neutral but want to avoid white or gray.)
  • It goes really well with transitional, minimalist, traditional, and Scandinavian designs.

What colors does Pale Oak go well with?

Pale Oak goes with a variety of colors. We especially love the way it looks with deep blues and earthy greens (though it even looks lovely with a more minty, aqua green). With its warm gray undertones, it takes on a beautiful quality when paired with earth tones like brown, clay, and rust. (And, no matter your color palette, if you want to create contrast between your Pale Oak wall color and trim, paint your trim a true, crisp white.)

Want to see these color schemes in action? Keep reading to see our top 5 favorite color combinations to use with Benjamin Moore Pale Oak.

Serene bedroom in transitional coastal style with walls painted in pale qak by Benjamin Moore

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Blue and Pale Oak

Various shades of deep blue tones go really well with Benjamin Moore Pale Oak. When paired together, the visual contrast is very pleasing to the eye and creates an elegant, traditional look. If you want to try out this color scheme, incorporate varying shades of blue throughout a space (rather than sticking with just one). They’ll all play beautifully with the gray undertones of Pale Oak, complementing and contrasting all at once.

Pair Pale Oak Walls with the Adona Queen Bed by Scout Home

This handsome indigo-dyed upholstery bed will pop against Pale Oak walls. A shelter-style bed with almost a wingback shape, it adds a dramatic touch to a bedroom—with a hint of glam from the brass nailheads.

MCM meets boho living room with leather sofa and walls painted in pale oak by by Benjamin Moore

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Brown, Rust, and Pale Oak

Brown and rusty, burnt orange bring out the earthy qualities of Benjamin Moore Pale Oak, creating a lovely color palette. Brown tones and Pale Oak create a warm neutral base for a room design, while pops of rust help the Pale Oak to feel more modern. This mix of earthy neutrals gives rooms, like the one above, a sophisticated and serene sensibility.

Pair Pale Oak Walls with Thomas Framed Wall Art by Precita Home

Bring those rust tones into your space with some wall art, which will beautifully complement Pale Oak walls. Ready to hang and already framed, this pair of complementary art pieces is great for making a statement with minimal effort.

Bedroom in contemporary style with walls painted in Benjamin Moore

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Black, Light Neutrals, and Pale Oak

As is often the case with neutrals in general, Benjamin Moore Pale Oak goes well with other neutral colors. By varying the shades of neutrals in a space—from warm brown woods to greige bedding and flax upholstery—you can create subtle depth in a space. And pops of black offer some contrast against Pale Oak walls without bringing color into the space. Together, this mix of neutrals creates a very zen and cohesive space.

Pair Pale Oak Walls with the Hartley Nightstand by Scout Home

We love the high-contrast look of black furniture against Pale Oak walls. This iron nightstand is designed in a sleek and industrial-inspired style—while still offering some traditional details. It offers ample storage for either a bedside table or as a smaller stand-alone dresser.

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Earthy Green and Pale Oak

Benjamin Moore Pale Oak goes really well with greens—especially earthy greens. These green tones pop against this paint color, creating some beautiful but soothing contrast. The creamy undertones of Pale Oak softens shades of green and adds a sophisticated element to this cheerful color palette.

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Pair Pale Oak Walls with the Rodrigo Pillow by Precita Home

We love the look of this green pillow against a white sofa and Pale Oak walls. This beautiful sage green pillow with simple striping adds a springy, fresh feel to a living room. And the cover is removable for easy cleaning, too!

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Warm Earth Tones and Pale Oak

Warm earth tones like gold, terracotta, dusty rose, and even burgundy pair beautifully with Benjamin Moore Pale Oak. They contrast with this neutral without creating too much starkness, since the Pale Oak adds a warmth to the space in a way that compliments this color scheme.

Pair Pale Oak Walls with the Korina Rug by Ceana Designs

This beautiful rug is full of earth and jewel tones, which offers incredible depth to a room painted with Pale Oak walls. Hand-lopped, it features a timeless medallion pattern that looks vintage but is made to last.

More Benjamin Moore Paint Inspiration

Looking to freshen up the paint in your home? Before you buy the paint and pull out the rollers, be sure to check out our designer-approved painting tips—plus the most popular living room paint colors and a guide to matching paint and wood floors. And if you like neutrals like Pale Oak, you may also like 5 of our other favorite neutral Benjamin Moore colors. Check them out, below!

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

Sophisticated and versatile, this is a true off-white that is warmer than cool.

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

A light gray with warm undertones, this is a calming and restorative paint color.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

One of our go-to grays that’s both timeless and modern, this is a very soft neutral.

Benjamin Moore White Dove

An absolutely classic shade of white, this is a favorite choice for light and bright spaces.

Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist

A true off-white that feels rustic and warm, this is a great neutral paint color to add coziness to a space.

Want to try on Benjamin Moore Pale Oak in your space before painting?

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How to Make Neutral Spaces More Exciting

neutral spaces

While neutral spaces can feel simple and beautiful, they also run the risk of feeling bare without the right accents. Here, we show you 5 color palettes that always work to spice up a neutral space—and how to incorporate them into your own home.

1. Natural Tones

If you’re looking to switch up your neutral space with a color scheme that’s easy on the eyes, consider this light, earthy palette that brings together hues often found in natural materials.

The key is to keep with softer natural tones; instead of dark slate and walnut, opt for pebble gray and blond wood. Try looking for a natural-fiber rug in a light basket color to give yourself one large anchoring piece. It will make for an easy point of color reference for choosing other accents. The result is a pared-down vibe that’s simple and soothing.

Where to Start:

Think different light wood tones with natural fibers, wheat and straw with sandy browns, cowhides with stone and gravel.

 

2. Blue & Gold

For a versatile color that’s not a neutral, blue is your next best bet—every shade of it. Consider pairing blue and gold, a metallic, for a stylish and sharp alternative to classic blue and white.

To create a cohesive look with this combination, decide on a statement shade of blue and choose different pieces that help to spread it around in a neutral space—whether it’s a blue pillow, a rug, or an oversize piece of art. The idea is to create different focal points with the color. Then, focus on adding small gold touches, like side tables, picture frames, and floor lamps. A little glimmer can go a long way. The result is a pairing that’s always elegant and modern.

Where to start:

Think indigo with brass, cerulean with golden yellow, baby blue with gold leaf, cobalt with gilding.

3. Warm Tones

Rich rustic colors are a surefire way to spice up your neutral surroundings; they’re guaranteed to add vibrancy to a room. Consider mixing warm reds and oranges into a neutral room for a look that’s bold, vivid, and inviting.

Look to the shades in between red and orange as a way to lock in your color range. Then decide if you want to pull in more reds or oranges into your space. Whichever color you choose, work from one end of the color spectrum, pulling out two to three shades of the color as you move towards the other. In doing so, you’ll create a gradiated palette. Try an upholstered piece in a red or orange you love, then look for two more pieces in different shades. Remember that too many pieces in this warm color family can easily overwhelm your room; too few, and they can feel out of place.

Where to start:

Think apple with cherry, brick with terracotta and fire-engine red; tangerine with apricot, sunset with burnished orange and bronze.

4. Green & White

Green and white is one of the most versatile color combinations—even more so than blue and white. The possibilities for this pairing are endless. And no matter the shade of green you choose to pair with white, this combination always looks chic.

From everyone’s favorite banana leaf print to malachite, green and white is more prevalent in your decor than you think. The key to mixing green and white into a neutral space is to add different patterns in this palette. For instance, try a rug with a leaf design and a pillow with green geometrics and some greenery. The result is a cohesive look that’s also layered.

Where to start:

Think jade with malachite, olive with seafoam, forest green with herb hues like sage, basil, and mint.


5. Jewel Tones

A jewel-tone palette is certain to dial up the glamour in a neutral space. Unlike any other palette, the approach is to go big, so consider adding a few statement pieces in these vivid hues.

When it comes to decorating with jewel tones, think bold solids. Whether it’s artwork in an amethyst purple or a pillow in bright amber, decor and accents in one color will provide the most impact. Jewel tones, like emerald, ruby, and sapphire are heightened primary colors, so they will naturally complement each other when used separately. Try starting with pairs of pillows and art. Another bonus? These colors also work well with metallics, such as gold, silver, and mirrored touches.

Where to start:

Think emerald with amethyst, ruby with amber, sapphire with rose quartz.

Want Help Spicing Up Your Neutral Space?