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Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus might have different thoughts on matte black hardware, but when it comes to picking paint colors, they almost always agree. “We’re very good at neutrals. I joke that they’re like our love language,” says Brent. The couple’s shared appreciation has proved to be crucial for their latest project. In partnership with The Jennifer Hudson Show and Operation Homefront, the designers will be surprising a veteran family, the Greens, with a living room and playroom makeover—and they’ve only got a few short months to pull it off. 

To speed things up, Berkus and Brent selected paint colors from Behr’s curated Designer Collection, which features 30 shades approved by interior pros. But as we know from homeowners who have agonized for weeks over shades of white, even a narrowed-down palette like this can stump the truly indecisive. So we asked Berkus and Brent to share how they pinpointed their final two wall colors for the Greens’ home renovation. 

A Good Gray Isn’t Just Gray

For the family’s living space, the pair landed on Tranquil Gray. “If I had to describe it as a feeling, it’d be like a hot stone massage,” says Brent. The secret is all in the warm undertones, which the couple note give it a sense of depth and complexity. “I tend to reach for grays that have an undertone of putty or taupe,” Berkus chimes in. “I don’t love a cool blue-gray. I don’t think it ever reads as sophisticated.” A touch of brown makes it feel rich and “maybe a bit more historic,” he adds. 

Beige Is Back (But Not the 1990s Kind)

“Beige, for me, is the most timeless thing in the world, and I know that’s not a sexy thing to say,” says Brent with a laugh. Rather than a spa treatment, he likens Even Better Beige—their pick for the Greens’ kids’ playroom—to a staple pair of khakis: It’s versatile and helps bolder pops of colors around it shine. But how do you make sure you select a swatch that’s dreamy, not dated? Avoid any signs of yellow. “I can’t deal with that yellow or green base, like an Under the Tuscan Sun situation,” shares Berkus. Once they singled out their main wall colors, Berkus and Brent landed on Behr’s 2023 color of the year, Blank Canvas, for the trim. All in agreement, say aye.