20 Great Paint Color Names

So…I’m on a bit of a color bender of late. It’s awfully hard not to be when you are eating, sleeping and breathing it, as well as taking a class in it this summer. I’ve begun to hoard things like fan decks and giant-sized paint chips (and no, I didn’t eat them as a kid – not that kind, anyway…). I’ve marveled at the creativity involved in naming these thousands upon thousands of tints, shades, and tones.

There are a few paint color names that are so apt, so dead-on it’s uncanny. I think I would like the job of naming colors. Since that’s unlikely to happen in this lifetime, I wanted to collect and share some of the best paint color names I have come across. You’ll see that the imagery and symbolism is not always…well…appetizing.

1.) 14 Carrots
Benjamin Moore

2.) Knitting Needles
SW 7672

3.) Mardi Gras

4.) Zeus
SW 7744

5.) Elephant’s Breath
Farrow & Ball

6.) Grandma’s China
Benjamin Moore

7.) Dead Salmon
Farrow & Ball

8.) Anonymous
SW 7046

9.) Cabbage White
Farrow & Ball

10.) La Fonda Spanish Dancer

11.) Bamboozled

12.) Bracken Architrave Blue Verditer Pale
Pratt & Lambert

13.) Arsenic
Farrow & Ball

14.) Rainbow Fog
Ellen Kennon

15.) Nacho Cheese
Benjamin Moore

16.) Flapper Beads
Pratt & Lambert

17.) Squirrel

18.) Milk Moustache

19.) Carton
Martha Stewart Living

20.) Yield
Dutch Boy

Do you have a favorite? Which clever paint color names do you love that didn’t make my top 20?

Posted in

Kelly Rogers


  1. Donna Frasca on July 4, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    I like the name “Kept Love Letters” Benjamin Moore, Color Stories. It’s interesting to give color to an item that’s not known to have a specific hue.

    • Kelly R. - Interiors For Families on July 4, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      That is a good one! Color Stories has a lot of good ones, in general – I like Ally’s Earring :).

      • Donna Frasca on July 4, 2012 at 10:46 PM

        Actually the one name in the Color Stories deck that has me scratching my head is “Face Powder”. Great color but for whose face? I wish I had that job on naming paint colors. How fun right?

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