Many homeowners opt for neutral paint colors in the living room and bedroom. Doing so gives them the freedom to change décor and bedding more often than if they had to work around a bolder paint palette. Learn more about neutral paint colors, and then put these tips to use when giving your living room or bedroom a new look.
Neutral Colors Defined
The term "neutral" gets used regularly in interior design, but what exactly does it mean? Essentially, this label covers colors that are not bright or strong. Think: shades of black, beige, gray and white. The variety of neutrals comes from their undertones, made by mixing a pure neutral with another color to create a new hue. For example, a white can have an undertone of yellow, and a white also can have an undertone of blue, making them totally different shades of white, both neutral.
Using Neutral Colors in the Home
If you want furniture and other décor to attract the most attention in a room, choose neutral paint colors for the ceiling and walls. They will settle into the background, allowing those pieces to pop. If working around existing furniture or bedding - or a dominant piece of art - when choosing paint, look for neutral colors in them or for neutral colors that complement them.
You also can use neutral paint colors to tie adjoining rooms together. Choose a neutral color you like, and then select a darker or lighter shade of that color for the adjoining room to set it off but not create a jarring transition. Remember: If you can see the paint color of one room from another, both colors should work together visually not against each other.
Picking Out Paint and Décor Colors
The easiest way to put together a neutral paint and décor palette for a living room or bedroom is to let the paint card guide you. These cards, available at your local paint or home improvement store, feature colors pre-selected by the manufacturer to work well together.
For example, Sherwin-Williams offers a variety of neutral color groupings. Its Neutral Nuance family offers the softest hints of color for a vintage or rustic décor style. The browns of Kaffee and Van Dyke mix with the beiges of Ethereal Mood and Universal Khaki as well as the greens of Riverway and Retreat and the grays of Sedate and Escape. With 20 colors total on the card, you have multiple options for décor and accents once you choose your paint colors. The paint company also shows its many colors grouped by family online, with 169 warm neutrals and 137 cool neutrals available.
Benjamin Moore offers neutral paint color palettes as well. Its Favorite Neutrals grouping includes Consentino Chardonnay, Brandon Beige, Jonesboro Cream, Stone House and Interlude. While all essentially shades of beige, they differ as mentioned above because of their undertones. Consentino Chardonnay has a hint of yellow, and Jonesboro Cream has green-gray undertones. See the 695 options the company offers in neutrals in its online Color Gallery.
Neutral paint colors suit any architectural style of home and provide a palette to last as long as the paint application itself, which can be seven to 10 years if you use high-quality paints and professionals to get the job done. By choosing neutral paint colors, you get the most out of your investment but do not limit yourself to one décor style over that span of time.
For more tips on choosing color palettes for your home, check out our Paint Finish Overview and Color Selection Basics post. If you need additional help coming up with neutral colors, your professional painter will be happy to offer advice.