Colors That Prove Neutrals Don't Have to Be Boring

  • 01 of 08

    Seeking Character, Avoiding Blah with Neutral Colors

    Brand New House
    ranplett / Getty Images

    Neutral paint colors get a bad rap, characterized as bland, boring, and non-offensive. One purpose of neutral paint colors is to avoid offense. When real estate home stagers go so far as to apply paint, it will almost certainly be a neutral color. When a home remodeler aims to feature a room's structural or architectural elements, she or he will choose a neutral wall color to let those features stand out.

    By tweaking neutral colors, though, it is possible to give the paint a unique...MORE personality--an added coolness or even warmth--that lets the color speak its own language. This begs the question:

    What is Neutral Color?

    White? Gray? Is neutral a differing tone of white or gray?  And this supposed gray-only neutral idea: is it just black and white mixed in different proportions?

    Can other colors be added?

    Luckily, neutral colors can be divided into two convenient categories:

    • Warm Neutrals: Yellow, orange, or red added.
    • Cool Neutrals: Green, blue, or violet added.
    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Seaside Sunset

    Neutral Paint Color Warm
    Neutral Paint Color - Warm. Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    Valspar's Sanibel Gray and Stonecastle, pictured, give your room a soft, seaside feeling.

    Both are warm neutral paint colors, with faint touches of red and orange, and evoke the last few minutes of the sunset over Sanibel Island.

    The third (non-neutral) color is Dusty Aqua.  All are colors that work well together.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Neutrals Let The Room Stand Out

    Warm Neutral Paint Colors Valspar
    Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    Wicker, Shore, and Cloth from Valspar are the warmish neutral paint colors for this cottage. These are neutral room colors that let the rest of the room stand out, with the neutral providing a welcoming background.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Living Room

    Neutral Colors Living Room
    Neutral Colors For a Living Room. Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    Neutral paint colors for a living room from Valspar, Wool Coat, and Canyon Earth. Here we're mixing cool neutral colors (Wool Coat) and warm neutrals (Canyon Earth).

    The warmer neutral paint also serves as an accent or focal point for this wall.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Bedroom Three-Color Design

    Neutral Paint Colors For Bedroom
    Neutral Paint Colors For Bedroom. Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    One great thing about neutral paint colors is that it's hard to overload a room with them. So, it's possible to incorporate three neutral colors in this bedroom--Valspar's Shrimp Toast, Light Khaki, and Amaryllis--without overwhelming the rest of the room...or disturbing anyone's sleep.

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  • 06 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Seaside Neutrals on the Cool Side

    Cool Neutral Paint Colors
    Cool Neutral Paint Colors. Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    Summer- and seaside-themed cool neutral paint colors Valspar's Garden Fairy and Swan Dive give this cottage room a feeling of a just-breaking summer dawn. Note that some of the wicker chairs have been painted Summer Sorbet.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Cool Bedroom Neutral Colors

    Cool Neutral Bedroom Colors
    Cool Neutral Bedroom Colors. Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    A soothing combination of cool neutral paint colors: Evening Twilight, Sachet, and Careless Whisper. A textbook example of neutral paint colors centered around the gray/violet mix.

    Paint colors:  Valspar

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Neutral Paint Colors: Warm, Earthen Neutrals

    Warm Neutral Paint Colors - Sitting Room
    Warm Neutral Paint Colors - Sitting Room. Copyright Valspar; Provided Courtesy of Valspar

    A warm neutral paint color verging toward the warm, brown, and earthen: Pine Bark by Valspar.