Neutral Paint Colors Don’t Have to Mean a Boring Paint Job

Does the idea of painting your home interior with neutral colors make your Boring Radar start buzzing? Do you start imagining drab corporate boardrooms or bland institutional hallways? That doesn’t need to be the case! There are good reasons to use neutral colors in your interior painting, but that doesn’t mean your house is going to be a lifeless tribute to conformity!

Let’s take a walk through this issue together, starting with the reason that neutral colors are so widely-used and recommended, and then we’ll get to the more interesting part: how to keep your neutral paints from neutralizing your individuality.

Why Do They Recommend Neutral Paint Colors Anyways?

One of the principles of design is that there can’t be endless visual variety. There needs to be some kind of base, a pattern, a space that serves as an anchor. This gives a foundation that can be built upon with creative variety and intricacy. Just as color uniformity without variety is bland, if you have nothing but variety with no resting place, it feels chaotic.

But why does that foundation need to be a neutral color? Here are a few thoughts:

  • It is less likely to overwhelm the senses
  • Most of the neutral colors that people use are lighter, meaning that the space feels brighter and airier (rather than close or claustrophobic)
  • Neutral colors can match with a wide variety of other colors, so you have far more options for creative accessories, furniture, and additional paint colors
  • They are more likely to appeal to a wide range of people (or at least they are less likely to offend many people), making neutral colors a good option if you host guests
  • Neutrals are recommended if you are going to sell your home, for the same reason just mentioned

What Are the Most Common Neutral Paint Colors?

The most traditional neutral for interior painting is white. Everything matches with it, and it never goes out of style! However, it is also the neutral that is most susceptible to feeling bland.

Tan is probably the most common neural after white. It can range from a very light beige to a strong khaki, but it is mostly found somewhere between those extremes.

Photo by Cedar Ridge Contracting LLC

Light blue has also seen a lot of use as a neutral, sometimes with a distinctly grayish tone. Finally, there is light gray, which is a more recent entrant in the neutral scene.

Are There Other Neutrals that Aren’t So… Neutral?

Sage Green has made a swift entrance into the world of interior painting recently, and it turns out it makes a great choice as a neutral tone. It is earthy and natural, fresh and light, and it can easily be paired with a wide range of other colors.

Photo by mark pinkerton

Silver-gray is also making its way into more living rooms and foyers, and branching its way out into the rest of the home. Modern and classy, it looks especially good with a bit of an extra sheen to it.

Photo by RSVP Design Services

Pale lavender with a nod towards gray can also be a subtle way to branch out from the typical neutrals without departing from the reasons we need neutrals in the first place.

Photo by MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

The Key to Picking a Knockout Neutral Color

Because your neutral paint color is going to cover so much interior wall space, and because the rest of your décor will be built from it, it’s important to get it right.

One hint is to think about what colors you have in your decorations and furniture. If they are largely brown and tan or natural wood, you may want beige or sage walls. If your couches are black, then white or gray might do well on the walls. If you tend towards blues or yellows, then blue or lavender might be just the tone for your walls.

Looking at endless rows of color cards is a very hard way to pick a neutral you’ll like (and it just might make you go cross-eyed!). Instead, look at pictures, either online or in brochures, where you can see colors when they are painted on real walls in actual rooms. That way you can see how they work together with other interior colors and furniture options. Just remember that the style of your home affects what options you have. Just because something looks great in a catalogue, doesn’t mean it will look the same on your wall.

One of the best ways to come up with a great neutral color is with the help of your painting contractor. How can a painter help?

  • Many painting companies offer professional color consultation services
  • Painters are in dozens or even hundreds of homes per year, and they know what combinations work in different kinds of spaces
  • Professional painters have their finger on the pulse of the industry, so they know what colors are becoming more popular, and which ones are on their way out
  • Some painters will also apply sample color swatches to your walls, so you can see what a couple different neutral paints look like in your house and compare them

Now to the Fun Part!

Once you have your neutral paint color selected and applied, you can get to the part that really adds life and individuality to your home interior. There are limitless ways to build off of your foundation color to make your home a place of unique comfort and beauty.

Since we’re on the topic of paint, let’s think about what you can do with that. If you have an open-concept home, you will have several different rooms that share walls and are visible from one to the next. Use accent walls in a place like this to make focal points and add pops of color that will add flavor to the home. The accent walls can be bold colors that coordinate with your neutral choice and with your other décor.

Another trend in accent walls is to change materials rather than simply painting them a different color. Sometimes this could be a patterned or textured wallpaper. Some people even use rough wood or other materials to make their accent walls unique and appealing.

Photo by Interiors Group of SW Florida

If you are looking to add visual interest, the ceiling is another canvas for your creativity. It could be painted a darker (or lighter) version of your wall color, or some other color entirely. This functions like an accent wall, but drawing the eye upwards.

Finally, there is your furniture and artwork. The more you find contrasting items that will stand out boldly from (but not clash with) your wall colors, the more your home will be a masterpiece of style and beauty. Look for unique shapes or pops of color that bring variety and interest to the space.

Interior Painting and Color Consultation in New York and Connecticut

A.G. Williams Painting has been serving New York and Connecticut for over 100 years. We would love to help you turn your home interior into the masterpiece you imagine, both during the design stage and during the actual painting. We offer color consultation services, interior painting, exterior painting, deck refinishing, faux finishing, and wallpaper services.

Call us or contact us online today to get started!