Do you think of neutrals as boring?

It's a common mistake. It's true they don't have the impact of vibrant shades. But they are ideal colors to use when you want to give a feeling of peace, quiet and relaxation.

So what makes a color neutral?

The more you reduce saturation, the more neutral a color becomes. So for our purposes, we'll consider browns, creams and grays.

These colors are very versatile.

They are restful, and safe, because they mix well with others. If you want to be able to change the feel of a room during the seasons, then use beige and gray, and you can safely mix in more definite colors.

When you want to 'warm up' the room, use warm accent colors - a red rug on the floor, or a throw on the couch. Then to 'cool' it down, use aqua or mint green in flower arrangements, pillows and pictures.

If you're not very confident, then using beige as the background interior design color for your room is safe. You can then experiment with smaller items with accent colors which can be changed whenever you want.

(To find out more about saturation, visit the color theory section.)



neutral colors sofa

A living room area which demonstrates the use of neutrals.

When used imaginatively, neutrals are far from uninteresting.

The addition of soft gray greens on the pillows combined with the striped pattern on the sofa and chair make this arrangement warm and inviting.



neutral colors dining room

Don't think that using neutrals is an easy option.

There are many shades and tints of brown in this photo, but great care will have been taken to arrive at this balanced solution.


Professional decorators and interior designers have known that certain colors are almost 'fail safe'. They can be used for home decorating in the knowledge that they will give you a great scheme. (Only suitable for the USA and Canada.)

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets


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