The New Neutrals: 5 Unusual Shades to Try
Say goodbye to beige.
Close your eyes: What comes to mind when you think of neutral colors? Perhaps a beige or off-white?
Not anymore. Designers everywhere are embracing a variety of hues to use as a backdrop. And you can, too – without getting painter’s remorse.
Transitional Gray Bedroom With Beautiful White Bedding
This chic master bedroom features a charcoal gray wall color paired with pure white accents, including the bed linens, tufted bench and soft carpet. A crystal chandelier and metallic mirror add a touch of glam, and an adjacent sitting room provides a spacious place to relax.
The key is to select a color that not only compliments, but highlights your home’s décor. Remember that what’s on the paint swatch in the store may look completely different at home, so test it out in the room you want to paint before committing. Make sure to give your test swatch a glance every couple of hours to see how the light hits it at different times of day.
Before you hit the paint aisle, check out our favorite alternatives to beige:
Cool Blue Living Room With Marble Fireplace
Library lights spotlight object art and beloved books in the family room while a marble fireplace offers the perfect excuse to sit and relax. Cool blue tones flow from the piece above the mantle, inspiring this laid-back palette.
Ball & Albanese
Soft shades of blue can be used in virtually every room, from kitchens to bathrooms to living spaces. It’s a great alternative to white for those who just can’t go without a little bit of color.
Michael J. Lee
Channel your inner Shelby Latcherie with this rosy hue. Pair it with grays and whites to keep the space light and airy.
Charcoal Gray Master Bedroom Sitting Area
This sophisticated master bedroom features charcoal gray walls and light gray curtains paired with a neutral area rug and two armchairs. A bronze geometric accent table sits between the chairs, while surrounding windows flood the space with natural light.
Personally, I’d paint every room in my apartment gray if I could. It goes well with other neutrals and can stand up to vibrant color. Pair it with bright whites to make any room feel like you’re living in a cloud.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Soft Gray Bedroom
This transitional bedroom combines pale gray and cream for a sophisticated color palette. White window trim and graphic headboards give the look a crisp edge. The x-base stools and textured nightstands add character to the design without overpowering the look.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Gray Contemporary Kitchen With Island
This stylish contemporary kitchen features dark gray cabinets, granite countertops, a mirrored backsplash, bamboo floors, and a custom-built fireplace. Metal seats at the island give family and guests a place to sit and chat while meals are being prepared, as well as convenient spot to enjoy casual meals.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Contemporary Dining Room
Designers added a blue-gray wall to this space in order to create a divide between the new living and dining rooms. The existing carpet was removed and natural hardwood floors were installed, in addition to a mustard yellow area rug and stainless steel dining table. White and brown geometric curtains frame the dining room window.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Remodeled Contemporary Kitchen
HGTV fan toupie1 inexpensively transformed their country-style eat-in kitchen to a contemporary gathering spot with just a few smart, style-savvy changes. The stock, wood-stained cabinets were in good shape so a few coats of white paint freshened them up while a new light fixture and sleek dining set finished the look.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Midcentury Modern Living Room With Throw Pillows
If your blankets and throws have been stored away since last winter, run them through the washing machine before putting them back in use. In this midcentury-modern living room, a handwoven throw adds subtle warmth and texture to the sleek gray sofa. Make a bolder statement with a bright throw that contrasts your sofa. Hosting a movie night with friends and family? Be sure to keep pillows and blankets handy to ensure that guests are warm and comfortable
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Family Room
Tucked away in a far corner of the home and overlooking the back porch and courtyard, the family room demands attention, not only for the choice of retro furnishings and a formal gas fireplace but for the room’s focal point; it’s an eye-popping piece of modern art Dream Home house planner Jack Thomasson and interior designer Linda Woodrum discovered in San Francisco
Contemporary Gray Family Room With Stone Fireplace
This family room features pale gray accents –– like the wall color and suede sofa –– paired with pops of bright turquoise and deep purple hues. A charcoal and white patterned area rug leads the way to a rustic stone fireplace, finishing the look of the space.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Contemporary Family Room
Dramatic views of the surrounding Presidio through oversized windows are juxtaposed against a cosmopolitan study of black and white in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2014 family room and adjoining kitchen space. Designer Steven Miller selected furnishings that are comfortable, casual and chic.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Neoclassical Den With Gray Ottoman
Oversized tufted ottomans in dark gray create a cozy, comfortable sitting area paired with the slipcovered white sofa. Zebra-patterned linen draperies hung on oversized rods draw the eye up, heightening the space. French doors and lots of windows provide plenty of natural light to keep the room feeling open and spacious.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Transitional Living Room With Sectional
For the final challenge of HGTV Design Star season seven, contestant Britany gave this once design-less living room a makeover. Her placing of the sectional in the center of the room — rather than against the far wall — puts loungers close enough to watch TV or feel the fire's heat.
Gray Living Room With Pink Throw Pillows
Gray is still one of the hottest hues this year, and we love that it pairs well with almost every color. To add contrast to this mostly gray living room, designer Brian Patrick Flynn integrated a sleek white coffee table and playful pink accents into the design. Together, the two hues deliver just the right amount of vibrancy to this clean and sophisticated sitting area.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Kitchen With Marble Tile
To add classic pattern and timeless color to this kitchen, 12-by-12-inch sheets of mosaic marble tile featuring a black-and-white, basket-weave pattern were installed. Basket-weave tile is excellent for modern, transitional and traditional kitchens, since the pattern is graphic, and available in high- and low-contrast colors. Most marble basket-weave mosaic tiles range from $15 to $50 per square foot; however, ceramic basket-weave mosaic tile can be sourced for $10 to $20 per square foot.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Contemporary Living Room With Sectional
Staging a room to compliment the view can be difficult at times. This large l-shaped sectional creates a sight line that's low enough to capture the view while providing enough sitting for entertaining. Soft grays and whites magnify the large windows while the subtle pops of color enhance the picturesque view.
50 Trendy Gray Rooms: Transitional Living Room With Fireplace
This living room features a dark gray accent wall situated behind a light gray painted fireplace. A neutral sofa with floral pillows is positioned opposite to black leather armchairs, while a glass coffee table sits in the center of the room.
PINK - Pink is known for suggesting a feeling of love and for having a calming effect on people. A preferred color of women and girls everywhere, certain shades of pink, when paired with otherwise masculine colors, can create a gender-neutral space. Hot pink is a great way to add a feminine touch to more masculine hues such as navy blue and/or black.
Brian Patrick Flynn
Don’t be afraid of dark hues. Bedrooms lend themselves especially well to midnight blues – better sleep is just a few coats of paint away!
Lavender Sitting Room With Crystal Chandelier
Lavender is a lovely hue for this small sitting room with a tile floor. A white settee, wood coffee table and crystal chandelier give the simple space an elegant feel.
Yes, even purple can be a neutral if done right. Look for pale lavenders or shades with gray undertones to give the color extra staying power.
Sheen Is Important
The finish of your paint, or sheen, will have a major impact on your walls. Gloss, satin, egg shell – with these options comes many considerations. High-traffic areas do well with gloss or satin as they hold up better to touching and can be cleaned more easily. But, they can make wall imperfections (wavy drywall, patched areas) much more pronounced. A more matte-like finish, such as flat, will not clean as well or endure touches as well, but you won't see imperfections as much.
Try Samples First
No need to guess how good (or bad) a color will look on your wall. For a fraction of the cost of a gallon of paint, you can purchase sample pints, take them home, and test them out. This will help you judge how a color will look on a larger area better than a swatch can provide. It's better to spend just a few dollars on a sample than big bucks on gallons only to find out the color won't work.
Do the Math
Of course, you'll need to know the total area you're going to paint (add up all the square footage of your walls, including alcoves and dormers, plus a little extra), but you'll also need to account for multiple coats, primer and the porosity of the walls. It's best to have some paint left over for repair work later on, so get more than you need.
Be a Prepper
Prep work will be the vast majority of your time spent painting the interior of your home. You'll need to tape off areas for sharp lines, move furniture and furnishings, repair and patch any imperfections, protect the floors, and remove things like switch plates and doorknobs. At least three-quarters of your time will be spent doing these tasks.
Primer Is Key
Unless you're buying a primer and paint all-in-one mixture, you'll need to prime your walls, particularly if you are drastically changing the wall color (tinted primer is key in that situation). Primer not only covers up colors and stains, it also adds a layer to allow the top coat of paint to better adhere, giving you a much better result.
Combine Gallons For Uniformity
This is called boxing, and it will help you avoid any inconsistencies in the color of your paint coverage. Simply pour multiple gallons into a larger, resealable bucket, and stir thoroughly. Yes, today's mixing processes are much more uniform than in the past, but this step is a fail-safe measure just in case there was a slight mistake when the paint was mixed at the home center.