Not-So-Boring Neutral Paint Colors

Neutral shades are anything but boring. Kick your wall color up a notch with these tips for choosing a classic paint color.

1. Step Outside the Grays

One of the biggest myths when it comes to neutral paint colors is that "neutral" means bland gray, tan, or shades of white. The truth is a neutral can be an actual color as long as it balances and grounds a room and serves as a nice foundation for the other hues within the space.

A quick tip for choosing a grounding neutral that has a little more color is to opt for one that has gray in the undertone. You can easily find these colors at the paint store by looking at the paint color cards surrounding the grays. For instance, if you want a neutral green, focus on the green paint color cards just as they are about to transition to grays. These neutral greens contain enough gray to make them grounding neutrals.

Wall Color: Sherwin-Williams Comfort Gray

2. Choose a Transitional Color

Another easy way to select a neutral with a little more color is to use a transitional color. A transitional color has a nearly 50-50 mix of warm and cool undertones, which enables the color to act as a neutral and complement any other colors in the room. A transitional color could be a bold blue-green as long as the blue-green is a nearly 50-50 mix of warm and cool undertones. When shopping for these colors at the paint store, look at the bolder colors that border the gray color cards.

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Sea Pines

3. Go Darker

Add some drama to a traditional neutral choice by picking a darker shade. Neutrals don't have to be light colors; the darkest shade of a traditional neutral provides the same balancing and grounding benefits as a lighter version while adding more color and drama.

Wall Color: Sherwin-Williams Urbane Bronze

4. Lighten Up

If you're not ready to take the plunge with a dark neutral, do the opposite. Choose a neutral that has a little more color than a traditional neutral by opting for the top, lightest color on the paint color card. For example, if you're looking for a neutral green, choose your favorite shade of green and then try a sample of the color at the top of the paint color card, or even go up just a couple shades. The lighter the color, the more white in the mix that helps balance and ground the color.

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Hollingsworth Green

5. Color Picks

To help you choose your perfect neutral, we've pulled together a palette of beautiful neutral and transitional paint colors that can add a little more color and drama to a room than a traditional neutral. These hues balance and ground a space, like a traditional neutral, yet also complement a variety of other colors and tones.

Your Guide to Neutrals

From rich gray to clean white, find your next paint color in our round-up of top neutral paint colors. These no-fail choices work with many different decorating styles and in a variety of rooms.


  1. I also find gray depressing. Like acold winter that just won't end. I do like very soft gold. Like early morning sun. It is inviting and goes with almost everything.

    1. I agree....

    2. Funny but I used to until I found and mixed a few grays that have blue undertones. They are really calming and believe it or not, warm. I did my kitchen cabinets in 2 tones of gray and added yellow , red and blue pops of color with butter walls. It is so much brighter than the dark wood cabinets, I followef through into the LR with a lighter gray with a hint more blue and everything I put in there goes great. I have a soft gold in my family room and it is a pretty color.

  2. I love York Gray, Branchport Brown, Palladian Blue, Hale Navy and Simply White. They are neutrals and they look great in my house.

  3. I will NEVER use grey. It looks like death and cold to me. I like the idea of using a almost white tinted color. You see it but you don’t. It gives life to a room and a soft glow.

    1. I agree.

  4. I like a neutral that blends well with the wood tones in my furniture. A gray tone might not look as comforting as a tinted yellow- beige w ju tr n beloved pak and walnut pieces. Am I mistaken?

    1. I love the color gray. Just purchased a med gray velvet sofa, with coral accent chairs. Its beautiful my my walls are painted a very light gray with accent wall of coral. Its gorgeous. Friends accused me of having a designer...Nope did it all my self after months of reviewing colors and sofa with trends.

    2. I am not a fan of beige, it seems to make everything just fade into the walls. but several greens, blues and yes gray with blue undertones would go with your furniture. A butter cream yellow would be nice but you do not want your furniture to reflect the wall color.

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