How to Make Neutral Colors Look Less Boring, According to One Designer

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There’s no denying that a neutral color palette exudes charm. But while you may think it’s necessary to add in a pop of color to “liven things up”, natural colors don’t have to be bland. Whites, creams, and beiges have many benefits, so don’t feel bad if you’re not a fan of bold hues.

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To help determine how to incorporate neutral shades in the best way, COAT Paints—a brand that nine out of ten of its best-selling shades fall into the neutrals category—has provided expert tips and tricks.

“The number one rule to determine what neutral route you want to go down is to look at the direction your room is facing: east, south, west or north,” Aaron Markwell, Color Expert at COAT Paints, explained. “From light neutrals, such as beiges and whites to darker shades, such as taupes, biscuits and drabs, these hues all tend to suit different types of natural light and will behave differently in rooms of different facings.”

As a general rule, Markwell uses warmer colors in North and East facing rooms. All neutrals aren’t created equal, and each hue evokes a different feeling.

“[Use] taupes for earthiness and grounding, greiges for subtle warmth, grays for a cooler look and neutral green tone for freshness,” he adds.

To ensure a neutral wall isn’t one-dimensional, you should consider adding some texture into the space, whether it’s through a piece of wall art or your furniture.

“How you dress the room is really important in making neutral schemes sing,” he comments. “Through furniture and accessories, you can make your space feel really dynamic. Use a mix of different fabrics that complement each other, like bouclé and cotton linens. Layer your paint with natural materials like rattan furniture, jute rugs and natural woods. When choosing accents like cushions and artwork, use a bolder version of your neutral color. For example, coffee browns for taupe schemes or olive greens for greige schemes.”

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