While flipping through the latest issue of Better Homes & Garden magazine, we stumbled upon a fantastic article on how to select neutral paint colors for your home. Selecting the perfect neutral hue can be a challenge as many factors come into play. On today’s blog, we will share some tips and guidance on what to consider.
Before painting your walls it is important to have an idea of how you want the space to feel. For example, creamy colors with yellow and red undertones are warm and comforting, while cool colors with a green or blue base are fresh and crisp. Moreover, in the June BH&G paint feature, editors touched on the three key factors that influence how paint will look in your home: light, furnishings and architecture.
Three Factors That Influence Paint Color
- Light: Light has several influences on how painted walls will look in your home from a standpoint of which direction your room faces and what part of the country you live in. North and east facing rooms are typically shaded with natural light, which looks best with warmed and creamy colors. (North facing light also tends to be gray and can amplify cool tones. This can be toned down with a warmer white.) Cooler hues can balance direct sunlight in a south or west facing room. It is also important to consider geography and how light differs across the country. For example, the sun is stronger in the South; therefore tones that work in the Northeast can look dingy in sunnier regions. Yellow undertones enliven the North’s softer light; while blue tones can calm the intensity of the sun in the South. This is such great information to consider when looking through magazines or Pinterest. Considering the locale of the room makes a difference in how the paint will look in your own home.
- Furnishings: When selecting a paint color, consider the furnishings that you will use in the space. Pick a paint color that complements your furniture or select colors with similar undertones. For example, if in a room you have a lot of amber/brown wood tones, this could clash with a blue-based white, but harmonize with a shade that is warmer. To identify undertones, hold different paint chips or samples next to each other to identify the tint differences.
- Architecture: Consider the style of your home and your preferences when selecting a wall paint. If you tend to like a more clean, modern aesthetic, look to a crisp, soft white. If your tastes are more traditional, try soft, warm whites. Also consider that using the same clean, crisp white on walls and trim gives you a consistent look as light changes throughout the day. A more pigmented white, or one with a strong undertone, will be highlighted as daylight fades. To avoid this, going with a paint that is a couple of shades lighter or darker on the trim creates a deliberate and pleasing contrast. For your trim, either match the walls or use semigloss for dimension.
With all of this mind, painting several swatches in your own home and looking at them at different points of the day can help you better understand what undertones work best for you. (You might need to have these swatches up for at least a week to see the variations.)
Our Favorite Paint Colors
The perfect shade can be hard to find for the walls in your home. Thankfully there are so many helpful round-ups of designer favorites of tried and true colors that can help narrow your search. Our top 4 most popular wall paint colors are listed below. We have also included a round-up of even more popular paint colors that design pros sing the praises of too.
White Dove by Benjamin Moore: This color is one of our most used paints. It is even in our showroom. It reflects light beautifully with its luminescent finish and creamy grey undertones. It is not a true white, but still has a soft, inviting effect without looking yellow. It is another great choice for a room with plenty of natural light.
Swiss Coffee by Behr and Benjamin Moore: Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee paint color is often described as warm, welcoming and smooth. It works very well in traditional spaces and plays well with golden hues and creamy undertones. It has a creamy gray undertone with hints of both yellow and green. Swiss Coffee by Behr also has warm undertones that pair beautifully with wood tones and pairs perfectly with more traditional spaces.
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams: This paint color is a soft neutral, off-white. It is warm without being too creamy. It is certainly a calming choice.
Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore: Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace is named after crisp, clean lace. It is a bright white with minimal undertones.
Simply White by Benjamin Moore: This paint is popular because it is versatile and is a color that looks warm when paired with warm tones and cool when paired with cool tones. It is a classic choice.
More Designer Favorites
Cool December by Dunn-Edwards: This paint color is ideal if you want a crisp and clean space that feels open and modern.
White Flour by Sherwin Williams: This paint color can seem dark when you compare it to other paint options. However, it is a great clean and creamy color in naturally lit spaces. It can help create a minimal yet warm look in a large open concept space.
All White by Farrow & Ball: This is a neutral white with no undertones. It is the perfect paint if you want an all neutral space. It also acts as a great base for a modern or organic palette as it offers a fresh backdrop for black and wood tones.
Marshmallow by Sherwin Williams: Marshmallow is a versatile neutral paint. It can be both crisp and soft while also adding brightness to a room.
Oyster by Benjamin Moore: Praised as shadowy and sophisticated, this soft slightly gray hue is another pro favorite. This paint’s undertones are ideal for spaces with natural light.
If you are in need of a paint plan for your home, please reach out. Paint is an important decision and we would love to help you!