Uncommon Neutral Paint Colors

Designer Danielle Colding redefines a home's go-to hues, including neutral paint colors.

Dive into the use of color as a neutral with Danielle Colding.

Read What Danielle Colding Has to Say:

From one of the Benjamin Moore Showrooms located in the Decoration & Design (D&D) Building in New York, Danielle Colding, principal of Danielle Colding Design, talks layering color using uncommon neutral paint colors.

Defining—and Redefining—Neutral Paint Colors

What are neutrals? When it comes to design, “Neutrals play a really important role. Neutrals are everywhere,” says Colding. “There is an abundance of all white spaces, all taupe spaces, all gray. I'm a little over the gray, but that's another story. Neutrals are really important because they help ground our space, and from there we can mix them with bold colors. They act as this neutral palette from which we can build a color story. So they tend to be really important.”

“I am getting tired of seeing all white or all taupe or just the same iteration. I think there are so many other tones that can act as neutrals,” says Colding. “What I mean by that is they are sort of the base color. They're not supersaturated. They're not telling a huge story. They're acting as a background. They can be a really good foundation for building an interesting color story.”

Danielle Colding’s Best Neutral Paint Colors

“I would love to see a room in a really pale, pale olive,” says Colding, perusing her Benjamin Moore Color Preview® fan deck. “I feel like it's such a great color that can just work with everything. Instead of being as obvious as taupe, it gives you a little something richer. It would be amazing with black. I would love to see it with any shade of orange. There are ways I think we can still get a feeling of Zen, which is what neutrals do, but using a little hint of color in doing it. I'd love to see people try something different.”

Although many designers are great at layered rooms in whites and neutrals, Colding says it’s not for everyone. “For me, I believe in more of a balance with color. Color can also be a neutral. I think it's about how that color serves as a background, as a foundational layer and how well it works with others.”

“In that instance, black is a neutral. I love nothing more than black for a door. Black for trim. I love black for a kitchen. It doesn't always have to be colors that are super light and airy. I believe it's really about having this classic look where you can bring a lot of other colors into the mix and it is harmonious.”

“We all should be much more open and creative about how we use colors and more open to how colors work together,” says Colding. “What are neutrals? What are pops of color? Let's just all play.”

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Danielle Colding

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