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Want an easy way to pick the right neutral wall color? The first time?

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

And make any accent color sing in your home decor?


The key is to FIRST pick your base color - the main color that shows up throughout your home.


The base color is the backdrop for adding any other colors, patterns, and textures to your room.


Most of the time this base color is a neutral (a light color that works nicely with other colors, many times white, gray or beige).


Two keys factors for picking the right neutral paint color for your walls:

  1. -pay close attention to the dominant undertones in the paint

  2. -notice how natural and artificial light affect the color of your walls.

1. Undertones:

Neutrals of gray and beige are white paint mixed blue, green (gray) or yellow, red, brown (beige) giving the paint an undertone.


Undertones of many gray paints have a cool feeling while beige undertones tend to feel warmer.


However, undertones are sneaky.

On a paint swatch, it's especially tricky to see undertones in the lighter shades. Yet undertones can magnify when the paint is on your wall!


The mistake when picking neutral paint colors is looking only at the lightest shade on a paint swatch.


A simple tip to see the undertones in a neutral is to ALWAYS look at the darkest shade on the paint swatch.


The darker swatch is where the undertone color is the most obvious and it will indicate what undertones will show up, even in the lightest shades.


One of my favorite neutrals is a blend between gray and beige … in the home décor world, called: greige.


Sherwin Williams and Repcolite Paints both make wonderful shades of greige.

Two favorites are: Sherwin Williams: Requisite Gray, and Repose Gray.

2. Natural and artificial light

Lighting affects your paint color in home decor and art

Artificial lighting such as accent and overhead lights are controllable while natural lighting is not and needs to be considered when selecting a paint color and decorating your home.

I encourage you to consider your light sources and location along with how you plan to enjoy your room. Read more by clicking link below.


5 Tips How Lighting Affects Paint Color in your home


Birch original oil painting landscape with water and swan
Custom painting by Kate against greige neutral wall at West Michigan Cancer Center, Kalamazoo, MI

Want more on decorating with color?

Click links below for Color Psychology (entire series, click here.)

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