Is It Blue? Is It Gray? Either Way, Here’s a New Way to Think of Neutrals

published Jun 21, 2018
Post Image
(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

Who says neutral has to mean white or beige? We say it’s 100% possible for a color to work quietly in the background and still be, you know, a color. That’s the whole point of our New Neutrals Project, where we gave some lucky readers a neutral paint makeover. The results are anything but boring and we all learned how much a little bit of color would help. Today we visit Leah, who took on the challenge to transform her condo’s living room into a soothing space.

(Image credit: Creative Studio)
(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

Leah and her husband’s condo is east-facing, so it gets plenty of natural sunlight—especially in the morning. Originally painted bright white, the abundance of light made the space a wee bit overwhelming in the early hours—precisely the time of day most people don’t want to be overwhelmed—so we looked at softer, deeper neutral hues and went with Behr’s Intercoastal Gray. It’s a blue with a gray undertone…or a gray with a blue undertone, depending on your eye.

EXPERT TIP: In super bright spaces, look at colors that absorb some light. (Quick science lesson: white reflects light and black absorbs it.) You don’t necessarily have to go dark, but shades that feel a bit muted or dusty will soften what seems like too much sunlight. (We promise you it’s a thing.) It’s important to note that a room with a lot of sunlight changes color throughout the day, so be sure to view the color at different times when testing it.

The result? Both stunning and soothing at the same time. It gave Leah’s space a beachy calm while playing off the subdued hues of her lovely mid-century modern–inspired decor. The muted blue turned her gray sofa into an anchor within the space, while her houseplants became bright green accents for a well-balanced look.

(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

This blue-gray shade is a great color for a mixed-use space like Leah’s. Blue is generally used as a relaxing tone, and when mixed with neutral gray the complex hue becomes a great choice for a mellow room that retains its sense of modernity. So, whether you’re winding down after a long day or gearing up for a gathering, it works. You know, the whole point of a neutral.

EXPERT TIP: All colors have undertones, and that’s especially important to remember when you’re working with grays. Often when you first view a color or see it alone on a paint chip, you might not recognize what its undertone is. So, it’s important to look at your color against the other large items in your room. For example, a gray with a strong green undertone might not look good with brown leather furniture.

(Image credit: Rikki Snyder)

Tranquil, modern, and perennially perfect, Intercoastal Gray is just one of a number of new neutrals that we’ve seen popping up recently. Muted greens, pinks, and blues are also making a comeback as soothing backdrops that also help accentuate existing design elements in the space. Looking for a way to incorporate this into your house? Behr’s Premium Plus® Interior Collection has a wide range of new neutrals, all with durable finishes and an affordable price tag.

See the rest of our New Neutrals Project and find out which of our curated palettes will work best for your space.

This post is sponsored by Behr and was created by the Apartment Therapy Creative Studio.
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