Welcome to our Painting 101 series, where we tap the pros to answer your burning questions about paint colors, finishes, and applications. If you have any other questions about decorating, reach out to us here.  

Painting Tips - LEAD 1
Credit: Courtesy of Benjamin Moore (2)

When it’s time for your walls to get a fresh coat of paint, many gravitate towards white for several reasons, most of which being that it’s safe. But if painting your space is the most inexpensive way to make a drastic change, why not play with a little bit of color? You can change it as often as you want, after all. Of course finding the right hue for you can be as stressful as investing in the perfect rug or couch, so we asked a couple pros for favorite colorful neutrals that are anything but drabby white. You’re welcome.


In the decorating world, dove gray is referred to a pale, light gray, and it’s a favorite of Australian interior decorator Greg Natale whose graphic interiors (mostly in neutral hues) are #roomenvy worthy. “I love working with monochromes, and this gray brings a beautifully soft layer to a room,” he says. “Against it, you can add pops of color such as malachite green or lapis lazuli in, say, bedroom soft furnishings. Or, try touches of gold in a bathroom via tiles or fittings.”

Englewood Cliffs, Benjamin Moore, from $38/gallon; store.benjaminmoore.com.


For a moodier look, Natale leans towards navy blue. “It’s another popular neutral that works well with anything.” he says. Hey, if it works for our fashion wardrobe, then it must work for our living room.

Midnight Navy, Benjamin Moore, $48/gallon; store.benjaminmoore.com.


Staying on the blue spectrum, pale blue is another colorful option that works beautifully as a neutral, according to color consultant—yes, her job really is to consult on paint colors—Eve Ashcraft. If you’re looking for a hue that suits a range of spaces, “a pale blue can almost be like atmosphere instead of a color,” she says. "And everything in the world goes with it.”

Pavilion Blue, Farrow & Ball, $99/gallon; us.farrow-ball.com.