Friday, July 30, 2010

Libby Langdon's Top 10 Neutral Paint Colors

Don’t stress about picking a paint color — here’s one designer’s go-to list.

When you hear the term “neutral,” do you instantly think of boring beige? Well, neutrals don’t need to be a snooze, says interior design expert Libby Langdon. Still, there are so many neutral paint swatches that it can be dizzying trying to pick one.
That’s where Libby comes in. We’ve featured Libby’s ideas on ShelterPop before, and we just love her smart tips. So we asked her to choose her top 10 favorite neutral paint colors — and there’s not a beige in sight. But there are some surprises (hint: navy blue?!).

Here are her 10 favorites:

1. Calming Pale Blue: “Upward” Sherwin-Williams #6239

Perfect for a soothing bedroom, this blue doesn’t scream little boy’s room. “This is the most perfect pale, icy blue color,” says Libby. “It looks gorgeous mixed with crisp white and soft tan; it’s really beautiful with the washed weathered wood that is so hot right now.”

2. All-Time Terrific Tan: “Universal Khaki” Sherwin-Williams #6150

Don’t underestimate tan — It can instantly add warmth to a room. “This is a wonderful tone of tan that works well in family rooms or living rooms,” she says. It’s not too dark but it’s rich enough that it works in a room where are likely to spend lots of time. “It’s also neutral enough to work with all sorts of patterns and colors that you might have on your furniture,” she says. “It truly is a universal color.’”

3. Solid Gold: “Convivial Yellow” Sherwin-Williams #6393

No sunflowers or butter here — this yellow is calming and serene. “This is a super color for an entry hall or a kitchen,” she says. It also works well in a hallway that connects rooms painted in different colors. “It can tie other colors together,” she says. “It’s a very soft but beautiful yellow, and it’s cheery without being too much.” Libby says that it looks great paired with white or black furniture.

4. Serene Cream: “Natural Cream” Benjamin Moore #OC-105

This cream will look good mixed with just about any color. “It’s got enough depth, so you can see the difference between it and white, but it’s super soft and pale,” she says. “I like it because it doesn’t go too gold. It’s just nice and neutral.” Finally, a cream that makes me feel like I spent all day at the spa. Libby used the color in a bedroom she designed (above) to tie all of the neutral furnishings together.

5. Go-To Green: “Ancient Marble” Sherwin-Williams #6162

“Ancient Marble” has a slightly aged appearance — it feels lived in, like a broken-in pair of jeans. “This is a pretty, soft, barely there sage green,” says Libby. “It’s subtle and not too overpowering while still being rich in hue.” It could work in almost any room, says Libby, but it would look particularly good in a dining room, living room or kitchen. “This color is great against all wood finishes and looks fresh and modern when paired with white,” she adds.

6. Sweet Dark Chocolate: “Black Bean” Sherwin Williams #6006

Libby says that a rich chocolate brown can add drama and impact to a boring room. In fact, she says this color is the best chocolate shade she’s ever used! It’s not a traditional neutral, but it works with just about any color. Libby recommends creating one accent wall in this color — like the wall behind your bed, sofa, or fireplace. “Paint one wall this gorgeous chocolate and paint the other three walls a soft neutral tan or cream. It will add so much spice to your space.”

7. Perfect Putty: “Revere Pewter” Benjamin Moore # HC-172

Don’t let the name Pewter scare you, this isn’t a metallic. “I adore this color,” says Libby. It’s a little more modern than a tan, she says, but it’s still pale enough to not take over if you are the type who is afraid of color. She particularly likes using it in hallways or kitchens. “It looks incredible against white woodwork and trim,” she says.

8. Gorgeous Gray: “Essential Gray” Sherwin Williams #6002

Gray might be a trendy color right now, but this one will stand the test of time. “Gray is such a hot hue right now in interior design, and this is a soft and elegant gray that would be perfect in a master bedroom or a living room,” she says. “It really shines when you pair it with white crown molding and trim.” Libby recommends pairing the light silvery gray with pale mauve, a rich navy blue or a bright yellow.

9. Libby’s All Time Favorite White: “Cotton Balls” Benjamin Moore #2145-70

“This is my go-to white color.” Libby uses this one on all doors, crown moldings and trim, and adds that it’s fantastic on cabinetry in kitchens or built-ins. “I love it because it’s not a cold, harsh white. It’s soft and warm but still definitely a true white. It’s a home run every time!”

10. Classic Navy Blue: “Naval” Sherwin Williams #6244

“This blue is such a gorgeous color. It adds an air of classic elegance in any room, “ says Libby. “Some people might not think of navy blue as a neutral but it is. It looks amazing with everything from aqua to orange to yellow to gray.” Libby adds that this shade makes a room feel crisp and clean. She’s used it on one wall in a bedroom, and it “immediately added a comfortable and cozy feel. It really pops when it’s paired with crisp white as well as rich stained wood finishes.”