Looking for a 'new' neutral that is not beige-based

jockewingOctober 3, 2010

About a year ago, I painted my living room SW Ramie, which is a tan with some green and gold undertones. I like the color OK, but the lighting in the room is not that great, and I think using a cool color might help the room feel fresher.

Most of my adult life, I have always preferred the warmer neutral colors (beiges, yellow-greens, golds). I am now so tired of that realm, and I have really started to get into the cool colors. It was such a revelation to me to see the way the cool colors played so well with the warm tones of wood furniture to create a balance of warm and cool. I have gone nuts with blue-greens and I just love them. I was always afraid of blue walls, but I'm so glad I took the plunge and painted some rooms in the house various blue colors--so relaxing and soothing.

So, that brings me to my search for a cool neutral to use in the living room. I thought about a blue, but I think that would be overkill with too much blue in the house. Right now, I'm thinking about a grey-green, but I am scared of grays. Will that look dreary?

It seems like a lot of people are moving away from the golds and beiges and embracing the gray. Has someone else gone "cool" successfully? Any paint color suggestions? By the way, my accent colors are generally blue-green with smaller doses of yellow and maybe some reddish-orange. The trim in the room is White Dove, and I have bamboo roman shades with a blue-green-gray sofa. I also have other upholstered items in creams and ivories.

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one of my fav grey-greens is SW Grassland. We have it in our master bedroom and is a beautiful color

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Christy Bell

I would think that the green or a pale yellow would look really good next to the blue. Maybe for "punch" bring the reddish-orange into pillows and accents.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:55AM
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I have used Grassland before and in fact just helped a friend paint his whole living/kitchen in that color. It is nice, but too "green". I want something that is more undefinable. Something that you wouldn't immediately say, "oh what a pretty blue (or green) (or yellow), etc.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Funny you should say this because I was just feeling the same way myself. I have BM Bronzed Beige in LR/DR - that was after BM Weston Flax. I too felt the need for warmer tones. I'm not sure if it's color overload or what but next time around think I want a basic neutral and will add warmth/cool tones through accessories.

Wish I could offer a good color for you. Have you looked at a "white" section of a fan deck? I'm not sure if these would be too light for you. Some neutrals in the general BM fandeck can become too intense on the wall.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 12:26PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I painted two walls in my off-white living room a warm gray and love it. Beige and taupe are so overdone that I've come to hate it, and especially the darker tones made it difficult to have an elegant-looking room. Gray on the other hand is very elegant. I would stick to the lighter part of the spectrum and make sure it's a warm gray so that it doesn't look dreary.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 8:08PM
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Have you checked out Restoration Hardware's "Flint" paint collection? They are grey but IMO very pretty, especially the lightest color "pumice".

They also have a "Shore" collection which is aqua blues. The color "atmosphere blue" looks really pretty.

Of course I love the "Silver Sage" collection and the lightest color "Silver" gives just a tinge of green.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 8:51AM
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what about BM Camouflage?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Recently I took the cooler paint plunge for the first time. My kitchen is painted Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter. It is gray but it has a touch of beige if you're iffy on the very cool gray.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 3:22PM
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I love Ingrid's gray walls...what do you think?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 5:47PM
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That is just too gray for me. I need some color-just not beige! I really think I need some type of bluish or green color.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 9:47PM
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What about RH Silver Sage or BM Quiet Moments? We got so sick of our living room being this neutral nutty beige/brown color (SW Macadamia) even though it's a very great color that I repainted everything a pale blue. It's so pale and neutral you almost don't even notice it. It's just this great backdrop for the room that's NOT white, NOT beige. It's just enough color but not a baby blue. I'm SO glad we did it. It's Benjamin Moore Whispering Spring. I recall a house in Traditional Home that did the same sort of thing but with BM Seafoam. Our Bedroom is BM Quiet Moments but cut to 75%. QM is more of a grey'd blue with green undertones. It's gorgeous too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 10:48PM
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You might look at Duron Herbivore--I can't find any web images that look like it. A decorator friend swears by it, and says that whenever he uses it in a housing complex, it clones many copies. It's one of those neither green nor blue nor grey, but an atmospheric blend of all three.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 11:08PM
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Jockewing -

If there is a Home Depot by you, spend some time at the Behr paint color display. They have a whole section of neutrals, and it is organized in a wonderful fashion - red-based neutrals, yellow-based neutrals and blue-based neutrals. That might help you pick out something.

I am using Behr "Prelude" in my master bedroom and bath - it is officially a neutral but I think it should be called a blue - but it is not an overwhelming blue.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 7:46AM
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Farrow & Ball paint is pricey but will have that "I can't quite figure out what it is" look that you desire. French Gray and Blue Gray are beautiful "neutral" warm grayish colors that change with the light. I think you would like them.

Others to look at in various color families include Hardwick White and Stone White (don't let the names fool you, these are not "white;" a friend of mine who sells art uses Hardwick White in the art gallery); green family Vert de Terre, Ball Green and Lichen; dark neutral Charleston Gray; warm Fawn; warm and stony Light Gray and Elephant's Breath; and warm London Stone. If you want less of a neutral and more recognizable color, try exquisite Teresa's Green, a pale robin's-egg-like blue-green that changes hue with the light. There are more worth considering... Find a favorite F&B color and you will never tire looking at it!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:50AM
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