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Do you think neutral is beige or some form of it?  As a newly designated True Colour Expert, and as a design professional who has been choosing color for over 20 years, I have a theory about neutrals that happens to be, as far as I can tell, unique to me.  I believe that every single color out there can be a neutral.  I know this concept will freak a lot of people out, but there isn’t a single color in the rainbow that is not pretty when paired with another color.

Some neutrals that I have used include aqua (lovely when paired with reds, corals, blues, greens, whites, grays and tans), pea green (fabulous with brown, black, red, coral, whites, navy), red (unbelievable when paired with brown, khaki, greens, blues, blacks, golds, yellows, grays).  Get my drift?

Pea green room, blended with blue and other colors, to create a lovely palette. Room design by Nick Olsen.

The neutral in this space is the aqua-turquoise. They have combined it with read and khaki in this space. Photo from

Finding the right neutral for you is the tricky part.  To me, a good neutral (and again, I don’t mean beiges) is a color that looks great when it is able to be paired with at least 4 other colors.  I often help people define their perfect neutral by beginning with colors that they are attracted to.  After a long process and series of questions and an inate sixth sense, I am able to determine a specific direction.  From that point, I am able to streamline which colors belong in a person’s palette and which of those colors becomes the neutral. This color becomes the backbone of the project.  Once the neutral is defined, I make sure a dose of it is intersperced into every room in the home.  This practice creates the opportunity for a very basic – yet very important! – design principle that I refer to as “flow”.

This design by Alessandra Branca shows how red can be used as the neutral, while combining it with brown.

I am working on a project now that is a whole house starting from scratch.  My client loves orange and coral.  She also happens to look great in them!  The other colors that she is strongly attracted to are aqua, purples, varying shades of green, and taupes.   I have integrated these shades throughout her home schematic and never once interjected beige!  By carefully considering the “blenders” – in this case, fabrics, upholstery and accessories – I have created a palette that is interesting, creates flow, and incorporates new neutrals (yes, coral is her neutral!).

A neutral doesn’t have to overpower your room or home. Instead, it just needs to provide a foundation.  An effective neutral depicts a sense of personality, while also providing the “anchor” in a space.  Although a neutral can appear as an accent, it is most often present in a variety of larger ways, including sofas, window treatments, artwork, lamps and rugs.  Just remember, a good neutral is the springboard for your color palette.  Why would you want yours to just be beige when there are so many other options?

What new neutrals have you incorporated into your own home?  Do you agree with my theory that neutrals can actually be any color?

I say, step outside of the box and consider a new direction for your neutrals.  If you need help in realizing the perfect neutral for your décor, then contact me via my email  at We will schedule an in-home or online consultation that is tailored specifically for you!

NOW, GO HAVE AN “It’s So Fabulous!” DAY!



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