There are so many beautiful paint colours out there, but for a lot of us the thought of adding colour to the walls is a bit of a scary prospect. However when it comes to painting a room in the home in a more toned down, neutral shade, there are a huge array of choices on offer. There are whites, beiges, creams and greys, with so many subtle shade differences, that even looking through the colour charts can seem like a big task. If you're about to delve into a home painting project and need some tips making those initial decisions, then help is at hand, as we pass on some expert advice...


Wondering where to start with neutral paints? Cathryn Helsby, marketing manager at Earthborn, gives her top tips: 'When it comes to our homes, we naturally want colours that are calming, welcoming and easy to live with. Neutral shades with warm or cool undertones can enhance the light in a space, and allow accessories in bolder, brighter colours to act as the accents when needed. As with any paint shade, it’s best to test a sample on your wall in situ first; this will allow you to see how the colour reacts to other furnishings, lighting and flooring and in the context of the rooms overall aspect. If you have ever looked for a neutral paint shade, you may have found some are too yellow, too green, too light or too dark and so on. That’s because even ‘off-white’ paint colours have an element of colour within them, bear this in mind when choosing any colour and think about the overall ‘feeling’ you would like to achieve.'


For example colours like reds, pinks, oranges or yellows have a lovely warm feeling, so if this is what you want to achieve, pick a neutral that has a base colour of pink or yellow – our top neutral shades are: Maybe Maggie, Ballet Shoe and Piglet (shown above). Cool colour choices include those with a blue/green or black/grey undertone and these work well with both a modern and a traditional style of décor – our own hero colours for a cool toned neutral scheme are Picket Fence, Bugle and Eyebright, (shown below). Above all, the most important thing when buying any paint colour is to choose one that you love.'



If you're a big fan of the grey trend and would like to use this colour on your walls, then Kate Watson-Smyth – who has a hugely popular blog Mad About The House – shares her knowledge of the shade:


Your new book Shades of Grey talks through this tricky colour, what tips help when it comes to choosing the right shade out of hundreds?
Well it has to be said that grey is the one colour that will need a tester pot as it changes so much according to the light – a cool blue northern light or a warm, sunny south-facing room will make grey look completely different. So a green-based grey will be cold in a north-facing room but a yellow-based grey may just look beige in a south-facing room. If you're nervous then stick to a chalky white on the walls and paint the woodwork (skirtings, windows and doors) in a dark grey – that can look really dramatic.


How do you stop a grey room feeling too cold?
It depends on the shade of grey you have chosen. If you have got it wrong and it feels cold then there are ways to warm it up; bring in some natural wood, some warm coloured furniture or accessories and that should counteract the chilliness. You will need to test it out but as a starting point choose a warm grey for a north-facing room and a cool grey for a south-facing room.


What other colours look best with grey walls?
Well that's the joy of grey. Its list of friends is long. Everything from the blush pinks and warm yellows, to neon orange and lime green. But it's also great with navy blue and all shades of green. This is why it's such a brilliant and versatile colour – once you have found the right shade of grey for your room it can stay forever and you can change the accessories around it.



Top image: Back to White colour palette; Nostalgic Nancy colour palette, both Earthborn
Bottom image: The Fens colour palette, Earthborn. Claypaint is from £36 for 2.5l




Article by: EKBB