Shades of Sunday: Color VS Neutral
Jeannie Nguyen
August 2, 2013
Hi Houzzers! Let's dive right into another Shades of Sunday discussion!

Today's Topic: Color VS Neutral. Now, we know this can cause a heated debate, but it will be interesting to see what side you pick! Or, if you have creative ways to incorporate both into your home, let us know!

I personally love adding color every time I get the chance! However, I like to mix neutrals with bright bold colors to not strain the eyes. I've learned my lesson after having a bright yellow room with bright furniture. Hey, can you blame me? I was 15! :)

Living Room by Emily Ruddo

Share your experiences, thoughts, and photos below or tweet us on Twitter!

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Lori
love it!
5 Likes    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:25PM
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decoenthusiaste
Just posted this very pic for someone with a gray/pink living room dilemma! Hot!!!
    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 8:15PM
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PRO
Amy Wax
i love the room as is but I would add a whispery soft neutral to the walls and ceiling for two reasons. First of all I would like the decorative trim molding to stand out more. The details in this room are charming, I would not suggest anything but a very soft neutral color. I would also add a subtle color to the upper flat ceiling so that the beautiful ceiling beams stand out a bit more. If you would like to create your own colors I suggest using the Color911 app. I have mixed colors with the color wheel and brought them to the paint store and they matched the colors for me, it was easy. You can also photograph an image and pull colors from it if you want to find the perfect color for the walls with the app. There are many features for color help and inspiration. Whatever direction you go in, I love the colors of the room, but I suggest a very soft color for the walls and ceiling so that all the beautiful design work, fabrics, painted furniture, and beautiful details of the room get the full attention they deserve.
8 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    August 3, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Jennifer Warren
Beautiful!!!
    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 10:00PM
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jossiehk
I love the furnishings but the walls and ceiling from the top line of the TV and art has a bare look. Amy's suggestion of a subtle color to the flat ceiling would enhance the over-all effect methinks.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:05PM
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historichouse65
I agree with Amy. Subtle color would greatly enhance the space
    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:34PM
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miramira
I would paint the cabinet underneath TV so it doesn't blend in so much, love the room, and the pink chair needs a deep shade to bring in dining chair depth. Good job!
1 Like    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:41PM
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PRO
Klein Kitchen and Bath
Fab! I love it cuz you can easily change it if you want as the funky colours are only really in the furniture so if you want to change to a more tradititional or neutral look you don't need to repaint or do anything other than ne chairs
3 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 3:31AM
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hammerhugger
Where does one watch tv in this room........from the dining room table?
8 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 4:21AM
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PRO
Studio Homes
hammerhugger has a point... this room may be beautful but has a major flaw. It doesnt work.
3 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 4:32AM
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Madelain Kitshoff
I would swap dining room with sitting area and move tv and cabinet to solid wall. I love the clean and fresh colours.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 5:25AM
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sharpkl
Does it seem we pick colors based on our location? In the more tropical areas bright colors work great, but in colder climates we tend to use darker colors? It is also dictated by the retail stores in the area. Sadly!
I prefer a neutral base for expensive upholstered pieces because I cannot change them on a whim. Then I pick a favorite color to build a theme around. The theme is hardest for me because I like so many types of furniture.
I find the neutral colors easiest to live with long term but I also love people who have the expertise to decorate with color as long as its not a jumble of colors.
You have made me think about this. I think I prefer the orderliness of neutrals.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 5:40AM
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sharpkl


Neutral with a POC
3 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 5:44AM
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Margo
Now me... I would actually paint the ceiling turquoise like the lamps ;)
2 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 5:50AM
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oddduck25
I prefer color. My family room is painted a color called golden coast. It's a warm, rich mustard color. The back hall is done in brown basket. I tease that I wanted it the color of dirt, as it's the main way we enter the house. I really love fall colors, and we have a long fall here.

Too much neutral, to me, makes a room sophisticated but not warm. I prefer having neutral furniture. That's expensive to change. Paint and accessories are much easier to swap out.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    August 4, 2013 at 7:15AM
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feeny
I love color, but usually only use it in my rugs, throw cushions, and artwork. I prefer neutrals for walls and larger pieces of furniture. It gives me more flexibility.
5 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    August 4, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Sylvia
Personally I love using colour! But I also like change! So I always try to keep my walls and the bigger pieces of furniture neutral. That leaves me free to change the toss cushions and accessories with the seasons. In summer I go brighter and in winter I go with deeper colours. All good!
3 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    August 4, 2013 at 7:22AM
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PRO
Infusion Home Design
Color is everything.Color must be right to go with the theme of the house then magic happens.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:28AM
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xes2u
Love your design style and I think your white / lighter colored decor + trim is great and would stand out better with darker walls; gray, taupe, green. Same reason for an accent color for the ceiling so that those beautiful decorative beams are more noticeable.

I love the orange wall shade that "sharpkl" has in her picture however it may not meld with your color scheme.

Here is the gray I picked for my living room.
5 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    August 4, 2013 at 7:33AM
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tennisanyone
I could easily move into the room. I love everything about it including the pink chairs which could be changed. Everything else is neutral.
2 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:41AM
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Greg the PAINT-IT! guy
I'm going to apologize way in advance, because the only thing I like in these rooms is the color infused pink chairs. I've NEVER been a fan of white (or ultra-bland) or unimaginative color palettes. This one is possibly one I would dislike most. Sorry. From my perspective it needs a LOT more color!!!! Doesn't mean the owner has to adopt my view, though.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:48AM
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bubblyjock
Definitely brighter colours - nothing too whacky or sharply contrasting, though! There are too many grey days and dark nights here in our part of Canada to stick with neutrals, imo, although they do look lovely when well-photographed.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:49AM
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PRO
Donna Walker, Artist
Always color for me! I love the neutral walls with pops of bright color in your photo. What I do in my home, is use color on the wall, but make sure the artwork and furniture complement or sets them off. For example, my kitchen is cornflower blue with an original painting that has mostly reds and oranges. Looks fabulous. Our soft green living room painted walls, have an orange sofa and a turquoise blue chair.

But I understand that for a lot of people, color is scary, so the best way to go is neutral walls, then the accessories can bring in the color, and be easily changed over time.

All neutral does look chic, but empty! I would get tired of it very quickly. I want to see life in someone's living areas!
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:51AM
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motownmom
I agree with above regarding locale.I have found a lot of times it depends on the geographic area, the layout of the house and how much light it gets, and personal taste. Homes that have mutliple levels, ie a split level home where part of the house is below ground, even with windows I prefer white on the walls to brighten it up. I also prefer neutral walls & decor with pops of color in rooms that flow into each other, like a family room/kitchen/entry/dining area. These are also rooms that guests tend to visit and where the family spends a lot of time. It wears out more than other rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms, so the need to change it more often means, to me, a neutral backdrop allows for easier changes in rugs and furniture.

Like feeny, in neutral rooms I use a LOT of color in pillows, rugs and artwork. In colorful rooms I'll match the walls with the decor in a more subdued way.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:59AM
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cmckamie
I love color, but as a lay person who loves design, and looks at it daily, I''m a little tired of it right now. I think most of us love drama, and the general public is obsessed with color right now as a cheap way to get it. I have helped several friends with their design choices, and they are all loving bold color and basically just want me to validate their choices as being okay. The result is that I am now craving rich, sophisticated neutrals. I am doing a gut remodel on a 2800 sq.foot foreclosure we bought. It will be a collection of neutrals, gray, taupe, cream, white, brown, black, and silver. I will lightly sprinkle a little color here and there. That amount of neutral, if done well, is dramatic in itself.
2 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Margery
Totally disfunctional! First, I love color, I am an artist. I agree with another reply, that geographical location does effect design...so where is this and what happens in the unseen side of the room? Two things bother me especially, I do not like a TV in a living room and this one is, well, do you stand in front of it to watch HGTV? The other thing that is just too 'decoratish' is the daybed seating. It's too 'clever'...yes, you can see over it but why? Not necessary! Who in his right mind wants to sit upright on such a gimmicky piece? A comfortable low back couch would be way more welcoming and would not interfere visually. Some thought the walls were white? I don't think so! To me, a neutral room usually indicates a 'neutral personality', someone who is afraid of using color, a 'safe solution', though there ARE rooms that need a calming effect, maybe a bedroom, though in Florida I had a guest room with all white furniture, rug, plantation shutters, but the walls were a bright orange! I loved sleeping in the room! It was a surprise to guests but they all loved it!
I think wall/ceiling color needs strengthening. It will show off the very nice woodwork far better than the anemic shade it is! I love the hot pink chairs that could easily be slipcovered for a change of seasons, and the coordinating fabric on the wing chair. A pink/blue color scheme is hard to use but works here, but I'd prefer a different choice. My own just redecorated living room has medium dark grey walls and ceiling (two story) with lots of nice woodwork, and a lighter grey Stark area carpet. The couch is a strong yellow, two antique frenchchairsare hot pink patterned fabric interiors with purple velvet backs and off white wood trim, and a wing chair has a soft yellow background with purple, white and blackfloral pattern (Manuel Canovas). One tall wall is covered with art work, one wall is all glass paned doors and opposite is the stairway. The 4th wall is all white, book case and fireplace. The room is comfortable and spectacular!

My family room connects through a doorway and it, the breakfast area and kitchen are all one. It is cream color with a pale blue ceiling that is coffered...white woodwork... It has one wall over the long bar that is bright orange and has one of my paintings of a huge orange tiger lily. Plantation shutters all around. The insides of all the cupboards that show are the same orange. The painters thought I was nuts until the saw the results and love it! Furniture is tan leather, beige couch and a pair of rattan chairs with blue and white trellis patterned seats and blue Potttery barn back cushions.. This is the dog's room so it has an area rug in hemp also PB and hoseable.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 10:18AM
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summgardner
I just don't like bright colors. I like soothing neutrals and white that never goes out of style. I am not "scared" of using color, just get tired of it quickly. I think artsy people like bright, bold color and respectively so. Changing out pillows, area rugs and accesories is far less expensive than changing upholstered chairs and sofas. With a neutral background, one could change these accessories frequently and save money and labor. I think a neutral or mostly white background is more mentally soothing than jarring colors. At the end of the day, it is what makes you happy, color or neutrals.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    August 4, 2013 at 10:20AM
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lrb945
go to a furniture store and search for a couch that isn't brown, tan or some neutral color. infuriating!! here's one that i just found in the basement of an estate sale, all dirty and gummy. it cleaned up great, though, and is an authentic mid-century piece of fabulous color when we weren't afraid of color!
6 Likes    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 11:29AM
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cgrma
We are moving into a very generic ranch. Walls are white with wallpaper ceiling border. That will soon be gone! We now live in a beach house on the gulf. We are moving to the mountains of TN. I will be taking my beachy looking couch just because it is new and rarely sat on and because I like it. It is nuetral yellowish tan with subdued green and red/rust palms on it. I want to add some bright colors. Suggestions? wall color, area rugs to go on the oak hardwood, other pieces of furniture. We are very casual people and comfort is what we aim for.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 11:59AM
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lrb945
live there awhile, and listen to your surroundings. they will be the final arbiter of what will work and what will not. we live in the Missouri Ozarks, deep in a mixed oak-hickory woods. i have wanted to do a holographic foil wall here, for instance, ever since we got here. very contemporary/cool; the world outside my windows clashes with it too jarringly and just won't allow it. sigh. i've found that you must let your surroundings lead you in your interior choices for the effect to be successful!
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 12:11PM
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cgrma
thanks. I definitely plan to do some of that. The first thing we will do is to replace some windows. The windows are much too small and not 'friendly'! I want more light.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Elise Carow
Very pleasing to look at. To enhance what you have, perhaps pillows in colors of the pink chair, a shade lighter of the lamp (blue) on the ceiling, and the grey color of the sofa on the walls to show off the trim, the mirrors and the picture. Perhaps a light blue insert in the picture to make it more Beachy.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:00PM
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PRO
Pacific Paintworx, Inc
Walls are the largest element in any space. I prefer to let the walls represent the mood or feeling I typically want from that space (consult your 'mood ring').. Similar to how the sky, landscapes or seascapes affect us.
If you're unsure of your space and what you want from it, or if you want your guests to decide for themselves - such as in a museum or gallery - then you may go neutral or white
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 2:16PM
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Michelle Chumsae
Loving the hot pink, but the pale blue accents don't work for me here. There overall palette isn't fitting together. I'd go with another intense shade--could be neutral, like slate gray or chocolate brown--or vivid leaf green.
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 2:21PM
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Sheila
I could move right in but my husband and family would leave me. The room doesn't have any room for Labradors
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 5:57PM
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ruaware
Why must one watch TV in such a lovely setting?!
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Jill Barklow
Because even people who don't "watch TV" ~"watch TV" am I right? I don't like having a TV in the living room, but, if you don't have a den/family room what are you to do?
    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:31PM
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1970raeann
I love both bold and neutrals. My living room is soft tan with purple accent walls, classic but a pop of fun. I love your room. To bring out the wonderful architecture I would leave ceiling and that white. But I thing that the walls would look great in a nice midtone gray. Would really set off furniture nicely. Especially the white piece under the TV
1 Like    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:52PM
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magspag
Not a fan. Too many things going on and not in a good 'we live here and are having fun' kind of way. Contrived and busy.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 2:05AM
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pamsmith
Color keeps us from going to sleep in a neutral room. Unless it's a bedroom, bold colors are wonderful for accents. Decide what the room will be used as, then add touches of color to create mood.
2 Likes    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:57AM
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dawnbc1
Please excuse me but I'll just be honest and recognize that we don't all share the same taste. Hate the pink. Hate pink in general but don't think another bright of any color would look good there either. I think the Walls need a deep warm neutral because it looks clinical. If the walls have a warm, neutral color then you can layer the turquoise (bright) with a deeper neutral (navy? brick?). Here's a picture of a room with similar floor and rug color so you can see what I mean about the wall. In theory your picture has color but to me it looks stark. I do like the floor and the rug.
    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 11:06AM
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dawnbc1
sorry forgot attachment.
    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 11:06AM
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PRO
OTM Designs & Remodeling Inc.
Amazing!
    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 11:47AM
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hammerhugger
Odduck25, what brand is the paint you have that is called "Golden coast"? It looks green but I like it!
    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 1:19PM
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skmom
I like both... As long as its not too bright. I'm not afraid to paint color on walls, I don't have a single white wall in my home, but hubby and I prefer cool and calming colors. Blues and greens with taupes. I like for white woodwork to pop out. I like to mix wood colors. When I use red its a cooler red and I use it in accessories. We once painted hubby's office red. We had SO many compliments on it, but neither hubby or I ever felt comfortable in the space. We then painted the walls a deep, dark, rich green shade and we loved it! I like to paint ceilings, but not all of them.
We have 5 children, all close in age... We gravitate towards calming spaces and cool colors. Except in our children's rooms, those have vibrant themes. :)
1 Like    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:58AM
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nickymiddleton
Too many lines and the scale seems off. So cluttered. The position of the settee is awkward and the tv over the cabinet isn't right... The ceiling is gorgeous but competes with the hundreds of lines in the room. Chaos.
    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:54AM
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PRO
Zee Design Studio
i say there must be contrasts, i am the kind of person who would love to see every color clear , not too much colors ofcourse but i can't paint all the walls of one room with one color (except if it was a small one)
    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 12:57PM
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kanjoo
It's a beautiful room, but I think it has too much white, one could soften it a bit with colorful window treatment and other decors. Hummerhugger really has a point and I also think the tv is up too high. The pink to me is too strong I could have gone for dark brown.
    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 4:36PM
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oddduck25
Hammerhugger, it's Valspar in an Allen + Roth color, golden coast ar726. Oddly enough it looks greenish under a flourescent light, but it's beautiful in the day. That was a pretty bad pic, on an overcast day, but I wanted to share. :)
    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:45AM
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