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The definition of neutral has broadened in room design hues

July 17, 2013

Hardwood FloorsOnly a few years ago, celadon green was a favorite color with interior designers and home decorators. More recently, gray has become the new beige. It's natural for tastes in decor to change, but melding the latest colors with classic features like Anderson's Monroe oak floors, brings continuity and a touch of class to home design.

Neutral hues stray far beyond basic white, beige and gray these days. Those with undertones of other colors complement a wide array of accents just as pure neutrals always have.

Martha Stewart Living magazine suggested using such colors - from peach to a variety of blues - to create a more sophisticated base in a design plan. The magazine stated these neutrals-plus tend to bring out the best in hues, textures and wood tones around them and fit any design motif from modern to traditional. They can also be used in vibrant or subdued color schemes because the hint of color underlying the neutral makes it more versatile than plainer background colors.

Approachable blue and white
While it may not be a strictly neutral combination, the classic look of blue and white almost fits that category. White is the most neutral of all shades and goes with everything. And many shades of blue, from deep navy to blue-tinted gray, are an ideal backdrop color for most accents.

"Blue and white are approachable colors that work well in any part of the home," HGTV interior designer Sabrina Soto told The News-Herald in Michigan. "Together they look elegant, and when paired with pops of color, they can be warm and welcoming."

Homeowners need only look at their environment to see how well blue and white go together. Combining paisley prints, floral patterns and stripes won't look over the top as long as the blues are well-coordinated. A blue and white combo can be traditional or contemporary, crisp and clean or soft and vintage, which may be the reason why it's a mainstay of classic color duos.

A couple of years ago citrus colors and many tones of red were making a splash as accent colors, but the scales have tipped back in favor of green and purple, two iconic "cool" colors. Both are natural accents to blue and can create an atmosphere in room design that ranges from woodsy to regal.

"Decorating with blue and white can be serene," said Soto. "They are both forgiving colors that not only are inviting, but sophisticated."