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Wood furnishings and floors complement new neutral shades beautifully

April 01, 2014

A host of new neutrals are allowing homeowners to create color combinations with brighter accent hues and unique finishes. Taupe, oyster and gray have emerged as the reigning favorites because of their versatility and ability to mix beautifully with wood tones like those found in Anderson's Urban Pioneer collection of hickory hardwood flooring.

Gray has become popular in recent years as a main color for both home exteriors and interiors. In addition, many softer hues have a touch of color added to a gray base, from silvery sage to delicate lilac. They can be warm or cool depending on the particular shade chosen for a room design. And they have taken home decorators beyond bland beige and flat gray to give wall colors more depth than their simpler neutral relatives ever did.

Adding unique finishes
Whether you're choosing a vibrant warm color or a cool one that evokes peace and relaxation, the finish on the color can influence the personality of the final product on walls, ceilings and trims. Just as interior designers have stepped up their use of oyster and taupe hues in the brown family and variations of gray with color tints, a new range of finishes have been developed to give surfaces a unique sheen.

Most people know about the basic levels of gloss - non-shiny flat, eggshell and glossy paints – but they should also ask the experts at their local paint shop about those that fall between. These include a matte finish that's midway between flat and eggshell and contains porcelain dust for easier cleaning. Likewise, pearly finishes fall between eggshell and semi-gloss, and stand up well in kitchens and other areas that retain moisture.

More versatile shades
Instead of choosing primary colors for their children's rooms, many homeowners are now looking at toned-down versions of these hues. They offer more variety in accents and won't need changing as frequently as the child outgrows the decorating scheme. Some examples that are particularly versatile include navy, cranberry and deep green.

Blues and greens have held the top spot as consumers' favorites in recent years, and they've traditionally been perennial hues in boys' rooms. But the hue that was selected as the Pantone Color Institute's 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid, is a vibrant purple shade that will likely find its way into many young girls' bedrooms. It's a multi-faceted color that will work well paired with red, lavender and pink.