Move over magnolia! Fall in love with the new neutrals

Muted doesn’t have to mean boring. Fall in love with the latest crop of beautiful neutrals.

“My walls need a refresh, but the cream colour I usually go for feels a bit dull. Is it possible to stick to a sophisticated, neutral colour palette without being boring?”

Whether you’re a fan of crisp white walls or just too nervous to try attention-grabbing hues, neutrals are the wall shade of choice for nearly 40% of homeowners, according to a recent AkzoNobel survey.

But muted doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Here, show you how to pack a punch with neutral paintwork and banish magnolia for good!

Cool, edgy neutrals work well in busy kitchens, and keep their cool when the temperature rises.
Neutral painted kitchen

1. Neutrals for… the kitchen

Cool, edgy neutrals work well in busy kitchens, and keep their cool when the temperature rises. Here, crisp, pale grey has been paired with turquoise cabinetry to create a contemporary space that feels cool and fresh. A taupe feature walls adds warmth to the space, and makes the room appear larger.

Which paints?

Q8.04.83 – 50BG 76/068 D5.05.45 – 50YR 22/052

A successful study space should stimulate and soothe in equal measure. Achieve this perfect equilibrium with a cool neutral backdrop punctuated by warmer accents.
Grey painted windowsil

2. Neutrals for… a study space

A successful study space should stimulate and soothe in equal measure. Achieve this perfect equilibrium with a cool neutral backdrop punctuated by warmer accents. Choose a crisp white or grey for the walls – think porcelain white or a very pale stone grey – and pick one warm neutral, like a soft pink or brown with purple undertones, to breathe new life into forgotten spaces, like this windowsill.

Which paints?

D7.03.85 – 90YR 83/053 H0.04.64 – 70YY 46/053

Transform the entrance to your home from bland to striking with a sophisticated palette of warm neutral shades.
Welcoming entrance hall

3. Neutrals for… an entrance

Transform the entrance to your home from bland to striking with a sophisticated palette of warm neutral shades. Here, an earthy tone on the walls has been paired with an off-white ceiling and bold black trim to create a look that’s both subtle and welcoming.

Which paints?

F4.07.76 – 40YY 69/112 GN.01.88 – 81YY 87/031

Daring decorators may like to try darker shades of neutrals for a dramatic yet cosy feel in the bedroom.
Dark blue bedroom

4. Neutrals for… the bedroom

Neutral doesn’t have to mean pale and interesting. Daring decorators may like to try darker shades for a dramatic yet cosy feel in the bedroom. Keep it simple with a dark grey or inky blue, and create balance by highlighting skirting boards and architectural details in brilliant white.

Which paints

S0.20.21 – 90BG 08/075

Add warmth to an open-plan space by taking inspiration from nature.
Neutral open-plan living space

5. Neutrals for… an open-plan space

Add warmth to an open-plan space by taking inspiration from nature. Think rich, earthy tones of sepia, sienna brown, ochre and stormy grey. To add interest to a large room, consider breaking up the space by using colour to frame a window, or choosing a complementary colour for an accent wall.

Which paints

LN.02.77 – 90GY 63/047 G0.11.31 – 50YY 12/095 HN.02.77 – 90YY 63/044

The key here is to choose versatile, gender-neutral hues that can easily be accessorised for added interest.
Taupe painted walls

6. Neutrals for… a shared space

The key here is to choose versatile, gender-neutral hues that can easily be accessorised for added interest. Retro pastel shades, such as mustard yellow and olive green, are a good choice, and look sophisticated without dominating the overall look.

Which paints

F4.10.70 – 30YY 53/125 F8.18.76 – 45YY 67/259 H9.09.69 – 10GY 58/105

Top tip

Want to see how these neutral colour schemes will look in your home? The Dulux Visualizer app lets you experiment with different colour combinations to give you an instant impression of how your room could look before you buy the paint.