I am always wowed by the impact a change in color can have on a room or object. For a relatively low cost and a short amount of labor, painting always seems worth it in the end. For me, the hardest part is always picking a color.

I consider myself a colorful person, but there is something to be said for a good backdrop. Neutrals play wonderful supporting roles, giving your colorful pieces the space they need to shine. The problem can be finding a neutral that doesn’t overwhelm your space and still feels fresh.

When we think about neutrals, we often think about what we’ve seen being used in the past. In the early 2000s, everything was all about shades of beige. Later, many of us excitedly found out that shades of gray can also serve as neutrals. But beiges and grays are not the only options.


Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website gives this advice for fashionistas searching for new neutrals in their wardrobes: “Any color borrowed from nature can work as a neutral.” This advice translates to the home as well. Think about your style and borrow colors from the natural environment that inspired it. If you are still searching for a style, think about where your home is located and borrow from that. If, like me, you tend to gravitate toward beach or coastal themes, think about the backdrops you find in these places. Shades of blues, whites and even browns all work well. Don’t be afraid to go for the darker hues. Think of the ocean, the sky, the sand and the woods found in your favorite beaches. Take pictures next time you visit and bring them to the paint store for inspiration.

Browns and grays work for mountain or forest vibes, but don’t forget about other colors commonly seen in these areas, too. Shades of green, pink, peach, violet and even silver and gold can make wonderful choices.

Bold colors also have their place as neutrals. For instance, if you are in a desert-like locale, consider shades of rust reminiscent of red dirt. Even shades of black, which can be reminiscent of lava rock, can work. The trick is finding the hues you might find in your backyard or in your neighborhood, and working from there.

Have a question? Email the fixisinhawaii@gmail.com.