Decorate with Nature's Neutral Colors | Midwest Living
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Decorate with Nature's Neutral Colors

Banish beige with quietly colored mineral tones. These natural hues are today's hottest "new" neutrals, offering serene, soft options for your walls.

Airy amethyst

Amethyst in its uncut form inspired this whispery purple wall color. Naturally organic, the shade harmonizes easily with raw-wood furniture and animal prints.

BUYING GUIDE: Chair 3020-01. Lee (800/892-7150; leeindustries.com). Coffee table 6573 Norwood. Arteriors Home (877/488-8866; arteriorshome.com). Lamp 17279-366 Lulu violet. Arteriors Home (see Coffee table, above). Paint 2114-50 Victorian Mauve. Benjamin Moore (855/724-6802; benjaminmoore.com). Pillow 083313 Cummerbund. Anthropologie (800/543-1039; anthropologie.com). Rug XH1121 0203BR Modern Leopard Print, color: Chocolate and Latte. Shades of Light (800/262-6612; shadesoflight.com). Side table Jared teak. Oly Studio (775/336-2100; olystudio.com). Wall table Sierra nightstand. Crate and Barrel (800/967-6696; crateandbarrel.com). Vases Pure White collection, jug and carafe. West Elm (866/937-8356; westelm.com).

Stone gray

Gray is the ideal neutral. Ranging from cool (silvery) to warm (taupe) tones, gray can look good with almost any other color. In this cool gray room, navy accents pair with touches of barely there shell pink.

BUYING GUIDE: Art 1793881705A Abstract. Art.com (800/952-5592; art.com). Paint 30BB53/012 Silver Trophy. Glidden Paints (800/454-3336; gliddenpaints.com). Pillows 188-517 Holden knit, color: navy and FA223 Pelliccia, color: white. Crate and Barrel (800/967-6696; crateandbarrel.com). Pillowcases 25089 Signature sateen, color: Dark Blush. Garnet Hill (800/870-3513; garnethill.com). Rug XN2001 Out of Africa cowhide, color: Chocolate Brown Zebra. Shades of Light (800/262-6612; shadesoflight.com). Table 5406 Nantucket driftwood/glass. Arteriors Home (877/488-8866; arteriorshome.com).

Mineral blue

A good backdrop for medium wood tones and soft white accents, a faint touch of gentle blue offers a calm and restful ambience.

Paint 1300 Blue Fog. Pratt and Lambert Paints (800/289-7728; prattandlambert.com).

Three more

"Greige" (top right, a cross between gray and beige), works with just about anything. The palest ocean green imbues tranquility, while a rich clotted cream color proves beige doesn't have to be boring.

Paint (clockwise from top right) SW7031 Mega Greige. Sherwin Williams (800/474-3794; sherwin-williams.com). AF-490 Tranquility and AF-85 Frappe. Benjamin Moore (855/724-6802; benjaminmoore.com).

Decorating with natural neutrals

Many pale tints can act as neutrals. They're usually the most ethereal shades on the color wheel and can come from unexpected places, like the rocks that inspired this story's hues. These soft versions of classics are muted and neutralized with just a murmur of natural gray, another noncolor.

To achieve a pretty room with these new neutrals, select either a cool blue-based shade or a warm red-based shade. Then align the rest of the room's elements by choosing colors in that same cool or warm tone. The result? A quiet, refined look with a hint of wall color that's far more interesting than basic beige.

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