Neutral Colors are Fun too!

Neutral colors are often considered the backdrop for cool and warm colors. However, they can also play a strong role in your color palette. They can even be the star of your color scheme and create very sophisticated designs.

Before you let vivid colors have all the fun, consider giving a neutral color a prominent spot in your color palette.


The strongest color in the neutral set is black. It can convey formality and power and is elegant on its own. Black is used for both edgy and elegant designs. It can be traditional, unconventional, and modern depending on how it’s used and what colors it is paired with. Black or shades of black are often used for typography because it is easy to read.

  • elegant
  • formal
  • sophisticated
  • conservative
  • mysterious
  • neutral
  • mourning
  • Halloween


The opposite end of the color spectrum is white. It can also work with any warm or cool color. White is associated with brides and healthcare (white coats). In design terms, white is usually used as the backdrop for other colors. It is used often in minimalist design.

  • clean
  • simplicity
  • innocence
  • bright
  • freshness
  • space
  • cold
  • sterile


Gray is a cool neutral. (Cool meaning the opposite of warm but it’s also a cool color. ) It can be used instead of white (lighter shades) and black (darker shades). It can be used in combination with so many colors as well as having other hues as undertones (such as blue, purple, etc).

  • professional
  • formal
  • sophisticated
  • conservative
  • modern
  • subtle
  • moody
  • depressing


Brown is related to wood and the earth. It’s a warm color that is used to represent steadfastness and earthiness.

  • warm
  • earthy
  • dependable
  • reliable
  • wholesome
  • wood
  • dull
  • old-fashioned


Beige or Tan have the warmness of brown, but depending on the shade can also be cool like white. It is a unique color and can reflect the tone of colors it is paired with.

  • conservative
  • malleable
  • background
  • paper
  • dull
  • old-fashioned


Cream or Ivory can be warm or cool depending on the colors they are combined with. Ivory can be calming and elegant and a good alternative to the starkness of white.

  • sophisticated
  • warm/cool
  • calm
  • pure
  • elegant
  • earthy

Have fun with it and experiment with color. If you would like some inspiration check out these posts with color palettes, my portfolio, or my I Love Color Pinterest board.

Check out my post Tips on Using Colors with Personality for all the colorful colors.