No Neutral Ground? Why the Color Camps Are So Opinionated

We ers are extremely opinionated. And it seems like no additional topic brings our views into the surface as far as color. Photos on the two ends of this spectrum — with a lot of neutrals or a great deal of color — always appear to find an instant, powerful response. But why?

At a recent survey on , 44% of ers said they enjoyed neutrals, 15 percent said they enjoyed lots of bold color and 41 percent said that they enjoyed both. As the survey shows, many people do say they enjoy the two neutrals and color, but most people still have strong feelings about the subject.

“Neutrals consistently feel secure to individuals, as indeed they are,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Shade does not act,” adds James Martin, president of Color People. “You can not ever rely on it to do what you want.” The split personality of these two color camps certainly has something to do with colour tastes, but is this a hot-button topic?

Canon & Dean

A Passion for Color

Among the rest of the controversial topics on , why do so one continually rise to the surface? “Shade is so intrinsic to our lives,” states Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of the United States. “Every waking — and sometimes sleeping — minute, you’re interacting with color.” The fact that the majority of people have an intimate relationship with color makes it an easy topic to have an impression on — especially when the choices (neutrals and bold colors) are polar opposites.


Color also tends to instantly stick out in today’s designs. Many insides today have a transitional design which could be difficult to peg or may appeal to many distinct tastes. Shade is completely distinct and warrants an impression right off the bat. “You can not always recognize a fashion as readily as you can identify the color,” says interior designer Jeff Culbertson.

4 hot color trends to play with

Ashley Campbell Interior Design

Social Influences

But our view is not completely our own. “We’re kind of taught that understated is tasteful and overstated is not,” states Martin. “I think a great deal of people genuinely like color but have questions about how it’s going to be perceived.”

Mark Woodman, president of the Color Marketing Group, agrees. “What people appear to fear the most is other people’s negative opinions,” he states.

Sheila Rich Interiors

Negative but misinformed experiences with colors — bold or neutral — may have an effect as well. For those who tend to stick to neutrals, including a big pop of color somewhere random probably won’t feel appropriate. “You may believe you just made a shade mistake,” says Harrington. “However, you didn’t. Live with it and add more color.”

Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography

Neutralizing Neutrals

There’s a reason most men and women prefer neutrals inside their houses: They are usually easier to live with. Neutrals “are the perennials of color — not subject to trends as far as brighter colors, classic and dependable,” says Eiseman.

The dependable side of neutrals makes it a safe alternative for big-budget items like couches and much more durable material options — particularly for those who can not make up their heads. Color tends to be a big commitment that wants a great deal of confidence, so neutrals work well for men and women that want to modify their accent colors regularly. “Color is not for everyone,” says interior designer Ellinor Ellefson.

4 New Neutrals for the New Year

Marie Burgos Design

Controversial Colors

“Sometimes people are afraid of color since they can not visualize it,” says interior designer Marlene Wangenheim. Envisioning a bold purple onto your walls could be difficult when your home is all white and gray. So often those who do chose color already have quite a bit of experience with it. Color tends to get better with use and expertise. “The more color you’ve got, the more color you can use with it,” states Martin. “With monochromatic rooms, you will discover there is only a very slim margin for error when selecting a color or even neutrals to go with it. With color, you become free.”

Rikki Snyder

Considering color but feeling anxious? Start small. “Area size occasionally has an effect on committing to a strong color,” says Harrington. “We tend to shy away from large regions of color, even if it’s easy to change or not as expensive to do.” Try using color in a little area which you don’t use that often — like a powder room or even the inside of a cupboard. “This is a jumping-off stage for braver efforts in different rooms,” says Woodman. Or find a color you prefer and tone down its intensity by requesting the local paint shop to add a grey, suggests Wangenheim. This will make it both a color and a neutral.

“Can it be feasible for color to go awry? Certainly,” says Woodman. “I like to believe, however, that there is no wrong color, just color used wrong.”

Next: What to do if you live with a colorphobe | Vote: Color vs. Neutrals

More help from the resource library:
guides to using neutrals
guides to using bold colors

See related