The new trends in white and neutral paints

Let’s look at what is new in neutrals

Whites and neutrals often provide the foundations for most colour schemes, whether they’re used simply as a backdrop for vibrant colours, or sit at the heart of a minimalist masterpiece.

But not all whites and neutrals are created equal, and they are subject to our subtly evolving collective taste and trends, much like any other colours.

Top whites and neutrals

Neutrals tend to dominate the Resene Top 20 paint colour each year, because they are such a foundation tool for every colour palette in both interiors and exteriors.

The versatility of Resene Black White has kept it in the number one spot in the Resene Top 20 for some time, often followed by the always popular Resene Alabaster. The subtle grey undertone of these two colours keeps them crisp without being glary. Other popular colours with this greyed edge are Resene Sea Fog and Resene White Pointer.

One of the other interesting evolutions in the top 20 has been the rise of more dark charcoal neutrals. Resene Bokara Grey has been a popular colour for several years. This year it has been joined in the top 20 by Resene Grey Friars, Resene Shadow Match wood stain and Resene Ironsand.

These charcoal tones have been growing in popularity as an exterior colour can add immediate street appeal and visual impact, particularly when paired with in a subtle off-white.

Muted creams and blueish-greys add subtle warmth and colour while keeping an overall neutral look. Wall and floor painted in Resene Rice Cake with door in Resene Duck Egg Blue. DIY artwork wall canvases in Resene Duck Egg Blue, Resene Conch and Resene Sorrento. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Warmth on the horizon

Resene colour consultant Jackie Nicholls says while Resene Alabaster and Resene Black White are still popular in new-build properties, there is a move toward warmer tones among renovators.

“Rather than the buttery creams of the ’80s and ’90s, we are starting to see natural, stony whites taking centre stage, adding a bit more soul and a welcoming vibe.”

For a tonal, layered neutral look, Jackie suggests trying Resene White Pointer with Resene Quarter White Pointer then adding smoky colours like Resene Quarter Ironsand, Resene Courtyard and Resene Eau De Nil.

Layers of texture and subtle accent colours can help a neutral colour scheme become more visually interesting. These walls are painted in Resene Triple Black White, with floor stained in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

The other trend in whites and neutrals is a shift toward mist-toned complex neutrals in sandy, biscuity beige shades or even notes of blush.

Resene colour consultant Brooke Calvert suggests looking at shades like Resene Cobblestone, Resene Solitaire and Resene Cargo which are deeper and richer in colour while still being versatile enough to match with a range of other shades.

“They make a great base for those who like to change up their accent decor regularly,” she says.

Our approach to grey is also getting more sophisticated and daring. Where greys might previously have been kept to outdoors and deemed too chilly for interiors, there’s a rise in deeper, pewter greys like Resene Silver Chalice that work well with on-trend muted teals like Resene Time Traveller and verdant greens like Resene Kombi.

More complex, mid-toned neutrals are making a comeback for rooms with an inviting, comfortable finish. Lower wall painted in Resene Double Thorndon Cream, with the upper wall in Resene Half Thorndon Cream. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Top tip: Pick whites and neutrals that pair well with more permanent features in your home. Pick tiles, appliances and carpet first and then find a warm or cool neutral that works. It’s much easier than trying to find carpet to suit your paint when there are only limited carpet options to choose from.

Revive your current scheme

If your interior hasn’t been painted for some time and you want to refresh it with on-trend neutrals that will keep your room looking modern for some time, Jackie suggests going slightly brighter in tone. If you have an older classic creamy for example, maybe try brightening it to Resene Solitaire or Resene Meringue.

If you’re not revamping the whole room, keep to a similarly warm or cool toned cream so your existing decor will fit in and look fresh.

“Accent colours still have a place but use them with restraint. An area such as a dining a corner or a TV wall can look stunning in a colour that is quite dark, as it won’t close the room in but rather give it a modern edge and showcase anything you put in front of it.

“In a bedroom or even an office, colours are transitioning from clear bright tones to muted natural colours, creating a timeless finish.”

Flip the script and add subtle colour where you’d typically expect neutrals such as on skirtings and door frames. This skirting and frame are painted in Resene Half Dusted Blue against a wall in Resene Quarter Sea Fog. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Top tip: If you go for layers of similarly toned neutrals as your colour scheme, work with different texture and finishes, such as the low sheen of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for walls, the semi-gloss of Resene Lustacryl for trims or even a textured effect using Resene Sandtex to break up the monochrome design.

For help choosing colours to suit your projects, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert online, or book a Resene Colour Consultation,

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