1. Start with the living room because that’s where the entire color scheme for the house is usually determined. Consider the color of your carpet, sofa and drapery. The biggest pieces in the room will heavily dictate the neutral you end up with.
2. If the wall to wall carpet or tile in your house is not cream or white or apple green (in other words, a color) then it’s a neutral and usually that’s the one that should be on the walls so your space looks pulled together.
3. If you hate your carpet or tile because it’s, for example, pinky beige, and a) it will eventually be replaced or b) you don’t want it to boss your entire color scheme around, then the solution to that dilemma would be to put an area rug on top of the offending broadloom. Or if your bathroom (below) has pink beige tile and blue gray wainscotting (or cabinets, or countertop), chose blue gray for the walls instead of pink beige.
4. Here’s the rule about mixing undertones. All undertones can be combined except pink beige with yellow and orange beige. Yellow and orange beige next to pink makes it look dirty.
Don’t combine more than 2 neutral undertones in any color scheme, it could start to look like you don’t know what you’re doing.
5. The other day my client had a green beige sofa/carpet and green beige marble around her fireplace mantle. This makes the right neutral for the walls is a green beige, however she emailed me later and said she wished it could be a yellow beige instead. I responded that going with yellow walls would work much better than a yellow beige.
A strong enough color on the walls would make her green beige undertones read more neutral, however simply choosing a yellow beige would look like the wrong neutral had been selected.
6. Once you’ve found the neutral you think will work, paint it on a poster board and along with white boards behind it, hold it behind your sofa, next to the flooring, behind your drapery or beside your fireplace to make sure it’s the right one.
When your space bugs you and you don’t know why, it’s more upsetting than knowing what the problem is and then choosing to ignore it until you have the money to replace it.