Forget what you think you know about boring beige and meh cream—this is a neutral that can hold its own, but still plays well with others.

If you’re looking for an impactful but simple refresh in your home this year, changing up the neutral paint in your main living spaces is one of the best solutions. You don’t have to alter any furniture or decor, but everything will appear in a new light with a fresh backdrop setting the mood. The category “neutral paint colors” encapsulates so many shades of cream, gray, and muted versions of other colors, picking one can be more challenging than landing on a bright kelly green you like.

But the most important thing to remember about neutral paint colors is that they do not have to be boring and predictable—so don’t live with your meh tan walls assuming there’s nothing better, and don’t be afraid to do a little experimenting before, you know, committing three-quarters of your house to it.

In 2019, the unexpected neutral paint we’re loving falls under the category of driftwood gray. These colors—like an actual piece of driftwood—have a good amount of variety, including warm grays, cool browns, and shades of icy blue. One paint that, depending on the light, can be described as any of those colors is Behr’s Elephant Skin. It’s a great medium, warm gray—not too dark and not too light.

Elephant Skin, which could also be described as a rich taupe or shade of mushroom, is ideal for well-lit living spaces, and pairs really well with bright white trim. It plays well with layers of more neutral furnishings, but coordinates with colors just as much. Blues and purples pop against Elephant Skin in a way they don’t on a plain white backdrop.

This shade is also a great option for cabinetry in the kitchen or bathroom, and even proves versatile enough for house exteriors. Brass and chrome hardware both complement the shade beautifully.

Three other paint colors that fall into the driftwood gray category—either to pair with Elephant Skin or to try instead are Sherwin Williams Light French GrayBenjamin Moore Iron Gate, and Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.

Now that you've got an updated neutral, you can transform any room of your house in a weekend.

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