share post

Color Inspiration: A Soft & Subtle Palette

by | Mar 2, 2016 | Color, Decorating Inspiration

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

Color Inspiration: A Soft & Subtle PaletteBHG

Color Inspiration: A Soft & Subtle PaletteLonny

Color Inspiration: A Soft & Subtle Palette

Color Inspiration: A Soft & Subtle Palette

Do you love a soft and subtle color palette?
I do, but I don’t seem to feel as comfortable with only soft colors in my own home.
I always find myself adding contrast to a subtle palette, even though I appreciate soft colors.
Do you like a more subtle palette?
What’s your color scheme at home?

Related Posts:

Color Inspiration: Coral Pink

Decorating with a Pop of Red

Freshen Up For Spring: Green and White


  1. Rose

    I love the kitchen – so soft and beautiful ~
    We are thinking of purchasing a new place and the kitchen has to be worked on. This is beautiful.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Much love,

  2. jen

    My color palette is more contrast. I have a tiny house (850 sq feet). Living area/ kitchen is Gray with bright white trim and pops of turquoise. Bathroom is Navy and white with pops of coral. Master bedroom is Turquoise with pops of coral. and the extra bedroom is a work in progress……

  3. Kelly

    I love the soft color palette, but my house is far from it. My bedroom is a little softer than other rooms, it is tan and white. I think a bedroom should be soft, relaxing colors since it is where you sleep. I’m trying to come up with what I want for my living areas.

  4. Kathie

    I’m sorry but the basically white rooms I am seeing everywhere feel cold and impersonal, though I do see the appeal of white cabinets in a kitchen.. Subtle is fine but white is boring. Maybe it works in tropical climates but I need more color. The northern Michigan house I am leaving behind in a month has a warm palette that includes muted yellow, terra cotta, sage and warm beige (all with white trim and window treatments) which works here where snow covers the ground 6 months of the year. When I get to the mountains of North Carolina I will live with the environment for a while before I choose the colors but I can guarantee I won’t choose predominately white.

  5. Linda Stoll

    Hey Melissa ~

    I’ve chosen Benjamin Moore’s ‘Simply White’ as the palette for my whole house, woodwork and all. I’m a strong believer that a coat of paint is the first step that makes a house your very own home.

    And if this Color of the Year is good enough for the decorators, it’s good enough for me! I can’t even imagine making my way through hundreds of shades of white trying to decide which one would work!

    Here’s the video that sealed the deal –

  6. Raelene O'Brien

    Pale and interesting. If my hubby would let me I would paint/buy everything white!

  7. Karla @SmallTownRambler

    I love the tile in the kitchen! I have a soft blue paint in my kitchen- Ocean Air by Benjamin Moore. I really enjoy the soft blues/greens. I wish I had the nerve to do tile in our kitchen but I change my mind too often.

  8. Deanna Rabe

    I do like some soft color but we are more of a bold color family. I have yellows, reds, blues, and greens mainly in our home.

    • Deanna Rabe

      That said, I just pinned the first photo to my kitchen board because it is so beautiful!

  9. Ann Blomgren

    I love looking at the pictures featuring soft, subtle, but when I am actually in a room like that it feels like something is missing. I am very color needy, and find an intense response to color. right now I’m using deep reds (maroon) and browns. the deep tones provide a strong impact and are lightened by accessories of crystal, gold.

  10. Sandra Downie

    Love these colors! I have many of these similar colors throughout my home!

  11. Debbie from MountainMamaOnline

    My investment pieces in my home are neutral – sofas, chairs, rugs – which leaves me tons of options to add color – or not – as I wish! More often that not there is lots of color in my home….it just changes with the seasons. Right now it’s more in the coral/teal/lemon range – a month ago it was red and leopard!

  12. Deb

    I too like looking at the softer colors but our home is all the colors of fall, gold, red, green, and brown. All the woodwork, doors, windows, wainscoting, and kitchen cabinets are Steeple White which is a slightly creamy white. I just love it. For us here in New England, I think it works for us.

  13. Judy

    Hi Melissa, beautiful photos. The rooms we’ve painted in our house are subtle, soft cool gray/blue and blue/green tones. I like how relaxing they are. I used to be drawn to a warm color palette, but now I find I like using those colors more as accents than overall. My most favorite color is Cumulus Cloud which was a Martha Stewart color at Home Depot. It is a soft cool gray with blue undertones. It’s in my bedroom, which makes it feel so relaxing and dreamy. The cool tone makes the room feel larger since it’s on the small side. I paired it with soft white trim. I love it!

  14. susan maclean

    Well…… I paint all my woodwork a UK colour called Barley White, which is actually a pale, warm cream. So the doors, the skirting boards, the cupboards, all Barley White. And that’s my continuity. Apart from that I seem to like a bold colour here and there, and both bedrooms have a dark grey behind the beds, the bathroom walls are that same dark colour, and then, last year I chose a dark, bright blue for my living room walls with a blonde, nearly grey, paint finish on the wooden floors I have plenty of light in that little room, so it never feels dark, but at night it feels cozy. I love all the pictures of pale and interesting rooms, but I would soon find myself itching to insert a blob of strong colour here and there!!

  15. Denise Kass

    Love the soft spa colors! Ready to paint… Can you tell me the colors used? I just love your blog Melissa! I look forward to opening up your messags. Good luck in your new home. I am excited to see what you create!

  16. Kim Lubs

    I have a subtle color palette throughout our entire home. Sherwin Williams Glimmer is on every wall of every room with neutral furniture & pillow fabrics. Its so soothing and calming to me! I LOVE how others use POPS of color in their pillows or fabrics or accessories, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Its not boring at all, just what appeals to my eye & my brain. I especially love the subway tile & trim color in the kitchen picture you posted!

  17. shala

    I have greys, greens, pale blue/aquas all with white trim work. I’m a NW beach lover with a little Hawaiian thrown in the mix, and I think the colors in my home reflect that. Very similar to what you have chosen for your photo essay. Cheers!

  18. Kathy C.

    The first three are lacking color and warmth, too white! The third seems much more natural and homey. I feel welcomed there.

  19. Melissa L.

    I love this conversation! I find myself pinning white rooms all the time, but have decided I like them in a computer size format – not so much in an actual room. If I had to live in a white-ish room I would feel restricted and, as someone else said, cold. I live in Minnesota so go figure! Most of the walls in our house are some shade of blue-ish gray, and in hindsight I feel like they are too blue but I was trying to avoid anything looking brown. It all depends on the light! But it darker walls do feel cozy to me!

  20. Nicola

    Most of my home is white. White walls, white kitchen, white slip covers and white bedding. Pale wood floors and sisal rugs. I do love a charcoal accent though- a sculpture, picture frame or slate. I have a few antique dark wood bits of furniture and I like how the white allows them to be the stars of the show. I think this palate has developed because I live in Sydney, Australia. There’s so much colour outside the window in terms of the blue sky, the greenery and even the birds that find I need a calm interior. When I lived in the UK I liked richer colours.

  21. Sheila

    I love the soft colors but I need a little red thrown in and maybe one leopard print! Everyone is so crazy for the plain fixer upper shows but I don’t want everything white. I am glad she is finally adding some color into the mix. You can always add pillows and rugs to change the look for each season. Right now I am loving aqua and turquoise in my new kitchen we remodeled with an apron front sink and white/gray granite counter tops!

  22. Kristina

    I love some of these rooms, very ethereal. I’m not usually a fan of either blues or pastels in decorating, but rooms like that kitchen could make me a convert. Maybe because it feels like an April sky, much more organic than the sort of nursery or Easter egg vibe I usually get from pastels.

  23. Jen

    I am drawn to some of these pale colors, but like you, I also need a bit more contrast. I tried painting my dining room bright white, and it was a total fail! It felt so stark and out of place. Instead ended up with a dark teal-ish blue (“pier14″from valspar) that I love because it feels contemplative and calm. My husband always jokes because I say my favorite paint color is “blueish-greyish-greenish-blackish”!!! By the way…love watching the planning and transformation of your new house.

  24. Cindi

    I have often started out with the soft neutral look, but I just can’t stay there for long. I get color starved and start adding more and more color. My new house has off-white walls and carpet, white trim, wood floors, so it started. But first I added my super colorful paintings, then colored pilows, then colored drapes, the latest was a blue sofa.
    I love the zen look of the neutrals but I’ve just learned not to trust it because I can’t live without color.

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox