How to Pick a Taupe Wall Color

Written by robin fritz
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How to Pick a Taupe Wall Color
Planning can make sense out too many paint chips (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Taupe is one of those amazing neutral colours with a chameleon-like personality that enables it to take on many roles in a home decorating scheme. On the one hand, it can fade into the background and play a supporting role for art, antiques and personal mementos. On the other, it can stand front and centre in a room full of white or grey accents. Whatever its role, however, a little advanced planning will help anyone select the right taupe for the job.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paint chips
  • Clear tape

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  1. 1

    Establish the room's overall "temperature." Like all members of the colour wheel, taupe has a temperature. It can tend toward the cool side, meaning it has bluish undertones, or it can be warm, meaning it has reddish undertones.

  2. 2

    Look at the furnishings in the room. Opt for a taupe that's warm if the furnishings are warm in colour, such as reds, browns and yellows. Opt for a taupe that's cool if the furnishings tend toward the cool side, such as pale blues, greens and lavenders.

  3. 3

    Identify important accessories in the room, such as paintings, posters and vases if the furnishings are neutral in temperature. Let these accessories determine the room's temperature instead.


  1. 1

    Establish a tone for the room. All colours come in varying shades of lightness or darkness, and taupe is no exception.

  2. 2

    Consider the overall light factor of the room. Select a taupe that's lighter in tone if the room is too dark and needs to be lightened.

  3. 3

    Aim for a darker taupe in tone if you're trying to make a bare space feel cosier.

    Paint Chips

  1. 1

    Limit yourself to no more than 5 to 10 taupe paint chip samples as too many options can be overwhelming. Deciding on a temperature and tone should eliminate more than half of the available taupe paint chips, but what remains still is a dizzying array of options.

  2. 2

    Skip taupe paint chips nearly identical in temperature and tone, opting for ones with more variation and contrast instead. Fluorescent lights in many stores actually enhance the subtle differences between paint chips, but these same characteristics may disappear entirely in your room, depending upon the light.

  3. 3

    Grab extra copies of each taupe paint chip you're considering -- one chip for each wall that will be painted.

  4. 4

    Tape an identical taupe paint chip to each wall. Step back and examine the colour on each wall with different lighting options, such as natural light from windows as well as with all of the lights on.

  5. 5

    Add a second taupe paint chip to each wall, step back and examine it as well, making note of how they differ. Look at the paint chips at different times during the day and evening; the perfect taupe in morning light may not be so warm and cheery when the sun sets.

  6. 6

    Limit the number of taupe paint chips you examine to no more than three or four shades at a time. Remove paint chips when you eliminate the and add another colour selection.

  7. 7

    Narrow your selection to one or two final taupe paint chips samples. At this point, you probably can't go wrong with either.

Tips and warnings

  • Be patient. Although this process may take some time, a well-chosen paint colour will be one you'll live with for years, so a few days are a small investment in the long run.

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