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Ever walked into a room and felt an instant mood lift, or perhaps a subtle sense of calm wash over you? Well, don’t just chalk it up to the furniture or lighting; the real hero (or culprit, depending on the situation) might just be lurking on the walls! Yes, we’re talking about paint colours and their sneaky little sidekicks: undertones. Understanding the game of colour undertones isn’t just for the pros; it’s a game-changer for anyone looking to ramp up their decor game. So, buckle up as we embark on this colour-filled journey to unravel the mysteries of warm and cool neutrals!

So What is a Paint Colour Undertone?

The colour that you primarily notice, often referred to as the “mass tone” or overtone, is the dominant colour. The undertone is the hue that is not immediately apparent.

Undertones are the result of blending more than one colour together.  

The Battle of Undertones: Warm Neutrals vs Cool Neutrals




Getting to Know Your Neutrals

First things first, let’s break it down. Neutral colours, despite their name, are far from boring. They’re the chameleons of the colour world, adapting and shifting based on their surroundings. But here’s where it gets spicy: neutrals are split into two camps – the warm and the cool ones.

Warm Neutrals: Think the soft glow of a candle or that golden hour sunshine. These hues, ranging from creamy beiges to cozy taupes, have underlying tones of red, orange, or yellow. They’re like a warm hug for your room, creating a snug and inviting atmosphere.

Cool Neutrals: Picture the serene vibe of a misty morning or the crisp air of a winter day. Cool neutrals, with their hints of blue, green, or purple, bring a calm, collected essence to the space. They’re the zen masters of the colour world, offering a breath of fresh air and a sense of spaciousness.

How do you Determine the Paint Colour Undertone?

The easiest way to determine the colour undertone of a paint swatch is to put a sample of the paint you want to match on a sheet of white printer paper. When the paint sample is compared to the white of the printer paper, the undertone should become apparent.

If you hold your paint sample up against pure white, you will immediately be able to tell if it is pure white or whether it has been blended with other hues to form cream, ivory, or another shade of white.


Working with the Plascon Colour Fan-deck

If you’re shopping for Plascon paint from the Plascon Inspired Collection you can look at the top-most colour on the stripe card. This is usually the darkest or boldest colour of the range, and makes it easy to spot the undertone. This does not apply to the Plascon Essentials Collection though, as this is comprised of 108 popular colours and is not in order of undertones.

Plascon Neutrals: Warm vs Cool

We have put together the following collections of Warm and Cool Neutrals from Plascon’s Inspired Colours. Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, it will give you a great starting point if you’re looking to decorate in warm or cool neutrals.

Plascon Warm Neutrals

Plaster (61)
Plascon Plaster has a wonderful warm yellow undertone, perfect for rustic and Zen style rooms.

Light Stone (68)
Light Stone, a gorgeous sandy shade with a warm, reddish undertone, is perfect for restful bedrooms.

Mandarin Tusk (GR-Y04)
Mandarin Tusk is a timeless neutral with a warm undertone, perfect for tranquil interior and exterior spaces.

Evasive White (Y4-E2-3)
Evasive White has a warm yellow undertone – add textured furnishings to bring it to life.

Plascon Cool Neutrals

Serious (37)
Serious delivers a cool neutral aesthetic with a blue undertone, perfect for relaxing spaces.

Light Grey Aluminium (44)
Light Grey Aluminium brings a cool, Scandi vibe to any room.

Silver (38)
Silver is a cool grey that lends itself to architectural spaces.

Aegean Splendour (GR-B03)
Aegean Splendour has a cool blue undertone and suits minimalist interiors. It pairs well with a Scandinavian aesthetic.

Why Do My Colours Look Wrong?

Ever wondered why the same grey paint looks off in one room but absolutely chic in another? Well, say hello to undertones! These subtle hues are the secret sauce that can make or break your decor scheme.


  • Warm Undertones: They’re like the life of the party, adding energy and warmth to the room. In spaces with cooler light or north-facing rooms, they balance out the chill and create a cozy nook.
  • Cool Undertones: These are the cool cucumbers, bringing in a dash of calm. They excel in south-facing rooms or spaces awash with warm light, providing a serene counterbalance.



FAQs: Your Burning Questions Answered

Q: Can I use warm and cool neutrals together?

A: Absolutely! It’s all about balance. Think of it as a culinary experiment, mixing spices to get that perfect flavour.

Q: How do I identify the undertone of a paint colour?

A: A neat trick is to compare it against a true white. The subtle hues that stand out will guide you to its undertone family.

Q: Do undertones really make a big difference?

A: You bet they do! They’re the silent influencers of your decor, subtly shaping the mood and feel of your space.

Navigating the world of neutrals might seem like a daunting task, but it’s truly a journey worth embarking on. By mastering the art of undertones, you unlock a new level of decor sophistication, allowing you to craft spaces that not only look stunning but feel just right. So, the next time you’re pondering paint swatches, remember, it’s not just about the colour on the surface; it’s the undertones that weave the real magic.

For more colour inspiration follow our BLOG and our YouTube channel.



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