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Neutral Office Color Turns Space into Multipurpose Room | Behr
Erica Sooter, Dwell Beautiful designer stories
Pick a Paint That Transitions to Fit Your Needs
Office before repainting project

Have a space that serves multiple purposes or needs to transition to serve another function? Pick a paint color that will serve as the perfect base for your room, regardless of form or function!

BEHR color palette
Flannel Gray

Flannel Gray
Color Details

When buying and moving into a house, unless you built it yourself, you never quite know what you're going to get. Usually you'll have to make compromises. If you love the kitchen, but think the bathrooms are blah, you see what you can work around and make an ultimate decision on whether or not to buy the home and go from there.

That happened to us while we were buying our very first home. The entire house had tons of charm and neat features, but one room we weren't thrilled about was one of the bedrooms. It was a nightmare of baby blue beadboard and nautical boat wallpaper. Not very versatile and definitely not our style!

Tearing out old wallpaper
Fresh drywall on home office walls

We knew we wanted to change it up and get it to a more neutral state, so we tore up the beadboard and found this underneath.

Eek! Several layers of random colorful wallpaper, splotchy paint, and literal holes in the wall that had been hastily and poorly patched with plywood and blue tape. No good! We had a professional come in and put a thin layer of drywall over the top of everything else. Now we had a fresh canvas! Take note: The painting part of this project is super easy, but if you need new drywall or home repairs before painting, please consider hiring a professional!

When choosing a paint color, it's super important to consider what function (or functions) the room will have. Especially in smaller homes, you may want (or need) to have one room serve multiple purposes. With our space, we knew we wanted to have it as an office and lounge area for now, but also have the ability to transition it into a nursery in a year or two when we decide to start a family.

If you have a room that needs to work for different uses, take a moment to consider how you want all of those individual spaces to feel, and see where they overlap. In our case, we wanted our office/lounge/future nursery to be a clean and light space that we could customize by changing out furniture and décor items as needed.

Picking a neutral color like a gray, tan, or white is always a safe and easy choice for multipurpose and transitional spaces, but that's not to say you can't use color! We could have easily picked a dark blue for a moodier feel, a calming green for a peaceful vibe, or a vibrant yellow for an energizing pop. All of those options would've made a great focus spot for an office, a chic hangout spot for a lounge, and a customizable nursery where we could pick out girly or boyish accents depending on the gender of our baby. It all depends on how bold you want to be! Find a color that works for you that you can envision having in all the different spaces you want your room to embody.

Since we were starting from a blank canvas with fresh drywall, we didn't have any baseboards to tape off or electrical outlets to work around – everything was already prepped! However, if this is a room that is already in use in your home, make sure you tape off anything you don't want to get paint on and remove all the outlet plates!

“We settled on BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® “Flannel Gray,” which is the perfect soft gray with a slightly cooler feel and it's especially fitting since we live in the Pacific Northwest where we are known for wearing flannel!” - Behr Flannel Gray
Equipment for painting home office
"Once you have your paint picked out (which is over half the battle) it's quick and easy to get that color up on the walls!"
  • paint
  • rollers
  • angled brushes
  • PaintER’S TAPE
  • paint tray
  • drop cloth

Set up your drop cloth, pour some paint in the tray, and roll away! Use an angled brush to cut in the corners and around outlets, doors, and windows, and roll in a 'W' formation for the best paint coverage. For full instructions check out this Behr tutorial.

BEHR color palette
Flannel Gray

Flannel Gray
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Color Smart
"I love how the Flannel Gray just provides a beautiful neutral palette."

It makes it easy to change up the look with different décor and furniture pieces. There were a few areas that we missed on our own and touched those up after the first coat had dried overnight. Easy peasy! The color is just so perfect and smooth and versatile – which makes it the perfect option for our multipurpose space!

BEHR color palette
Flannel Gray

Flannel Gray
Color Details

After installing some baseboards, replacing the outlet covers, and moving some furniture and décor pieces in, we now have a lovely cozy office and lounge space to hang out in! It's a great space for working on the computer, and also just hanging out and reading a magazine or working on an art project.

Right now we have a desk with a computer, a dresser for some storage, and a bench for lounging and reading. It is the perfect functional space for getting work done and also just hanging out with a good book. In a few years, when we transition it into a nursery, the dresser will store baby items instead of paper and supplies, and we will switch out the desk for a crib. Simple as that! The artwork can stay and transition as the style of prints we chose work for all sorts of spaces.

However you use your room, make it work for you by picking a color that will transition with each new use and age gracefully over the years. This will save you lots of time and money since you will be able to easily switch up the feel of the room with furniture or décor accents. If you're at a loss of where to start, Home Depot offers Timeless Color Palettes from Behr to inspire you and get you started! Happy painting!

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