What Are Muted Colors, And How to Use Muted Color Palettes? 

Colors are a great delight to human sight. They talk and express emotions in the best possible way. Colors are your way of telling stories, and they go well with every emotion you wish to portray. That is why paintings are often messy with a slight colorful touch that speaks volumes of emotions.

The best thing about colors is that they are available in different forms and textures. And today, in this article, we will be talking about those forms and textures. What is even more exciting to talk about is Muted Colors. These are specific types of colors that add value to the artifacts you make using these colors.

Muted colors are not very vibrant and shiny colors, but still hold a significant role in the world of art. How and why, we are together going to find, as we progress further in the article.

Introduction to Muted Colors:

Introduction to Muted Colors

 Muted colors are a shade lighter than contrasting colors. They are not as bright or vibrant as yellow or red. Muted colors are the opposite of contrasting and bright colors. They are usually called subdued, dulled, or greyed. These colors are generally prepared by own as per the requirement.

 The tone, texture, and everything else varies from the normal color. You can take an example by comparing a normal cloudy sky to a vibrant evening with a mix of orange and yellow spreading far and wide.

Using muted colors is always fun and exciting. Sometimes you know what color the mixing of two colors will bring, while sometimes you just experiment to see the possibility of a new color.

Muted colors are more of an experiment to create your own desired color. Some amazing, muted color paintings stand strong in terms of appearance even though the contrasting colors are absent.

So, let us study more in detail and find out various other aspects of muted colors.

Uses of Muted Colors 

Uses of Muted Colors

Muted colors are used to balance the color saturation in your art frame. When one frames something with high saturation to balance that vibrancy of the color, muted colors are used.

Sometimes the art frame also consists of art made only of muted colors. As muted colors are dull and low in saturation it emits peacefulness and calmness through its presence.

So basically, muted colors are used to fit in or balance the saturation of two contrasting colors.

Advantages of Muted Colors

Advantages of Muted Colors

Silent Shiner

Muted colors act as a silent shiner in the painting. They work as the background or rather the supporting plot of the main plot and bring the main subject to the highlight.

Colors of Your Own Choice

Muted colors allow you to make colors of your own choice. You do not have to adjust to only the existing colors, you can make the colors of your own choice by mixing various others and obtain the needed color.

The Choice to Create Your Own

Muted colors do not set any boundaries for you, it just lets you explore your reality of colors by mixing the existing one. So that is always fun and exciting.

Muted Colors Also Play the Lead

Usually, artworks using the muted colors also greatly catches your attention. It depicts peace, stillness, and purity through its vivid display of colors.

Disadvantages of Muted Colors


Sometimes mixing too many colors together can be messy as it consumes most of your time in finding the correct texture, which would make your artwork fit.

Tedious & Tiring

Getting the color of your choice especially the muted ones are hectic. You need to have proper knowledge and quantity mixing tactics to get the desired color. This mixing major of the time becomes a very tedious and tiring job.


Mixing two or more colors to get your desired color often leads to losing quite a lot of money. So sometimes using muted colors can be costly.

Not Getting the Required Texture

Despite mixing several colors still we fail to obtain the color of our own choice and that results in great disappointment later. Portraying the exact vision of reality into your artwork needs a very close touch of colors and contrasts. And sometimes we fail to bring that even through muted colors.

How to Make Muted Colors?

How to Make Muted Colors

As we know how important and fun muted colors are, it will be equally fun to learn to make muted colors. As the definition says that the colors with low saturation are the muted colors. So muted colors are generally made using mixing two different colors.

Let us find out what are those different colors by which we can get the desired muted colors.

Black Color

You can always use black color to mix with any color and create the muted desired color.


White is another beautiful way of creating a light-saturated color that embarks radiance and elegance from the art frame.


You can use color grey to get the shade of the required muted color.

Mixing Complementing Colors

You can use two complementing colors to get a muted version of the color.


Mixing earthly or a shade of brown color can help create amazing textures of muted colors too.

How to Use Muted Colors?

How to Use Muted Colors

Muted colors are the soul of an artwork that an artist wishes to portray. Of course, bright, contrasting colors are instant attention gainers but muted colors build up an environment by which the contrasting colors pop up beautifully.

One can directly start using the muted colors from the palate. Do not look for muted colors that are already created or are already used in several artworks. Try to keep it original and real.

Take inspiration from real pictures that you wish to portray on your frame. And then similarly try creating too much of muted colors by mixing colors of your choice and need.

The key to use muted colors is to start by just mixing them. So, mix and mix colors of your choice and have fun with the colors. Always remember to not over analyse the color. Make sure that you are having fun with it.

Why Do We Need to Use Muted Colors in Painting?

Why Do We Need to Use Muted Colors in Painting

Paintings are an exploration of colors. You create, you destroy it all about new ideas. Those ideas are either inner self-driven or can come from outer influence.

The artwork on the painting depicts a message and the way you present it makes it worth watching. One cannot be continuously using bright colors in all the artworks. It needs variations and most importantly it needs the touch of reality. And reality never comes out of only bright colors, it is a combination of muted and bright or sometimes only muted or only bright.

To depict that touch of reality and thought one needs to use muted colors. As already said, muted colors build a plot to the story that you are willing to convey. And more often mixing two colors to see what new can it bring is always fun, isn’t it?

Hence, we use muted colors in paintings to experiment, explore and convey the touch of realness and joy.

Below given are few paintings that depict the depth and importance that muted colors hold in an art frame.

depicts the amazing use of muted colors to portray calm and stillness

Here the above painting depicts the amazing use of muted colors to portray calm and stillness. Muted colors working as the background brings the brown color painted trees to the focus. This is how muted colors glorify your artwork by their presence.

platform for the main subject to pop out

Here in the above painting, too, muted colors are providing a platform for the main subject to pop out and shine. And that is the reason why the sun with bright saturation grabs your attention first.

muted colors that brings the main subject to the focus.

The above picture too depicts an outstanding contribution of muted colors that brings the main subject to the focus.

high and low saturation of colors

The above painting is a fantastic amalgamation of high and low saturation of colors that are idealized.

red roses

In the above picture, red roses instantly catch your attention because of the muted colors and the background they were built to highlight.


Muted colors are fun and exciting too. Mixing colors to get your desired color is a tedious but fun job to do. Understanding the different combinations of colors and creating your own desired muted color is very critical.

Muted colors almost act as the soul of the painting. An effective painting cannot stand without muted colors. The subject needs to be brought into the highlight and that highlighting is done with the help of muted colors.

So, one can directly just start using the muted colors from the palate to the canvas or can create their own color and then accordingly paint their desires.

Muted colors are a very critical yet responsive part of your art frame, so it is very important to understand and analyse that. We hope that this article has managed to provide you with a broader and briefer knowledge on understanding and using muted colors.

Hope to see some amazing artworks with some super selectively created muted colors.

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