Decorating with Neutrals
When choosing a neutral color scheme, opt for interesting one’s. Not simply gray, white or black. Go for grayish blue, brown and purple based grays, gray-based whites and green with mustard or blue undertones. Choose a paler or more intense shade or other neutral to mix with with the main color. This will make the room more interesting and diverse.
You may use the additional neutral(s) to highlight the architectural details like doorways and trim work. It will make them standout while these neutral(s) will contrast with the main neutral color of your choice.
To make the room more interesting add accents and accessories. Opt for deeper shades of colors that are used in the color scheme and use them to add accents to the decor. This will make the room more stylish, finished and cozy.
Bold accents also stand out greatly from the neutral-based color scheme like bright pink or yellow in a black and white room. Think artworks, accessories, decorations and small furniture items as accents.
If the all-neutral color scheme doesn’t work for you opt for neutrals only in walls or only in furniture. Thus the brights and neutrals will balance each other. Mix and match the right brights and neutrals into a unique color scheme.
Why: Natural materials are the perfect foundation for a neutral scheme that’s packed with texture – far from a boring option.
How: Combine neutrals – no more than three or four shades at one time, though – for a calming, sophisticated space.
Layer up plenty of textures to add as much interest as possible: consider jute, sisal or real-wood flooring and soften with slubby linens and smooth leather.
The rich diversity of stone finishes are a fantastic place to find inspiration. Find a flooring option you like (limestone, travertine, slate…) and use it as your starting point.
Top tip: When combining painted and natural-wood surfaces in a kitchen choose plain accessories to keep the look clean.
Why: When it comes to sheer sophistication with a warm finish grey-based neutrals are a great place to start. Stick to shades with a brown (rather than blue) base to optimise that cocooning effect.
- Avoid tones that are too similar (they will create a flat, dead surface) as well as brilliant white (it dilutes the subtle effect and makes neutral shades appear murky).
- Stick to matt finishes and natural textures, and highlight the understated beauty of these shades with prominent wood grains and heavily woven fabrics.
- Hand-drawn designs used in moderation on wallpapers or soft furnishings will add interest and unique character to otherwise plain decor.
Top tip: Rich-red wooden furniture adds life to grey-based schemes. Check out Fifties-inspired designs in rosewood for a retro impact.
Why: To imbue a room with character and mood without any strong sense of a particular colour, variations on a cream or white theme should be your first call.
- In an all-white room, prevent a clinical look by varying your finishes for a subtle lustre. So mix ultra-matt and eggshell paint and layer silk and damask with glass and chrome.
- Ensure all-round harmony by sticking to either a palette of warm off-whites (think vanilla or antique white) or one of cooler shades (dove or chalk).
- Texture is the key to avoiding a stark bedroom – fine, embroidered bedlinen and carved, painted furniture should do the trick.
Top tip: A combination of matt and shiny finishes will boost a totally neutral room – matt stained floor and leather upholstery work well with soft-sheen fabrics and glass accents.
Why: Emulate the Art Deco era with luxurious shades of brown and grand dramatic greys for an interior with Jazz-age impact.
- Think comforting and inviting, think coffee, chocolate and cocoa. Mix with white or cream for a classic finish, or gold for a little glitzy glam.
- Go for an old-school library or colonial vibe with an abundance of wood-clad surfaces. Wooden shutters, flooring, and even panelled walls can create a cool cocoon.
- Deep neutrals, such as cocoa and charcoal, look smart when used together. Be careful to pick cool-grey or blue-based shades in sunny, south-facing rooms.
Top tip: For a sexy looking living room layer moody neutrals of varying intensities. Polished metal details and lush silks complete the dreamy design.
Why: Divided into warm or cool shades, these tones help to break up and tame the liveliest of palettes, or enrich and enhance more subdued rooms.
- Using mid-toned neutrals with denim blue is an instant recipe for coastal chic. Stick to stripes and checks, and consider liming or waxing wood for a sun-bleached finish.
- In a dark-red living room or bedroom, touches of chocolate and stone ramp up the glam factor – think boutique hotel style.
- Plum blends beautifully with silver and stone for a rich yet understated sophistication.
Top tip: Blend pale neutrals into a monochrome scheme to add character, while a mix of pattern and texture increases the eclectic feel.
Dramatic artwork and lighting fixtures take center stage in this neutral kitchen designed by Joseph Pubillones. One piece of heavenly artwork makes quite the focal point. Photo by Daniel Newcomb.
Enhance a View
With a view like this, go neutral with the interiors. Let the color come from the hues of the sky and the lights of the city. Design by Kenneth Brown. Photo by Mayer & Bowden Photography.
Brown & White Delight
Layers of color and texture are a soothing combination in this Kenneth Brown bedroom. Photo by Mayer & Bowden Photography.
post courtesy of house to home