All about neutrals

Neutrals are the backbone of interior design, whether you want to use them to create an elegant space or as a backdrop to pops of colour and/or patterns.  Far from boring, they can give you a canvas for experimenting or a calm, relaxed space with different textures and hues.

What are neutral colours?

Neutrals are referenced in nearly anything to do with interior design, but what exactly are they?

All about neutrals The definition of neutral colours within design means ‘without colour’.  The basic neutral colours are black, brown, white, grey and beige.  There are numerous shades within these five though, such as off-white, cream, graphite, coffee and chocolate – the range from light to dark within each is huge.

Although the definition is without colour, often shades will have undertones which could be slightly yellowish, peach or bluish.  The on-trend beige for example will often have undertones of pink, gold or tan (like the new greige neutral).  You need to be aware of the undertones as you match paints and wallpapers.

This year, there are also the ‘new neutrals’ which are neutrals that have more character, such as lilac, tea rose and mint.  Think of warm, pale colours taken from nature that can be used as background hues.  New neutrals encompass a much wider range of natural tones.  They are just as versatile as the traditional neutrals and will complement many other colours.

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Can I decorate with just neutrals?

Absolutely, an all neutral colour scheme in different shades looks timeless and sophisticated in any home.  It is alsoAll about neutrals favoured in many offices to make a calming environment free of distractions.

As there are so many shades within even the traditional neutrals, there’s no need to end up with an all-white room or a dull look.  Many people are opting for neutrals these days to create a natural, peaceful tranquility in their homes, especially as they have been spending so much more time in them during the pandemic.

For a clean, streamlined look, use brighter neutrals, and muted ones to give a fresh but cosy feeling to the room.

If you are not sure where to start on an all neutral design scheme, here are some handy tips; pick a neutral and use different hues of it, have a lighter shade of paint or wallpaper on the walls with furniture and flooring a shade or two darker.

For extra comfort underfoot and a homely feel, pick a rug that will complement the flooring, but go for a shade darker than the walls.  Accessories should match the different hues that you have used for a cohesive look.  Use textures to bring in visual interest, like wood furniture and wool rugs.

When redecorating before selling a house, many experts recommend neutrals as they give a clean, fresh look to the house whilst showcasing its potential.  It is much easier for buyers to envision their own style and belongings in a place that has a neutral colour scheme.

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Are neutrals good as a background?

All about neutralsThey are perfect as background for dramatic accents of colour and/or pattern.  Without them, a design scheme would probably be overwhelming as the eye is drawn to too many places at once.

Choose a neutral according to how light or dark you want the space, how much natural light there is and what colours you want to use.  This is where you need to bear in mind the undertones of the neutral, as they will need to complement the colours.  Use a colour wheel (they are easy to find online) to check, and it’s always a good idea to try samples on the walls before you commit.

Using the walls as a neutral canvas, then adding in drama with an accent wall (this is a great way to bring in some bold patterned wallpaper) or colourful furniture is a tried and tested design scheme which looks stunning.  It is also a stylish surround for patterned wallpaper on the ceiling, which draws the eye upward, making the room appear larger.

This gives you the option to change your colour scheme easily and quickly in the future, as the walls do not need to be redone.  The dramatic accents do not even need to be permanent, plants give a great pop of colour and add to the natural and calm feeling that neutrals provide.

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Whatever you want to achieve, the experts are here to help.  Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!

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George Ryland