MASTERING THE NEUTRAL COLOUR PALETTE
Neutrals have been a trending colour palette for as long as I can remember. The right neutral can make a home appear bigger and brighter, it has broad appeal, and it can be easy to work with – once you know how. For these reasons, neutrals are often considered the “safe” choice, but don’t mistake them for boring. They come in a wide range of colour choices, they offer incredible versatility and endurance on the style stage, and thus, they have become a go-to hue in homes everywhere. Here are three steps to mastering a neutral colour palette in your own home.
Choose Your Neutral
There are literally thousands of different beiges, creams and off-whites out there – a rainbow, if you will. A neutral colour palette doesn’t mean you have to choose just one hue, but as you would with a more varied colour palette, your selections have to “go.” A good guideline is to stick to the same “temperature.” Cool colours have blue undertones, while warm colours have yellow ones. Mixing temperatures can create colour conflict – not a great look. This is especially the case when working with neutrals, which are intended to be just that, neutral. Combining warm and cool neutrals can play up those colour undertones, thus compromising their neutrality.
Where colour isn’t an option (as is the case in a neutral or monochromatic space) texture plays a huge role in creating interest and bringing dimension to the design. Texture and pattern occur naturally in some materials, such as the grain you see in woods, the veining in marble, or the speckling of certain stones. They can also be manufactured, such as what is commonly seen in wall coverings, textiles, and tile. Now, picture a beige room with no pattern at all, just flat, beige everything. Looks flat, doesn’t it? Now add some of those textural elements and watch the space instantly come to life!
Add Some Oomph
A neutral room needs some emphasis to help highlight features and focal points, and draw the eye. Black is an attention-grabber and an outstanding choice. Consider painting your trim, casings and interior doors black, incorporate black light fixtures and hardware, or accessorize with some black pottery and wall art. The secret to this trick is to use black sparingly. Overdoing it will compromise the neutral aesthetic and “water down” the emphasis that you’re aiming to achieve. Some other great ways to add oomph is by incorporating wood elements or some vintage leather.
Maximize Natural Light
In many modern homes, maximized windows and minimized walls allow natural light to flow throughout. This enhances function, while warming up the space like only sunlight can. When arranging your furniture, be sure to leave sight lines to the windows and doorways clear. Avoid heavy window coverings, which not only block views but light. Where privacy is a concern, consider sheers or blinds that roll up when not in use. If your windows are limited, you can create the illusion of light by adding a large mirror opposite a window, to essentially double the amount of natural light.
As you can see, the “easy” and “effortless” look of a natural interior is anything but. In fact, I’d argue that a neutral room requires a little extra strategy to ensure the “b” in beige doesn’t translate to “boring.” I personally prefer descriptors like bold, beautiful and breezy.