Effortless and elegant: Why go neutral?

Posted by admin - July 24, 2014 - Designer Insights, Inspiration, Interior Design

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, you can’t go far in the world of interior design without stumbling across the word ‘neutral’. From neutral colour schemes, to neutral walls and neutral undertones, the concept of neutral will inevitably rear its head before too long.

But what exactly is a neutral palette? How do you achieve one? And what are its advantages?

At a definition level, neutral colours contain equal amounts of the three primary colours: blue, red and yellow. A neutral tone is typically used to describe a colour of low saturation, somewhere close to grey. A neutral colour scheme typically comprises of white, ivory, beige, black, grey and brown – colours without a lot of ‘colour’.

What are the benefits of a neutral palette?

These almost ‘colourless’ tones not only bring an air of sophistication, elegance and style to a room but they also enable for other features, furnishings and fittings to enjoy the limelight.

For example, a vibrant, quirky and unusual piece of artwork will be propelled further into the public eye when set against a grey ‘neutral’ background.

Likewise a colourful, patterned rug will be given greater visibility in a room when surrounded by neutral, ‘unfussy’ colour schemes.

A minimalist appeal

The use of neutral colours in a living space creates a minimalist appeal. Minimalism is all about generating simplicity, an air of reflection, thoughtfulness and meditation. Subtle tones of grey, beige and white enhance minimalist lines, which is appealing for people wanting to avoid décor that could border of the kitsch.

A dramatic contrast

What’s great about a neutral palette is that it enables you to be bolder and more adventurous elsewhere. The softer hues of khaki, beige and grey will create a calming, serene atmosphere, which cries out for bolder splashes of colour, pattern and texture.

If your walls are coated primarily in neutral colours introducing a more vibrant edge via fabrics, tiles, artwork, wood grains, window frames, fabrics and other accessories, will give the room a more interesting, distinct and bolder look.

A relaxed style

There is a lot to be said about coming home from a hard day at work and winding down in a living room that exudes a relaxing ambience. Light to mid-colour tones married with bright and textured accents will create a décor that is synonymous with relaxation.

More formal aspirations 

For a more formal style, in a dining room for example, opt for darker neutral tones, such as deep charcoal or heavier browns to help reflect a more official and ceremonial space. Lift the formalness of the décor somewhat by placing lighter-coloured accents and furnishings around the room. For example, white cushions and beige rugs set against a palette of darker neutral colours will help ease the formality of a room and make it appear ‘warmer’ and more personable.

Decorating with neutral colours enables you to be more playful with pattern and texture. It also helps create a soothing, sophisticated and timeless design that looks both elegant and effortless.