A neutral colour is not just cream or black or beige. They are an example of a neutrals, but what most fail to realise is that any colour can be a neutral. Yes, that’s right! So you can have a neutral green (khaki), neutral yellow (ochre), neutral red (pink), neutral blue (Wedgewood blue) and so on. A neutral is any colour that has been muddied up, had some sludge thrown in there, a bit of chalk, a bit of dirt.
A neutral colour is the opposite of an accent or “loud” colour. It does not “pop” out or grab your attention and is a softer version of a bright colour. For example red, orange or blue or any colour that attracts your eye easily. Go to your wardrobe and give it a quick scan- the colours that grab your attention are the accent/pop/loud colours, the rests are probably neutrals. Not so hard huh?
So, how do you use neutrals in a colour scheme? They make a good base to pop your favourite accents on. If your favourite colour is navy or bright blue, then you might to warm it up with a cream. (Blue is a ‘cool’ colour and cream is a white that has had yellow added to it) Alternatively you may like yellows- this is all good until you are sitting in a very hot room on a summers day and are surrounded by bright yellow. Nothing mellow-yellow about that, so off set it with a subtle blue grey and that will give you the balance. Save the bright full on yellow for the accent colour in accessories. You also don’t need to use exactly the same neutral colour throughout the house. Use varying depths and shades of the same colour, or something less sludgy in different rooms to suit its aspect and light. This makes for an interesting scheme that flows through the house without it being boring and beige. For example, it is good to use a double/stronger/deeper neutral in rooms where you want to be cocooned – studies, dining rooms, or in rooms that are on the cool side (south side in New Zealand) of the house that get no sun. Alternatively on the warmer (Northern in NZ) side of the house, go for the slightly cooler shades and lighter tones, so things feel light and airy.
So get into neutral but do not forget to beef up the textures. This adds the interest in a neutral scheme. The inspiring pictures are from Lonny magazine of Jo Malone’s new headquarters. The beautiful mouldings did not need too much colour to set them off – in fact they are texture itself and the designer, Rose Uniacke has kept the rest of the decoration beautiful but minimal so they come to the fore. There are other elements of texture added too – bare wooden floors, the glorious chandelier and even logs in the fire place. I bet the place smells as gorgeous as it looks too!