In terms of colour, neutral means void of hue. Simply put, a scale of white to black, however; in today’s interior design, neutral is typically referred to as ‘earth tones’ - soft hues consisting of whites, grays, creams, taupe, ivory, sometimes even pastels. Neutral colours create a calming atmosphere while allowing you to showcase special design accents within your home. For example, if you are in a space with a neutral scheme, your eye will move gracefully around the room picking up the textures and décor. Alternatively, if you are in a space that has say a bright, red wall, it completely takes the focus off everything else in the room as that one wall comes to the fore-front.
Will a neutral scheme work in my home?
Whether you have a contemporary setting or a more traditional space, a neutral palette complements every style. You can dictate the style you are trying to achieve through your furniture, room accents, décor, and artwork. Keeping a neutral base allows you to refresh a space without incurring the expense or time of a complete renovation or redesign. For my projects, I tend to spec from the Off-White Collection by Benjamin Moore. Natural Wicker or Elephant Tusk are a couple of shades I have used for a warmer, more traditional space while Gray Owl or Cloud Cover work better for a cooler, more modern feel. If you are looking for a more dramatic atmosphere, play with darker, neutral accents - chocolate browns, charcoal grays, etc. First choose which tone that will best complement your home and surroundings – gray, cream, beige, white – and try to stick to shades that are similar. For example, if beige best suits your space, try to stay within the warm tones up to chocolate brown for walls, floors, furniture, and anything else that would be a large undertaking to change. If grays are the best option for your home, try to stick to that - going up to the deep charcoal grays for accents.
What if I want to add colour?
Have you ever painted a wall or an entire room a bright, bold colour and grown tired of it really quickly? If you want to add colour to your space, bring it in with the room accents and décor. Try having bright accent pillows, fresh flowers and vases, candles, throw blankets, or books and magazines so they are easily changed if you like to re-decorate on holidays or as the seasons change.
Will a neutral palette go out of style?
Quite simply, neutral is timeless and classic. As trends emerge such as bold colours or floral patterns for example, it is easy to add them to a neutral space through room accents or decor then change them out as you tire of them without having to redecorate the entire space.