In this article we will review decorating in neutral colours including the new neutrals such as dove grey and aubergine. Neutral usually means without colour. Neutral colours such as beige, ivory, taupe, black, grey, and white appear to be without colour, and yet in many applications they often have undertones of colour.
Be aware of these underlying tones as you match colours or choose paint. For example, beige might have an undertone of pink or tan or gold. White might be slightly ivory, yellow, bluish, or peachy.
The true neutrals
‘True’ neutrals are classified as the colours black, white, and grey (all the shades in between black and white ). Also called ‘non-colours’, they don't appear anywhere on the colour wheel. They are, essentially, a combination of all the colours in the spectrum.
Sometimes described as ‘every colour's friend’ and ‘the diplomats of decorating’, neutrals go with everything and clash with nothing. Essential in décor, they can be used to create a sense of visual relief in a strong colour scheme, or used alone to create a subtle, calming, monochromatic palette.
Neutrals are far from boring. Used together, black and white can create stunning visual contrast — without a drop of colour.
For a sophisticated, modern look, paint walls a crisp white, and fill the room with sleek black furnishings. To soften the look, add accents like pillows, fabrics, and other accessories, in varying shades of grey.
The new neutrals
Most of the colours in this room are within a narrow range of colour value, exemplified by the tones seen in the bedding. Pale gold, tan, and aubergine blend easily.
As enduring as the Earth itself, neutral schemes have been a feature of decorating for thousands of years. These timeless tones come from pigments used by the earliest artists such as ochre, charcoal, umber, and sienna, creating colours that are restful, soothing, and completely liveable.
In recent years the design community, breaking free of the constraints set by the ‘true’ neutral definition, has reclassified neutrals.
These ‘new’ neutrals are actually very low intensity colours, the most muted versions of colours on the colour wheel.
All colours are created from the three primaries — red, yellow and blue, so even though the ‘new’ neutrals have only the smallest hint of colour, they are still a tone of the three primaries.
Aubergine is replacing the reds and goes wonderfully with all beige, creams, greys, and browns.
Yellow-toned neutrals: Ranging from subtle creams to deep, golden browns, the yellow- toned neutrals are fresh and quietly uplifting.
Blue-toned neutrals: From ice blue or a hint of grey to smart charcoals to deep blue-blacks, the blue-toned neutrals offer quiet, unrestrained, elegance
How to use neutrals
Decorating with neutrals allows you the freedom to add other colours, patterns, and textures to your space, making the opportunities almost endless. Neutrals are a great choice for interiors because they are comfortable, yet elegant and understated. Their subtlety makes them versatile, simple to use, and very easy to live with.
Decorating a room with light, neutral shades, without much contrast, can help to make a small room appear much more spacious and airy. Using deeper neutrals for the main wall colour, or adding more contrast, can make a large room appear more intimate and cosy.
To avoid having an all-neutral scheme look bland, make sure to use a variety of different values (light to dark ) and different patterns and textures, to give the room visual interest.
Just as neutrals can calm a colourful scheme, colour can enliven a neutral scheme. Use colourful accents to bring unexpected punches of colour to a neutral room, or use colour to highlight an interesting architectural feature, or bring attention to a focal wall, in an otherwise neutral setting.
La Maison Chic Interior design www.lamaisonchic.ie
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