All of us have heard the term “neutral colours” at one time or another – it especially gets thrown around in the interior design- and architectural worlds quite a lot. But do you really know what defines neutral colours or why they are important?
If you’re under the impression that neutral colours are just brownish greys that you’re supposed to use if you don’t have an idea what you want your colour palette to look like, then consider this article just for you. Because you would be wrong! If this is what you feel about neutral colours, then we seriously need to take a few steps back.
So, let’s delve deeper into the world of neutrality and discover not only what neutral colours are, but also some of the benefits one can enjoy when it comes to decorating with neutral colours.
When speaking about colours, ‘neutral’ means ‘lacking or being with colour’. Unsaturated with colour, to be more precise.
But keep in mind that all neutral colours are still colours. Thus, a far better description would be something like “a hue that appears to be without colour.”
And by the way, the most basic neutral colours are: white, beige, brown, grey and black. And within each of these main neutrals exist entire worlds of thousands of little neutral hues: bagel brown, dove grey, eggshell white, etc.
As neutral colours have very little saturation, they make fantastic backgrounds for calming spaces. In a neutral-flavoured space, one’s eyes flow from one point to the next without the distraction of a singular colour.
Think of spaces meant for relaxation (like spas) and how many neutrals they use in their designs.
Regardless of whether you prefer modern designs to rustic ones (or Scandinavian to country), there is certainly a place for neutral colours in your décor. This is because neutrals provide a perfect decorating foundation or background, allowing you to add in layers or pops of other tones to create depth and character in a room.
Any colour (from shamrock green to taffy pink) will pop much more once placed amid neutrals.
Because of their subtlety, neutral tones benefit a space by encouraging the use of patterns and textures. And this is achieved without the end result being an eyesore or overly busy.
Just remember: the greater the contrast between your neutrals, the more busy a space will read. Therefore, white-and-black patterns will appear much more energetic than, for instance, beige-and-tan patterns.
Perhaps the most important advantage of decorating with neutral colours is their truly timeless appeal. As they will always be considered classic, not you or any trend will ever grow tired of them.
You can easily incorporate trendy and/or vibrant colours and prints into your décor whenever the urge strikes if your decoration foundation is based on neutral colours. Some homeowners and interior designers even consider neutrals as an investment that ensures a timeless interior.
Got a coastal colour palette in your living room? A hot-and-fiery one in your bedroom? Doesn’t matter – neutrals are more than welcome.
But keep in mind that neutrals themselves can ensure a warm or cool vibe. This versatility increases the usability of neutrals as a whole. All you need to do is identify the warmth or coolness that your space requires and choose your favourite neutral colours accordingly.
Basically, the more grey a neutral hue has, the cooler it will appear. That being said, neutrals in the brown and beige family will always appear warm and inviting.
Once you start accepting the positive style power of neutrals, your space’s design possibilities and potential will actually expand. Instead of being limited to one specific colour or scheme, neutrals open up vast opportunities and possibilities in every colour direction.
Who would have thought those avo-green bathrooms from the 70s would become severely outdated? But just because that trend was limited doesn’t mean the neutral one is. In fact, opting for neutral tones in your interior design will attract more potential buyers (if you were to sell) than bright, specific colours.
Neutral colours also increase the flow from room to room in a home, ensuring a softer and more visually pleasing ambience. This is something that the majority of homeowners crave (even subconsciously), meaning neutrals have a mass appeal across style, taste, and preferences.
With a neutral foundation, any space can undergo a renovation or touch-up with much less effort had that main colour palette been bright colours. Think about how much easier it is, for instance, to change your living room décor (rug, scatter cushions, window treatment) with off-white walls and beige sofas. Those new colours you want to bring into the space will complement the existing neutrals much easier.
In other words, decorating with neutral colours as a foundation is both time- and cost-effective. So, why not give it a go?
Aside from neutrals, What are the best calming colours for your home? Let’s find out…