Who said that neutral is boring! Over the last couple years, we've seen the rapid return of natural, earthy tones to our home interiors. But what are the do's and don'ts of styling a neutral room? These 7 rules are here to help you elevate your interior style.
firstly, What are neutral colours?
The definition of neutral colours, in the context of interior design, means to be without colour. Crazy, I know!
White, ivory, beige, brown, grey and black are the main hues to think about. Although neutrals are said to be without colour, they do have undertones (cool and warm) and you do have to pay attention to them. Find out why further below.
@no.sixty.eight's living room is a gorgeous example of a cooler colour palette. Shannen turned her house into a home after completing an extensive renovation for the whole family. Using black accessories and silver metals, she creates contrast against the neutral tones. See another example from her home later on.
1. Using the same colour palette
Its important to know that all colours have undertones, even your skin!
Warm undertones have hints of orange, yellow or red. Cool undertones will have hints of blue, green and purple. Using the same tonal palette throughout will create fluidity and harmony.
Neutrals are much easier to match than bolder colours. Using darker and lighter shades of the same tonal family, breaks up the bland for a more lively presence.
2. Texture, texture and more texture!
Texture is the main factor of a successful neutral room. The more, the better! (this is also where Sharnelle Ashleigh Handmade Knits comes into play)
Using a diverse range of materials is the one tool you should use in any interior style. It stops the room from looking monotonous and fascinates the eye. There are a handful of materials you should consider displaying.
Linen, caning, sheepskins, boucle, rattan, and chunky knits are some of the popular choices. The best way is to add texture is to use them decoratively. Cushions, blankets, rugs, accent chairs, and other accessories are the most cost-effective. Plus, they're simple to add!
pampas wall feature
@houseofyooni proves that sometimes a bit of DIY is needed when you want a unique showstopper for your home. You can't purchase this look from the high street! The multitude of textures from the pampas cloud, sideboard, and vases, give this area the WOW factor. See how Helena created the look on her Instagram highlights.
3. the smart way to use white
White has been historically used as the blank canvas for houses. As the popularity of new build homes rise, we have even more control of the interior style we want to achieve. But there is a smart way to use whites in a neutral room.
@edwardian_love's home renovation has outdone itself over the last two years. Esin's four-poster bed and stunning chandelier are the statement pieces that demand attention. The walls have low panelling to add the lift the room needs. Additionally, she has smartly paired the white with dark flooring to make the walls stand out even more. Simply elegant!
Yes, white can make a room look lighter, airy, and bigger. But, using too much white can have its disadvantages. It can make a room look incredibly flat, empty and bland. Furthermore, it can feel like someone was let loose with a tin of Dulux trade 'Brilliant White'. If you're sticking to one colour, break up the blank page with panelling, mirrors or wall art.
4. Metals and woods
The use of metals in the home is beneficial to neutral styling. Add gold/brass for warmer colour palettes and silver/chrome for cooler tones. Adopting these metals to handles, light fittings, switches, and smaller decor make a significant difference. Metals can also be another form of texture because it breaks up the same use of colours and gives you a luxurious look.
Natural woods are also effective for creating textural interest, bringing a sense of nature and tranquillity. Try using a mixture of wood types in your home, but still remember to match the tones (cool or warm).
The popularity of home interiors has noticeably surged over the last few years. More and more high street stores like Dunelm, Next and Homesense respond quickly to new trends and create decor at more affordable prices.
Many years ago, you would need to look in boutique/high-end stores to find unique decor. Although many independent stores now offer excellent examples of on-trend items to satisfy your interior needs and new businesses are arising each day.
5. Using unusual shapes
Don't be a square. Be round, rectangular or even odd! Shapes are the one suggestion that people don't think about but don't fear going outside the box. Literally.
Unusual shapes command your attention and add some excitement to your interiors. We've seen the rise in odd-shaped vases and small ornaments in high street stores, but @homemadeofstone had something else in mind...
a modern home
footstool of dreams
Abigayle @homemadeofstone has designed a remarkable example of a modern neutral home. The bouclé footstool is an excellent addition to her space, and its contemporary form is something to admire. She is passionate about interior design and has worked within the industry for over five years.
Abigayle shares her opinion on neutral interiors below.
"Beige definitely doesn’t have to be boring. By introducing the use of multiple textures, materials and shapes into a space you can quite easily add depth and interesting details which will be sure to hold a gaze. If you want your room to look inviting, warm and cosy, then simply add curves to it. I have chosen to mix varying textures and weights to create a well-defined balance of curves that share a similar design language but aim to keep the eye moving and intrigued. This not only allowed me to zone my open plan area but it also helped soften what was originally quite a linear and sharp space."
6. Don’t be afraid of black
A common misconception is black will make a room too dark. Black is part of the neutral colour scale and shouldn't be ignored. Just because the shade is darker doesn't make it less neutral. Instead, it showcases a lot more depth than you think.
The most experienced interior designers say you should use 10% black and 90% neutral colours in your room. And, finding the correct balance enhances your room by adding the contrast it needs.
The perfect balance
Shannen's sensational 'shelfie' (try saying that ten times over) displays the correct balance of black in her home. @no.sixty.eight continues her use of black throughout the space, and she uses an array of decorative accessories to achieve the classic neutral look.
7. Add a pop of colour
Having a neutral room doesn't necessarily mean that you can't add some colour. Using complementing colours are the last step to elevating your neutral interiors.
A splash of navy
The dining room of @houseofyooni certainly shows how the use of colour enhances your space. The navy dining chairs stand out just enough to attract your attention.
Helena has shown us an impeccable example of how bold colours can work well with neutrals. Check out her sunroom on Instagram too. It also displays alluring pop of colour!
If you aren't a fan of bold and bright, try using lighter pastel shades that will complement your chosen colour palette. Adding the pops of colour to a small number of accessories will make a subtle difference.
Generally, people incorporate colour by using the natural green shades in plants to add those finishing touches. If you find it hard to keep the real plants alive (like I do), there is a growing demand for faux plants. IKEA have a great selection that will create the same effect as the real thing. No watering required!
If you follow all (or most) of these rules on neutral interiors, it will help you create the look you're trying to achieve. Lastly, always remember to inject some of your personality into the decor. Your home can't come to life without it!
I hope you enjoyed my first interior blog post
I want to say an enormous thank you to every Instagram account that let me feature their homes in this blog. It wouldn’t have been possible without you, Sharnelle x