After the larger-than-life brights of S/S15, there may be a tendency to dismiss neutrals as cold and washed out; an unwelcome reminder of the bitter months ahead.
But pale doesn’t mean uninteresting, as the fruits of this season’s hottest trend demonstrate.
Given the right framework, creating a beautiful, attention-grabbing and warm neutral interior design scheme couldn’t be easier – and, dare I say it, more exciting.
To make life even easier, many of the trends that have carried over from spring and summer make the perfect accompaniment to this season’s neutrals.
Think of A/W as S/S’s sophisticated older sibling, with Scandinavian chic, pastels and nature-inspired decoration toned down for a simple and streamlined finish with a subtle rustic touch.
Here are five of the most important elements you should include to take your scheme from austere to alluring.
5 Essential Features of a Warm Neutral Interior Design Scheme
The most important step in achieving that cosy, lived-in look in a space with a toned-down palette is to let the textures do the talking. As Nicholas Roche of Roche Bobois puts it, ‘Today we want “to see” comfort; a sofa’s appearance should make me want to sit on it.’ Contrast tactile faux furs, cable knits and rattans against simple furniture with clean lines and understated upholstery to make them come into their own.
- Natural materials
Who’d have thought a white kitchen could look so warm and inviting? Enter the dream team: rustic, mid-tone wood paired with distressed buttermilk white. Along with the farmhouse dresser, casually stacked blankets and tantalising spread of baked goods, this perfect partnership of dining furniture and decor forms the perfect antidote to those chilly winter mornings.
- Barely-there colours
A neutral interior design scheme doesn’t have to be devoid of colour altogether. While soft greys, blacks, whites, beiges and browns might be the order of the day, there’s nothing to say that you can’t play around with a few touches of coral, mint, or grape, or even a cheeky flash of copper or bronze. Just keep your colours very pale and few and far between to prevent them from overwhelming the neturals.
- Understated patterns
Following a similar pattern to that of colour palettes, last season’s bold geometrics are giving way to toned-down designs intended to complement a scheme rather than overwhelming it. Geometrics still partner well with neturals, but they should be calmer and subtler in terms of colour.
- Leafy plants
There’s nothing quite like a plant or two to prevent a neutral colour scheme from looking spartan. In a continuation of the trend for blurring the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, plants are being displayed in increasingly unusual ways to add colour and interest to modern interiors. They look particularly effective when contrasted against the hard lines and abstemious decor of an industrial or Scandinavian-style scheme, adding femininity and Zen-like calm.