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Neutrals – The Classic Colours Of Comfort

With every new interior design trend, a new colour takes the stage as the crowd favourite. But while bold colours have been locked in a never-ending battle for the popular vote, the soft, soothing hues that we know as ‘neutrals’ have quietly held their own. Neutral colours have never lost their position as interior design staples, because they serve as the building blocks of subtle sophistication. Bringing calm composure into living spaces, they comfort the eyes and allow them to rediscover the simple beauty of shape, texture, light and shade.

In the context of interior design, the term ‘neutral’ may be ascribed to the likes of white, cream, grey, beige, taupe, brown, and black. These hues have the tendency to retreat to the background and let other design elements take the stage. Neutral colours are by definition impartial to any specific tints in the colour spectrum. They can, however, take on warm or cool undertones, allowing designers to introduce character to living spaces without going overboard with colour.

Showcasing natural materials and finishes

Neutral colours have never vied for our attention, because they have a different purpose to serve in interior design. They are the backdrop that the bolder hues of the colour wheel need in order to make their presence felt. ‘Colourless’ in a manner of speaking, neutrals form the environs within which we can showcase our furniture, accents and accessories. They represent the subtle and simple charm of natural materials like wood and stone, and beautifully pair with these materials in any setting.

It is this association with wood and stone that is responsible for the popularity of ‘greige’, a colour composed of grey and beige. Inspired by rough-hewn rustic spaces and modernist wood-and-concrete interiors, greige is frequently seen in contemporary homes. Balancing the coolness of grey with the warmth of beige, it creates a rich, inviting hue that we have come to equate with soothing sophistication.

Bringing textures, shapes, and personal tastes to the forefront

Neutral colours naturally conform to layered, texturally rich spaces. Where brighter colours act as distractions, soft whites, creams, beiges and greys allow us to notice spatial configurations, furniture layouts, architectural elements and accessories. Something as simple as the weave of a throw rug, the curvature of a chair leg, or the texture of a stone cladding can take centerstage in a scheme of neutral interiors. This also explains why neutral colours have been used as default backdrops in practically every interior design style. They have successfully highlighted ornate embellishments in classical interiors, and augmented the clutter-free minimal spaces that became the norm at the close of the century.

Neutrals have an unmatched ability to showcase personal styles and preferences without asking for drastic measures in return. Supporting eclectic furniture choices and contrasting accents, and allowing for frequent layout changes, this gentle colour group is just as inseparable from the sense of ‘home’ as it is from timeless elegance.