50 Shades of Beige…

50 Shades Of Beige…that’s right, we’re wildly obsessed with getting back to a natural state with the trending colour palette of taupe, ecru, stone, eggshell, chalk, sand…(and another 44 seductively subdued neutral hues). Domayne’s Product Development/Visual Merchandising Manager, Sue Kropp shares her expertise on how to decorate your interior with the subtle warmth and sophisticated allure of neutrals.

What colours constitute a neutral palette?
Whites, creams, light taupes – brown, soft grey – warm grey…

Does neutral mean no colour?
In terms of being politically correct, I guess it does – neutrals can be interpreted so many ways. You can often see very soft pinks and blues used in a neutral colour scheme and yet this look is still defined as neutral. I like to think of neutral in terms of whites and creams with brown tones coming through in natural textures such as cane chairs, pots, and so on.

How do I decorate with neutrals and still add character and flair to my decor?
The thing I really love about a neutral scheme is the fact it is so timeless and allows an amazing amount of flexibility with change. Texture can really be the key to success when decorating with neutrals. There are so many natural fibres and applications that add dimension to a natural scheme. Colour is not the only way to add drama to a room. Neutral schemes can look amazing when there is a combination of different neutral fabrics, fibres and textures. The inclusion of greenery can also play a very important part as it tends to lift the space, and the fresh look of a palm or succulent breathes life into the area.

Natural timbers make a statement in a neutral scheme, especially dark wenge finishes that add warmth and provide an amazing contrast to stark whites.

What kind of artworks work well with this trend?
A lot of designers love to add a pop of colour to a neutral scheme through the use of artwork. For me, I love to see really interesting pieces used as artwork in a neutral scheme. Things like old Indian doors, African masks, metal sculptures and heavily textured canvas paintings can all look amazing and work to add real dimension to a room. There has been a trend in recent years to use bus rolls in a neutral scheme, as the monochromatic print of a bus roll really pops in a neutral room.

Can I still decorate with patterns or are these a no-no?
Pattern plays a very important part when decorating with a neutral palette, as patterns and textures add warmth and movement. If a neutral palette has no pattern or texture it tends to lack character and may feel a little cold.

Natural hessians, water hyacinth, bamboo and cane can add a feeling of both pattern and texture, and the natural properties of these products are a perfect mesh with natural colours. Floor finishes such as travertine and marble which can often be key components in a neutral room and add pattern in a subtle manner..

How do metallics fit into this look?
Metallics look great in a neutral scheme… Pewter and Brass pieces often add warmth, you do not require a lot but pewter or brass framed mirrors or decorator pcs will help add another texture and dimension to the space. Mirrored furniture can also be another great hero piece to add to a neutral scheme, the reflective finish of mirror always looks great when combined with neutrals.