5 top tips for working with neutrals

Ban the beige, said a designer that is best known for her love of colour (we won't name anyone here!). And in principle, I would agree. In the context of interior design, beige is one of the neutrals, together with ivory, taupe, black, grey and shades of white. Called neutral for their lack of colour, they are great for layering and for creating a harmonious and calming decor in homes.

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Shell, Mist, Lily, paint by Neptune, available here.

I asked the team at interiors design studio Sims Hilditch to share their top tips for working with neutrals. Here's what they had to say.

They said:

"If using the words 'neutrals' or ‘beige’ is off-putting, there are better ways of describing the colour which are way more appealing: latte, coffee, almond, raffia... all these tones can be layered to create something rich and interesting. See some top tips for working with a Neutral colour scheme."

1. Architectural details

Always start by looking at the interior architecture: we often use beautiful natural materials like limestone, white washed oak and marble that have an innate sense of quality and a richness which creates the canvas for the furniture and decoration.

Below: a rare and ambitious project that sought to transform a redundant farm, nestled in a pretty valley, into a stunning classical home. Bath Country House designed by Sims Hilditch.

2. Add soft elements of colour for sophistication

When using neutral colours, it’s so important to have a few elements of colour which really enrich the room so the result is cohesive, sophisticated and restful.

Above: Products from Neptune Home are perfect for this type of decor. Below: A Georgian apartment renovated in the city of Bath.

3. Pair with natural textures

Soft neutral colours should be paired with natural textures such as velvets and silks to create layers of luxury and comfort throughout.

Below, scutter cushions and throws from Neptune Home.

Above: New Forest Manor House. This beautiful home is a fine example of late Victorian architecture. Designed by Sims Hilditch.

4. Layer fabrics

Natural fabrics should also be considered and are in a league of their own in this regard. From the cosiness of wool to the depth of woven linens and the light-loving qualities of velvet and silk, this is where a home’s character is defined.

When working with a neutral colour palette, layering different fabrics makes all the difference in bringing the room to life.

5. Combine with bold colours for drama

This is not to say that there is no place for bold colour like splashes of reds, oranges or even bright green. Keep bolder colour to accessories or plants, which can be easily updated as yours tastes change or if you want to refresh your look.

So what do you think? Are you a fan of neutrals ? Is this calming palette 'speaking' to you? Would you layer greys and beiges or add some bold splashes of colour as well?

All photography courtesy of Sims Hilditch and Neptune Home.

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