There are generally two kettles of fish when it comes to an individual style – those who relish colour and throw pops of bold hues into their home and wardrobe without second thought, and those drawn to a paired-down, more understated look with neutrals.
Quite often, anyone with an eclectic spectrum of colour in their life can find neutrals dull or lacking in personality.
But there are sure-fire ways to mix neutrals and create a look that is interesting, timeless and beautiful (it’s no wonder some of the UK’s most successful Interior Designers have a signature neutral style, à la Kelly Hoppen and Sophie Paterson).
I share with you my top tips for getting the paired-down look perfectly balanced:
T E X T U R E
In the absence of bold colour, texture is key when working with a neutral colour palette. Mixing an eclectic range of materials will create beautiful contrast in your home and draw the eye in.
Think glass and leather, ceramic and linen, metal and suede, wood and stone. Then, think about the texture or finish attributed to those materials, such as hard, soft, grainy, smooth, rough.
Keep a mental list of the finishes you like when creating a composition of accessories or when styling a space, to ensure the perfect balance of contrast.
50 S H A D E S O F G R E Y
Neutrals are more than just boring beige. The key to adding dimension and depth with a neutral palette is to think tonal. All you need to do is look at a colour chart to get an idea of the variety of grey, taupe and white shades out there!
Greys can be warm or cool; taupe can have pink or grey undertones giving off completely different looks, and whites can range from icy to creamy in tone. Keep this in mind when choosing neutral pieces for your home.
If the variety of shades is a bit overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, decide on a base of either cool neutrals or warm neutrals and go from there.
P R O P O R T I O N & B A L A N C E
Size and shape need to be considered in creating a well-proportioned and balanced space, whether you’re designing a living room or styling a console table.
Find your focal point and work from there, as this will dictate the scale and size of all items in the room.
For example, if your focal point is a large living room wall, place a large artwork with lighting and accessories that are varying in size, but not to small or they will be lost amongst the larger items.
“Less in more” with styling when you have large, statement pieces elsewhere in the space.
When it comes to styling a smaller composition of neutral accessories, the key to getting understated just right is to think about what to mix up and what to keep consistent.
For example, if you have 3 vases in the centre of a coffee table, keep the colour and tone consistent across all 3, but play with height and width.
Or, opt for 3 bowls that are the same size and shape, but contrasting in texture or finish.
As you may have also picked up, 3 (or any odd number for that matter, depending on the size of your surface) is the magic number for balancing contrasting items.
Styling with neutrals really is about a balance of texture, tone and proportion, and finding the perfect marriage between these elements. When considered together, you can create a look that is not only striking, but both original and timeless.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of these tips and if you have any questions on your own project styling with a neutral palette.
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