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This article was originally posted on Making Space, a Substack penned by our Cofounder, Matteo Grand. Subscribe below to receive more content just like this.
Neutral paint colours have been a mainstay in interior design for decades, and for good reason. They provide a calming, soothing effect in a space, ultimately creating a blank canvas for any design aesthetic. They are the blueprint for modern design.
And even as maximalist styles take over our feeds and souls, that doesn’t mean the end for neutral paint; in fact, it might just propel it further. Because the onus is being put on colourful and playful furniture and materials, the walls sometimes have to take a step back and allow the rest to shine. Neutral colours can be perfect to bring contrast, light and shadow – without taking away from the more fantastical design we’re seeing everywhere.
Before we go on to discuss the best paints for neutral colours and how to use them, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly professional interiors content.
Black will always be the new black
As the world of interior design continues to evolve, one colour trend that has remained a classic and chic choice is black. While some may shy away from the bold and dramatic hue, black paint can add an elegant and sophisticated touch to any space, whether it be a bedroom, living room, or even a bathroom.
One of the many advantages of black paint is its versatility. It can be used in a variety of ways, from creating a statement wall to being the primary colour in a monochromatic design. Pairing black with other bold colours such as red or deep jewel tones can create a moody and sensual atmosphere, while pairing it with whites and pastels can add a touch of sophistication and modernity.
Moreover, black paint is the perfect way to add depth and contrast to a space. It can create a sense of intimacy in a large room, while also making a small room feel more substantial and impactful. Black paint can also create a seamless flow between rooms by tying in different design elements and creating a cohesive colour scheme.
But it’s not just about aesthetics—black paint can also have practical benefits. It can hide imperfections and create a smoother appearance on walls and ceilings, and it’s easy to maintain and clean.
When it comes to choosing the right black paint, it’s essential to consider the undertones. Some black paints have warm undertones, while others have cool undertones. For a warmer, cosier feel, choose a black paint with brown or red undertones. If you’re looking for a sleek, modern feel, choose a black paint with blue or grey undertones.
Grey can feel exciting with the right touch
If you're looking for a timeless and versatile colour that can transform any space, look no further than grey paint. This understated hue has become a popular choice among interior designers, as it can create a calm, sophisticated, and contemporary atmosphere in any room. In recent months and years, this colour has been phased out of fashion, but we think there are still ways this colour can feel fresh.
Why would we want to salvage grey from the passé bin? Well, firstly, it is an incredibly versatile colour. It can be paired with a variety of colours, textures, and patterns to create different moods and styles. For instance, pairing grey with bright or bold accent colours can create a lively and vibrant atmosphere, while pairing it with earthy or neutral tones can create a serene and calming environment.
Moreover, grey paint can add depth and dimension to any room. It can create a sense of space and light in a small room, while also adding warmth to a larger space. It can also complement different design elements such as natural wood, metallic accents, and stone textures, creating a cohesive and harmonious look.
Grey also adapts to different lighting conditions like nothing else. Unlike other colours that can appear different under various lighting, grey paint remains consistent and can create a neutral base that allows your other design elements to shine. As with any neutral base, the undertones are a MUST to master.
White will always have a place in our hearts
Designers, you’ll probably agree with us. Few colours are as classic and versatile as white. While some may think of white as a boring or sterile colour, it can actually create a fresh, clean, and timeless atmosphere in any room.
One of the most significant advantages of white paint is its ability to reflect light and create an open and airy feel. It can make a small room feel more substantial and more spacious and can emphasise feelings of relaxation and clear mindedness. White also serves as an excellent backdrop for other design elements, allowing artwork, furniture, and accessories to shine.
Moreover, white paint can create a cohesive and harmonious look throughout a home. It can tie together different design elements and create a sense of continuity and flow between rooms. It can also be paired with a variety of colours and textures to create different moods and styles, from a minimalist and modern look to a cosy and rustic feel.
White paint is also an excellent choice for those who want to see the cleanliness of their homes. White can be unforgiving to scuffs and minor imperfections, but it’s also easy to touch up and clean. Additionally, white paint doesn't fade or discolour over time, making it a reliable and long-lasting choice for any interior design project.
Beige is classic for a reason
If you're in the market for a paint colour that is both versatile and warm, look no further than beige. This timeless hue is neutral enough to complement a variety of interior design styles, while also adding warmth and cosiness to any room.
One of the benefits of beige paint is its ability to create a sense of depth in a room. This can make a small space feel larger, while also adding texture and interest to larger rooms. The warmth of beige also makes it a great choice for creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere, particularly in bedrooms and living spaces.
Another advantage of beige is its versatility when it comes to pairing with other colours and design elements. Beige can be paired with bright and bold colours to create a playful and energetic look, or with muted tones for a more sophisticated and calming feel. This adaptability makes beige a great choice for those projects for clients who want to switch up their interior design without having to change the entire colour scheme.
Beige is also an excellent choice for those who prefer low-maintenance design. It can hide minor imperfections and stains, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways. Win we say!
As we’ve mentioned before, undertones are essential for beige or neutral schemes. Depending on the level of warmth and the interplay of it with the rest of your scheme, the beige will feel like a contrasting or a supporting element. We recommend trying out swatches on the wall at different times of the day, with natural and artificial lighting, in order to figure out what beige is best for your next design.
Surprise! Sage green is de facto a neutral colour
Sage green has long been associated with natural and organic elements, but in recent years, its popularity and use by interior designers has made it a neutral staple (even if there’s colour). This versatile and soothing hue has the ability to create a calming and serene environment while complementing a variety of design styles and colours, acting more like a beige than a pink..
One of the reasons why sage green has become a popular neutral paint colour is its ability to blend seamlessly with other schemes and design elements. Unlike the traditional neutral colours we just mentioned, sage green has a unique character that adds depth and interest to any room. Its soft and subtle tone makes it a great backdrop for bold accents, and its calming quality allows other design elements to shine.
Another benefit of sage green as a neutral paint colour is its ability to bring the outdoors in. Its biophilic and organic character can add a touch of nature and tranquillity to any space, making it a perfect choice for bedrooms and living areas. Sage green can also complement other natural materials such as wood, stone, and textiles made from natural fibres, creating a harmonious and cohesive interior design. We’re obsessed!
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