How to decorate with neutrals

We asked the colour experts to share their favourite neutral schemes.

Choosing a neutral palette to define your interior scheme doesn’t mean the look should be boring or bland; in fact, the latest neutrals are about delivering layers and complexity. Taubmans ambassador and interior designer Shaynna Blaze says that neutrals are equally capable of bringing edge and sophistication as warmth and comfort, pointing to Taubmans Windy Beach as the perfect example: “It’s a colour that makes a traditional room feel modern and a minimal contemporary space feel less stark,” she explains. This versatility is what is making ‘the new neutrals’ the go-to palette for interior designers, cementing their place in Australian homes for the next decade. Look out for a host of new grey-based shades, hints of green and even gentle mauves, adding to some tried-and-true classics. Here, we remove the guesswork by sharing the experts’ hand-selected neutral schemes.

Scheme 1: Complex. This elegant living room embodies a warm neutral scheme.

Scheme 1: Complex.

“Try using Woodsmoke on walls, Snow White on the ceiling and Lambswool on trims,” suggests Melanie Stevenson of Porter’s Paints. “Woodsmoke is a complex grey, not a cool grey, that has undertones of yellow, violet and magenta. Lambswool is lighter, a white with a grey tone that teams and balances beautifully with Woodsmoke. Snow White is really an artist’s white. Very crisp and clean.”

“For a slightly warmer grey/neutral combination, my palette will provide an elegant natural scheme with some warmth, however still creating an adaptable palette that schemes well with many other colours in accessories,” says Andrea Lucena-Orr, Dulux. Her choices: Silkwort, Dieskau and Lexicon Half, all Dulux.

Scheme 2: Soft. Relaxed grey neutrals bring a cosy den-like feel to bedrooms.

Scheme 2: Soft.

“For a light, soft scheme, use Athens on the main walls and Scandinavian Grey and Sheer Granite as accent colours for doors and feature walls,” recommends Sarah Stephenson of Wattyl. “For a bolder look go darker on the main walls and trim with the lighter colour. Contrasting the light and dark in similar amounts will create a dramatic, dynamic space.”

Look 3: Contrast. A bold of contrasting colour elevates a neutral scheme.

Look 3: Contrast.

“Working with similar undertones, these greys vary in shade, therefore create a subtle and soft colour scheme,” advises Andrea Lucena-Orr of Dulux. “If you want to add a contrasting colour Western Myall will work with any of these softer greys.”

“Using Violet Verbena as a neutral in quarter strength lends it to a strong palette with contrast tones in greys like Ship Shape and Black Flame. This works well with oak timber contrasts and Crisp White trims,” says Taubmans ambassador Shaynna Blaze.

Haymes’ Wendy Rennie points to Sense, Marble Mist and Intrigue from the Haymes palette. “The perfect neutrals combination is grey, white and black,” she says. “This combination gives the ideal contrast between light and mid-tone colours to accentuate the features of the space. The black acts as the focal point of the combination, adding statement and punch to the overall scheme.”

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