Neutrals are a failsafe option when it comes to home renovation and quick paint jobs – but there's no reason why they shouldn't be just as creative and exciting as more alternative, brighter tones. Plus, they make a great backdrop for any special antique pieces you might have. Here are a few ways of incorporating neutral paint colours into your design without compromising on vibrancy and artistic expression.
How to decorate with neutral paint colours
Combine soft hues of plaster pink and heather
‘Heart Wood’, Dulux’s 2018 colour of the year (seen on the top left-hand plaster rosette on the piece of wood) is an excellent starting point for this palette. Combine soft hues of plaster pink and heather to create a setting that brings out the character and warmth of antique wood.
'Seen on the far-left plaster decoration, "Nimbus" is a versatile colour that promises to sit beautifully against a wide variety of tones and materials,' says Helen Shaw, marketing director of Benjamin Moore UK.
Use complementary shades to frame the space
Use a complementary shade of paint to create drama in unexpected places, such as a through room return wall (seen to the left), which here frames the living space. Antique collections of gilt frames, mirrors and paintings are given an instant contemporary lift with the chalky, fresh colour scheme.
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'Intense and intimate, the "Plum Tree" shade of paint by Mylands adds a touch of luxury in subtle, as here, or statement form', says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands.
Add textures and darker hues to add points of focus
The gentle surface patterns influenced by nature allow mid-century German porcelain to shine. Splashes of soft black, provided by sculptural pieces of English pottery, break up the sea of pink and add points of focus.
Use black ceramics
Black 1960s ceramics look elegant when displayed against rose-tinted hues. Reclaimed tiles can be used as trivets or decoration in their own right.
Make a raw plaster wall a feature
Consider a raw plaster wall as a means of showing off antique textiles in varying finishes and styles. Weave in a bold accent colour, such as indigo, into lampshades and soft furnishings to create vivid points of interest.
Incorporate salvaged pieces to add texture
Simple two-tone paint combinations make architectural salvaged pieces sing. An old door makes a wonderfully rustic headboard, and antique travertine tiles are reinvented into a sturdy yet impressive bedside table. A hint of indigo on the plain lighting flex adds a pleasingly modern twist.
'The range of "China Clay" shades by Little Greene provides the perfect backdrop to display antiques and treasures, due to the warm and gentle nature of its pigments,' says David Mottershead, managing director of Little Greene.
Decorate with glassware in a variety of colours
The beautiful patina of delicate, ancient Roman glassware is highlighted by the gentle blush tones of the cupboard and wall.
Photographs: Katya De Grunwald
Styling: Ali Attenborough