Rethinking Neutrals: How to Use Neutral Colors in Your Interior Design
“Neutral colors don’t have to be boring,” says Shelley Little, Freshome. “In fact, a calm, neutral backdrop allows you to bring out some pretty bold elements into your design that may otherwise look garish”
Boring. Blah. Underwhelming. When most of us think of neutral colors, these are the words that immediately come to mind. Well, newsflash! “Neutral colors don’t have to be boring,” says Shelley Little, Freshome. “In fact, a calm, neutral backdrop allows you to bring out some pretty bold elements into your design that may otherwise look garish”
Why Neutral Colors are a Great Choice
The Illusion of Space
Color plays an important role in interior design and the right color can make or break a room. Take small spaces, for example. A dark, bold color may seem like a good idea, giving your room a newfound visual appeal. However, dark colors can make a room seem, well, darker. This can also make a room appear smaller. Neutral colors, meanwhile, “allow a room to seem larger, more airy, clean and welcoming,” explains Barb Schwarz, home stager.
Neutrals Never Go Out of Style
“Have you ever painted a room in a bold, bodacious color?” asks Little. “If you did, how long did it take for you to pick up the paint brush again, covering the once-loved color with something more calm?” The fact is that trendy colors come and go, but neutrals never go out of style. That’s one reason real estate agents always advise homeowners to paint their walls a nice neutral before putting their house on the market. Neutral colors have a much broader appeal.
Neutral Colors Transcend Design Styles
“Here is the great thing about neutral colors—they literally work with any style,” says Little. Whether you are modern, traditional, eclectic, or love rustic country charm— a neutral backdrop is ideal for you.”
How to Use Neutrals in Your Interior Design
There are two basic ways to incorporate neutrals into your decor: the all-neutral room or using neutral as a backdrop. Both design choices provide stunning, though very different results. “For an all-neutral room, layering different hues of the same color can create an elegant, clean look,” says Debbie Mattens, The Guest Room Furniture & Design. When using neutral as a backdrop, you typically start with a neutral wall color and work from there.
“With a neutral background, your personal tastes can come to the forefront, allowing you to show-off all your cool design choices and personal style,” says Little. Neutral walls provide much more color flexibility throughout the rest of the design process, allowing for bold color pops elsewhere – such as furniture, artwork, rugs, etc.
“Neutrals have attributes that allow for more flexibility and subtlety than their primary red and blue counterparts,” says Laura Muller, principal for Four Point Design Build Inc. “This subtlety provides the perfect backdrop for other color stories and creates a consistent thread throughout the home.”
There are warm neutrals (black, brown, tan, and gold) and cool neutrals (white, ivory, silver, and gray), explains Muller. Either group can provide tranquility and unity to a space, however it is important to maintain balance – keeping warm with warm and cool with cool.
Window treatments play a very important role in interior design and can be utilized in a number of different ways. For starters, you can use your window treatments to help infuse color into a room. With neutral walls, you can afford to go a bit bolder with your window treatments. “Bring in one boldly colored accessory. It’s often an easier way to incorporate bold color without going over the top or without making a costly mistake,” says Candice Olson, HGTV. However, if you want to stick with neutral window treatments, you still have some options to help bring out your own personal style:
Texture: “Accessories, art, window treatments, rugs and upholstery are all excellent ways to inject texture into a space,” says Muller. Our Woven Wood Shades add texture, intrigue, and sophistication to any room.
Pattern: “Patterns can take a neutral room to new heights,” says Muller. Keep the range of colors similar, but incorporate different patterns into your interior to really take your design to the next level. Our Roller Shades provide an excellent opportunity to include subtle pattern in your design.
Layering: Layering is a great way to add a little excitement to a neutral palette, says Muller. And your window treatments provide the perfect opportunity. You can layer blinds or shades with curtain, providing a nice layering of colors, patterns, and textures.