Good Old Neutrals

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Sometimes called your “non-colours,” as they are not on the colour wheel.

When it comes to decorating, these are normally accepted as being greys, browns, beiges, greys, creams, off-whites etc.
Many of these neutrals are found in nature and in natural
products, linen, wool, stone, wood – hence some call them Natural Neutrals.


All schemes need some neutral colours to act as contrasts or links.
Often these are chosen for ceiling or paintwork,
as the background to a wall covering or fabric, for the filed tiles or for the flooring.


Neutrals need not to be used in this way – they can form an integral part of the scheme,
or be used on their own to create a very restrained, refreshing mood. In the main, neutrals create cool, calm effect, but schemes based on black and white can be stimulating.

Consequently neutrals can be warm or cool, depending on the original hue.

Light or Bright?

While light colours can be used to “open up” a small room and make it seem less confining, it sometimes works to accept the room’s limitations and to decorate it in a jewel-like colour in compensation for lack of space. Where natural light levels are low, strong colour intensifies and becomes richer. Brighter colours in areas that are not used too frequently, such as halls, stairs and landings, can link a house together.
In light, spacious rooms use light colours to emphasise this – pastels or subtle neutrals can be very interesting.

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It is important to remember that matt finishes absorb light, while shiny gloss finish will reflect light.


Bright, deep colours will look twice as bold over large areas,
and strong pattern even stronger.
Small designs fade into insignificance over a large area,
merely looking textured and swirling patterns
will disguise form and angular contours.

Stripes and checks are timeless and mix with most styles.
They should, however, be kept in proportion to the size of the room in which they are used.
Pale stripes with a white background will look fresh and sunny, while strong,
deep-coloured stripes look rich and sophisticated.


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