Are Neutrals Out?

Neutrals are never out! A neutral is a color that has little or no decided color. Typical neutral colors include all of the colors between black and white. More universally, we tend to think of neutral colors as those that are soft and quiet and work well with almost all of the colors. Tans, beiges, off-whites and gray tones are generally regarded as all in the neutral category.

The great thing about neutral colors is that they are so open to accepting and working harmoniously with all of the colors. Neutrals make color friends easily. There are always new and exciting ways of thinking about design and decoration and fads will continue to come and go. There will always be the hot new must have color for the season and there will always be the color that is re-invented by pairing it with another unexpected color that we haven’t seen for awhile.

I am sure you have all noticed the now common pairing of aqua blue with a rich saturated chocolate brown. The colors are certainly not new, just the freshness of pairing of the 2 together. More recently, the new designer fabric books are sporting the dynamic combination of black and white. Additionally, the greys and silver tones are gaining popularity. Both the latter two trends are sticking close to neutral territory.

In design, I counsel very strongly that color choices for all major items should be made with a reserve that leans heavily on the side of timeless and tested. The aubergine sofa that seemed so perfect will undoubtedly lose its dynamism over time. The same appeal of the rich saturated purple could have been duplicated in toss pillows on a neutral sofa. When the purple becomes tiring, it is easy to toss the toss pillows in favor for your next favorite color. As long as the big pieces are timeless, you have the latitude to explore and dot your design landscape with objects that you are not forever married to because of the cost to obtain them.

Apart from always purchasing furniture items that are enduring in color and style, you should be careful to decide carefully on all of your other major purchases, like your flooring, appliances, countertops and cupboards. A kitchen in particular, is no place for whimsy or fancy. The kitchen demands a classic approach. Classic does not mean old fashioned or frumpy, classic means colors, styles and finishes that are timeless – choices that can be enjoyed over several years, over several age groups.

Design and re-design is expensive, and it can get even more expensive when poorly executed with bad choices. There is huge merit is wanting and creating a space that is uniquely your own and simultaneously a space that stands out from your neighbors. I argue that the creativity can come in the form of cleverly planned spaces, with beautifully appointed neutral selections that are then sprinkled with unique and perhaps bold colors in the form of accessories and artwork and even paint.

Neutrals are here to stay. Neutrals create the perfect backdrop for creativity and freedom of exploration in design. Wherever you are in the stage of design in your home – begin with solid choices and then let your ever-changing imagination free on your perfectly appointed and perfectly neutral canvas.

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