Even if you’re not new to neutrals and love everything clean and serene, chances are you’re at your most creative come summer – and looking for ways to buff up your beige and freshen those fawn floors.
“Light neutrals are always popular during summer months, as we enjoy longer days and want to instil a sense of relaxation into our homes, reminding us of holiday travels,” says Tara Thallon, co-founder of Bound Concept, a new online modern design store offering a curated range of ‘objects of desire’ from emerging designers.
“To avoid neutrals looking too flat, mix in tactile pieces to bring rich texture and visual interest. Think hand-made, imperfect ceramics with rough surfaces and accessories with strong, interesting silhouettes that will draw attention,” suggests Thallon.
To further your sense of calm, consider introducing natural materials alongside neutrals. “Jutes, rattans, light woods – all hint towards nature and have calming, natural tones to complement neutral surroundings,” adds Thallon.
Burst of colour
If you’re not sure where to start, Jenna Choate, co-founder of Interior Fox, says working with cream, grey and taupe shades will allow you to create a base that’s easy to build upon, depending on the season or mood.
“Add in bursts of vibrant colour during the summer months, or sumptuous and earthy colours during the winter,” suggests Choate.
“Find a colour that you feel drawn to the most. If you’re stuck for inspiration, have a look in your wardrobe to see what colours you naturally gravitate towards,” Choate adds.
“We find green and blue are a winning combination, they reflect the colours you’d find outside and work perfectly with a neutral base. Whatever colour you choose, introduce it through soft furnishings, such as cushions, throws, and rugs.
“For a look that feels effortless, steer away from using the exact colour and instead opt for a tonal look.”
As well as adding texture, creating interest through natural materials, such as decorative seashells or beach-themed decos, channels holiday vibes.
As Choate points out: “These materials are perfect for summer as they give a relaxed, lived-in feeling that transports you somewhere warm, like the coast.”
To build on those soft furnishings, a fresh lick of paint is one of the easiest ways to bring a new lease of life into a room.
“To create contrast, add in wooden cladding vertically,” suggests Choate. “This look is a contemporary take on the panelling trend. Complete with a curation of art that reflects your style, and finish with a mix of clashing cushions on the sofa.”
Flooring can be given some new neutrals treatment too, especially if you’re looking for a significant revamp.
Jemma Dayman, carpet and rugs buyer for Carpetright, says choosing a light and bright neutral shade for your floors, whether soft beige carpets or marble effect vinyl, ensures your room feels spacious and airy – making it the perfect choice for smaller spaces.
“Pairing neutral tones with natural materials like rattan and raw woods, adds depth to your scheme whilst helping bring the outside in, for an additional summery feel,” says Dayman.
“If you’re looking to tone down bolder themes, pairing throws and lighting with neutral flooring will ensure the room feels considered, rather than overpowering.”
“Sophisticated and contemporary, soft summery neutral tones are the perfect base for an understated decor,” Dayman continues. “Enhancing natural light and brightening darker rooms, these versatile yet complementary shades will emanate warmth and unify existing colour schemes, creating a harmonious and relaxing atmosphere.”
Tactile to the touch, texture is a word that comes up a lot in the world of neutral interiors. And if you’re starting out on your jute journey or pale palette, to echo your love of pared-back simplicity, in the same vein as ‘more is more’, you can never have too much texture.
“When decorating with neutrals, texture is key,” says Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company.
“I like natural elements and lots of texture: weathered wood, slubby linens or marbled slate, all of which connect us back to nature and contrast well with crisp china and glassware, adding interest.”