NEW NEU­TRAL S These colours are the big­gest trend in in­te­ri­ors

Mag­no­lia had its day a long time ago as a de­fault colour choice for walls, but white was al­ways right. No more! Michelle Ogun­de­hin tells us why tea rose, laven­der, mint and peach are the or­der of the day

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

Neu­trals are an es­sen­tial part of any

dec­o­ra­tive arse­nal, we need them as the sooth­ing salve to the colour of our lives and our­selves. Nev­er­the­less, it is a colour fam­ily that’s been some­what tainted by the hang­over of if- in- doubt- paint- it- beige and those abom­inable white-with-a-hint-of-hues. But those days are over. Now it’s time for pale yet in­ter­est­ing colours to reign as, I be­lieve, you’ll in­creas­ingly be see­ing tea rose, laven­der, mint, li­lac and palest peach emerg­ing as the nou­veau neu­trals du jour.

Ad­mit­tedly, these colours bring to mind a retro flavour, yet I’d sug­gest that this is no step back­wards as far as our homes are con­cerned. Rather, it’s a de­ci­sive move to­wards a more main­stream em­brac­ing of colour that re­flects not only a bur­geon­ing self-con­fi­dence in the way we dec­o­rate, but also an in­creas­ing de­sire to un­lock the restora­tive po­ten­tial of our homes.

It’s also the first hint of the in­evitable ac­tion-re­ac­tion pivot from the rich jewel tones and op­u­lence of The New Mod­ern, the big trend we dis­cussed a year ago — all me­tallics used with care­free aban­don along­side lus­trous stones, clash­ing pat­terns and luxe leather. But, be­cause the in­te­ri­ors trends pen­du­lum rarely swings from one ex­treme to an­other, we won’t go from some­thing so deep, dark and lush straight to taste­ful tau­pes and beiges. We stay, in­stead with The New Mod­ern look’s em­pha­sis on us­ing tex­ture and colour, but tone it down a few notches. Note: the ever-in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of vel­vet upholstery is a di­rect link be­tween these two in­te­ri­ors moods.

Cru­cially, these gen­tly colour­ful neu­tral shades are much sim­pler to work with than per­haps the strik­ing sap­phires and jades, ex­otic lac­quers and mar­bles of last year’s big trend. This is more about the use of ➤

paint, wallpaper and fab­ric, along­side ac­ces­sories, such as rugs, cush­ions and glass­ware that can be lay­ered with ex­ist­ing pieces, so it’s much more achiev­able. And that re­ally is the main point. This is a trend for us all to em­brace, not merely one to ob­serve po­litely from the side­lines while mar­vel­ling at other peo­ple’s avant-garde homes in the pages of mag­a­zines such as this one. It’s all about easy ways to add warmth and del­i­cacy to any home in or­der to cre­ate the com­fort­ing havens that we’re all crav­ing these days.

In­deed, com­fort­ing was a word used a lot by the trend fore­cast­ers and in­dus­try in­sid­ers, in­vited by Du­lux to join its team to de­ter­mine the brand’s 2018 Colour of the Year at its Global Aes­thetic Cen­tre in Am­s­ter­dam. In di­vin­ing this hue, ‘Heart Wood’, a shade de­scribed as ‘a warm, smoky neu­tral with a hint of heather’, they agreed first the mood of the mo­ment be­fore at­tempt­ing to en­gen­der a re­sponse in colour. Their con­clu­sion? ‘ We live in a world where we don’t know what the news will bring ev­ery day. Our usual sources of re­as­sur­ance can’t be re­lied upon. We are liv­ing in a time of un­pre­dictabil­ity.’ Thus, as Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford, Du­lux’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, puts it, ‘what we want is a re­turn to the fa­mil­iar, to cre­ate a sense of home as some­where safe and nur­tur­ing.’ As such, it makes sense that we’re in­stinc­tively pulled to­wards warm tones, blush pinks and mildly old-fash­ioned colours, as these are in­tu­itively re­as­sur­ing, calm­ing the mind and sooth­ing the senses. And it’s also why this trend has fast-for­warded straight to the high street, with new prod­ucts in pre­cisely these ‘new neu­trals’ be­ing seen in many of the big re­tail­ers spring/sum­mer 18 pre­views.

If you still have some con­cerns that these colours may look, dare I say, a touch fusty in your home, then rest as­sured, the cur­rent colour it­er­a­tions have been brought bang up to date with a big dol­lop of grey in them. In other words, think muted grown-up pas­tels, or more so­phis­ti­cated ver­sions of what­ever came to mind when you first pic­tured those retro names. Imag­ine shades redolent of milky ice-cream colours and the seafront mo­tels of 1950s Mi­ami rather than Granny’s ny­lon night­ies or the dreaded toi­let roll colours. And the clever way to use them? Mix and match. Think a tea rose vel­vet-up­hol­stered sofa strewn with pas­tel peach and minty green cush­ions set against a pale laven­der-painted wall. Yes, re­ally. It’s the fu­ture.


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