Neutrals as Accents: We're All For It. Are You? - Studio Covers

Neutrals as Accents: We're All For It. Are You?

May 19, 2021

Neutrals as Accents: We're All For It. Are You? | Studio Covers

Let’s get something straight: we cannot define neutrals as being without colour or as being the perfect blank canvas. This is because, as any good interior designer will tell you, colours have undertones and it is understanding the subtleties that makes the magic happen in a room. 

A neutral colour is, basically, a colour that doesn’t have a whole lot of intensity or saturation. The four most common neutral colours and this is a no-brainer: are white, black, brown, and grey. Of course, you have tones such as ivory, beige, and taupe too. 

Neutrals are especially great when you’re trying to make your space look bigger than it actually is. If you’re somebody living in a flat in a metro city, you know that space is an issue. And if you’re in a place like Mumbai, then best of luck to you! Neutrals help expand spaces. 

Neutral colours don’t pop out or they don’t draw attention to themselves. This makes them, yes, for the lack of a better term, a great blank canvas. But that’s not all.

Neutrals in Interior Design: A Blank Canvas

Do neutrals make for the perfect blank canvas against which other colours - the bolder or preppier colours, patterns, and textures - can stand out? YES.

Does this mean neutrals must be relegated to the status of being just that - of being just a blank canvas? No. 

monochro set by studio coversMONOCHRO Set - Black and white but not boring. We got a faux fur throw and cushions that are a mix of various patterns, textures, and fabrics.

Why We Love Neutrals

If there is anything we can learn from the trending decor styles of the 2020s, it is this: neutrals are in and they’re in as the stars. Just think Japandi, Scandi, and Minimalism. They’re all about creating a space that is zen, calm, and visually quiet (not crowded).

The idea is to not load the senses with too much. We have said this one too many times before and we’ll say it again: what’s in today in terms of visual appeal is the antithesis of the world we inhabit. This consumerist chaos, this information overload, this noisy appeal by the capitalist machinery that just doesn’t seem to quieten down. OF COURSE, we will find pleasure in less. In the muted. In neutrals. In a place where the constant bombardment of mixed messages cannot reach us. 

With the philosophical aspect taken care of, let’s jump into how you can use neutrals as accents. There aren’t rules per se, but here are just a few things we’ve noticed over the years. We thought you should know them too. Might help :)

Using Neutrals as Accents

Neutrals are versatile, calming, timeless, and don’t interfere with most decorations. When you go for neutrals, the chances of getting it wrong go down...significantly. 

With that said, here are a few things you should keep in mind when doing up your living space the neutral way.

Layering is important

Neutrals are not the Plain Jane of the interior design world. 

They don’t need to be bland and boring. With a little bit of creativity, neutrals can be just what your home requires. 

Learn how to layer your cushion covers like a PRO here

Throw four plain cushions on a beige sofa and call it “neutral love.” Umm, perhaps not. How about mixing it up a bit? Layer the whites with a nude or taupe. Perhaps don’t go solely for plain cushions. Add in a chevron cover. Or maybe something with a little bit more personality? Hey, just take a look at our Gossamer. While it has been created using only neutral tones, the combination of fabrics and techniques used, along with the way it has been done, makes the cushions anything but boring.


gossamer cushion cover by studio covers

Gossamer is a playful interplay of colours and materials. 

Moving away from a cushion-based example (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves. We do have a lot of cushion covers, after all!), there are many ways of layering using neutrals. For example, as a rule of thumb, if your wall is a light shade, you can add some visual interest with darker upholstery.

Neutrals shine when you let yourself get creative with them. It is all about the interplay of colours, patterns and textures. More on that in the third point.

But that doesn’t mean all neutrals are created equal!

Even when going for an all-neutral scheme, the options at your disposal are endless. You can go for a warmer neutral vibe (incorporating colours with warm undertones) or a cooler vibe. A neutral home with loads of black and white juxtapositions will make it look cold and modern. A neutral home with creams and tans, on the other hand, creates a warm space.                   

Be careful with the whites you choose

There are many many different kinds of whites. Let’s have pearl, snow, ivory, cream, alabaster, bone white, porcelain, and...the list goes on. What makes these whites different from one another? The undertones and saturations, of course. We’ll be doing a post solely on whites so stay tuned for that!

memories set by studio coversMemories Set is about embracing the whites, creams, and ivories. 

The whites you choose can make all the difference! If you’re somebody lucky enough to get a lot of natural light streaming into your living space, going for whites with cooler tones can work. You won’t run the risk of having your home feel sterile and cold. Instead, chances are (if done right!) it’ll feel cool, clean, and breezy. However, if you have a room that doesn’t have a whole lot of sunlight coming in, perhaps it is best if you focus on warmer undertones (think ivory, cream, and Navajo white). 

Some Quick Actionable Tips That’ll Go A LONG Way

  • Let the wood do the talking: Do you know what is naturally neutral? Wood. Any wood - dark or light Weathered down and worn out. Polished and shined. Mahogany or teak. Choose your wood wisely and let it do the talking for you. No need to glam wood up. It’s naturally gorgeous.

  • Play with different shapes: A grand round plush chair, a sinuous coffee table, a lean and tall metallic standing lamp. Yes. Neutral spaces, by now you know, don’t have to be boring. Have fun with different shapes - use them to add that element of visual interest.

  • Allow the accents to shine by creating contrast with the background: Think a beige sofa against a darker rug. Perhaps light wood flooring and a dark wood table or couch. You get the idea.

  • Mix and match elements: Mirrors, glass, brass. Yep, they're all neutrals. Now the question is: what are you going to do with this nugget of info.? Play, be creative, throw in a surprise element, and have fun.

honeybee set by studio coversHoneybee Set is all about embracing the neutral palette.

All in all

Neutrals aren’t bland and boring - they can be fun and interesting. If anything, doing up your space the neural way brings about a sense of calm, groundedness, and sophistication. Neutrals can help you open up your space, see beauty (and opportunity) in simplicity, and bring about a sense of here and now in your home.

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