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neutrals with soul

From Habitat plus - decorating and colour trends 2021

Given the efforts to turn our spaces into more relaxing places to spend time, we’re embracing living a more clutter-free and thoughtful life.

Shades associated with minimalism, such as creams, beiges, greys, taupe and whites, have always been popular choices for anchoring interior colour palettes. But until recently, it seemed like the neutral everyone was after was cold, steely grey and it was seen as the epitome of what’s fresh and contemporary.

Neutral boho bedroom with terracotta cushions
Bedroom: Different character neutrals can easily be layered with one another if they share a similar undertone. Wall in Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay, floor and headboard in Resene Eighth Joss, side table in Resene Parchment and vase in Resene Beethoven.   Sitting room: Back wall in Resene Merino, left wall in Resene Alabaster, floor in Resene White Pointer, DIY art in Resene Quarter Tea, Resene Double Ash and Resene Half Truffle, tall vase in Resene Parchment, lamp in Resene Tapa and hook rack in Resene Double Ash. Chair from Me & My Trend, cushion and throw from Città.

Trend: apricot, see "apricot emerges"

However, after a decade of ‘flat grey everything’, designers are embracing warmer neutrals once again, but in far more complex varieties than those that were popular in the 90s.

Those looking to bring a truly contemporary look to their homes can look to what we’ve come to call ‘character neutrals’ – hues with soul, which are much more intriguing than your typical true neutral and are anything but flat. Look to nude and mushroom taupe, terracotta, greige and warm stone grey as the base of your colour scheme, which will bring that little extra ‘something’ to your space thanks to their subtle undertones.

Note: For more warm whites, check out the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection, available in palettes or as a fandeck, to find a whole range of neutrals from whites and off-whites through to black and near blacks.

Cane sitting room
Terracotta mood board
Sitting room: Wall in Resene Thorndon Cream and timber floor in Resene Colorwood Rock Salt. Mirror from Mood Store, chair, cushions, rug, lamp and collared vase from Città, art by George Sand Studio from endemicworld, sideboard from King Living, stone bust from WORLD, coffee table and vase from Domo, sandals from Marle, vase on coffee table from Simon James Design.   Moodboard: Background in Resene Half Wood Bark with cut drawdown paint swatches (from top to bottom) in Resene Zulu, Resene Antidote, Resene Sorrell Brown and Resene Lone Ranger and plant pot in Resene Antidote.

Even whites have gotten creamier and those that feature more colourful undertones have become desirable for their inherent simplicity that can also be manipulated with different types of lighting. Resene Thorndon Cream – a timeless cream that shifts dramatically richer and deeper as the sun sets – is a reigning favourite for this reason. Try it with beige neutrals like Resene Double Tea, blackened whites like Resene Alabaster or deep dusk greens like Resene Warrior.

Resene Quarter Blanc is another great option if you’d like a more neutral white that still carries plenty of character. Try it with a deep dusk blue like Resene Aviator, a smoky grey green like Resene Lemon Grass or a spicy rich red like Resene Pohutukawa.

Resene Colorwood Rock Salt

Check mate

Resene Black White has been a perennial favourite in the Resene top 20 colours. Classic, timeless and simple, Resene Black White makes a great base you can build upon.

Peacefull white on white lounge

The trick to warming up and bringing out the best in Resene Black White is combining it with other warmer Resene whites and greys. In this space, layers of Resene Westar, Resene Saltpan, Resene Double Sea Fog and Resene Quarter Chicago accomplish just that alongside slightly pink Resene Despacito and slightly celery Resene Celeste.

The subtle checkerboard pattern on the floor was created using two strengths of the same colour – Resene Black White, both in full strength and triple strength – adding interest without taking over and visually overwhelming the room. Warmer hues are added through key pieces of furniture: an almond-toned sofa, a coffee table painted in Resene Westar and a rattan pendant lamp painted in Resene Despacito.

Boho lounge: Wall, skirting board and shelf in Resene Black White, floor in Resene Black White and Resene Triple Black White, jug vase in Resene Gumboot and Resene Black White, large bowl in Resene Saltpan and Resene Gumboot, geometric plant pots in Resene Saltpan and Resene Quarter Chicago, ombre plant pot in Resene Celeste (top), Resene Terrain (middle) and Resene Cobblestone (bottom) and woven pendant lamp in Resene Despacito. Sofa and cushions from Me & My Trend, ottoman from Mocka.

Resene Despacito

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