“One of the advantages of using softer tones is that it puts the focus on texture,” says Willeke Jongejan, Senior Color Designer at the Global Aesthetic Center. Natural materials sit perfectly within this palette, showing off the grain of wood or the detail in exposed brickwork. Experiment with similar materials in your use of furniture: the colours and textures of leather, wool and bare wooden furniture are all enhanced by this neutral environment.
Add a dash of gloss
“Try mixing gloss details on a matte wall, so that surfaces change throughout the day as the light catches them,” says Willeke. The use of soft tones and colour proportions, together with these variations between matte and gloss finishes, add a subtle element of surprise to any room. Soft furnishings such as linen and rugs can also add to a subtle contrast.
Keep it elegant
“The age of clutter, of product for its own sake, is on the decline,’ says Willeke. We’re moving away from traditional consumerism and towards a more subtle and modest approach to our choice of possessions and the décor in our home. This ‘barely there’ approach to interior design is informed by a new type of luxury – the luxury of space and time. So rather than overwhelming the senses, we give them the space they need with a calming, soft colour palette.
Stay in touch
With such a bare, stripped-back approach, you can then start to build up the personality in each room by adding accessories in different materials, with the emphasis on the tactile. “Think about how everything will feel to the touch,” says Willeke. With only subtle variations in colour, the objects in the room play the role of adding that element of difference.
You can also experiment with painting some parts of furniture and leaving others bare. Start with only selecting a few of the chairs in a room to paint and, if you’re feeling bold, you can even try painting half a chair, so the feel changes from smooth to rough even in an individual piece.
The art of understatement
Download the ICI Dulux Visualizer to see how these understated, light hues can be used in your home.