Natural vs Neutral – simple colour schemes that work

Colour, colour, colour! It’s everywhere and not to be ignored. Colour trends come and go but lately it seems that neutral has become synonymous with boring in some quarters. As someone who prefers to avoid schemes that scream “look at me” it’s got me thinking about why I prefer more subtle colour palettes and how I go about selecting a colour scheme.

Colour, colour, colour! It’s everywhere and not to be ignored. Colour trends come and go but lately it seems that neutral has become synonymous with boring in some quarters. As someone who prefers to avoid schemes that scream “look at me” it’s got me thinking about why I prefer more subtle colour palettes and how I go about selecting a colour scheme.


For me, the home is a place for feeling comfortable, relaxed and at ease. My interiors are often described as “calming” or “tranquil” and it has a lot to do with how I approach colour. My secret, if you could call it that, is to start by looking at materiality.

A lot of my inspiration comes from using natural materials, like wood and stone, because they have a beautiful character all of their own. As we always begin a project by looking at the interior architecture, it follows that we consider the floor and wall treatments as well as joinery quite early on. We often use beautiful materials like limestone, white washed oak and marble to create the canvass for the furniture and decoration.

The scheme is then built up in layers, with fabric selection for curtains, upholstery and soft furnishing playing a starring role. For these, I will tone up or down the “natural base” by adding either warmer tones, like earthy browns, or cooler tones like blue-green greys, as you can see from the mood boards below.

Of course, this is not to say that there is no place for bold colour, like splashes of reds, oranges or even bright green. I do tend to keep bolder colour to accessories or plants, which can be easily updated as your tastes change or if you want to refresh your look. In the room pictured below, there seems to be a fair amount of colour at first glance but take away the cushions and the vases and you’re left with tones of stony grey that chime beautifully with the wide oak floorboards and Bath stone exterior.

Till next time, do keep an eye out on our Pinterest board or Instagram page for more inspiration.


Love Emma

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