Colour | The New Neutrals – Taupe, Greige and Clay

July 26, 2017

Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, plaster Gubi

Image: Gubi via Elle Decoration, Sweden


Sometimes life is a bit surreal, right? As I was sitting down to write this piece on the sofa last night, being motivated by the decision to re-paint the upstairs hallway, a shot of our downstairs hallway popped up on the telly on the new Channel Four craft show,it seems that I had my 15 milliseconds of fame without knowing it and the husband didn’t think he’d of noticed if I hadn’t been in the room squeking like a teenage girl! Well, as anyone who drops in regularly around here will know, we are big into colour in these parts, perhaps not as boldly or as darkly as some, but the Design Soda house is accented with colours that add mood to its decor. I love thinking about colour and the effect it can have on your surroundings. But outside of my favourite shade (blue-green) I can be a little fickle. There are so many gorgeous shades that I’m forever committing to my latest hue of choice only to change completely a week later. For that reason any colour change in the house is meticulously planned and actually there are no room shades I’ve committed to that I’ve got subsequently bored of so something in all this detailed planning is working!


Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, scandi bedroom

Image Lina Ostling via Home Deco 


If you are a particularly avid reader (I’ll pay you later) you may also remember that when I went to Farrow & Ball’s colour forecast talk for 2017 in the Spring there was talk of yellow coming back over the next few years. It’s been on my mind ever since, not keeping me up at night you understand but I’ve been trying to adjust to the idea of yellowish magnolia on my walls ever since and failing slightly to visualise how it could work. But one thing I can relate to is the need to find new colours which work as neutrals to replace millennial pink and it’s predecessor grey.  


Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay interiors

Image: The Rug Company


Don’t get me wrong, I love both of these shades (especially in combination) but they are starting to feel a bit generic and I need a new neutral in my life! Particularly for a revamp project I’m going to undertake in September in an area of the house which currently has the ubiquitous white washed walls as a temporary measure to tone down the previous owners choice and see the space. It’s the upstairs hallway so it has a high footfall (being seen from downstairs) I think it needs something warm on the walls to uplift it but also something which can be dialled down so that it’s not too intrusive. And I’m looking towards shades that have a base of beige but with added earthiness, or which have been spiced up with a bit of clay or terracotta, think caramel ice cream, light tan leather or a rusty blush. 


Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, bedroom

Image: My Scandinavian Home


On its own this colour can feel a little, well, drab to be honest, a bit pedestrian, but when teamed with pastels, teals, warm metals, wood and a good dose of texture it begins to really come alive. As we have all become accustomed to warmer metals in the home, thanks to the vogue for copper and brass, I think that we are about to start moving away from the cooler wall colours into ones which bring warmth and comfort (God knows that in our Post-Brexit-Trump-Frightening-New-World we need a little warmth at home!). 


Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, plaster walls bathroom

Image: Anna Gillar


I’m calling it for taupe, griege (grey and beige) and clay tones, step forward you overlooked beauties. It’s a little pink, a little brown, there’s something 1940’s about it to my mind, like plaster and old packaging. Speaking of plaster, when we had our last home replastered I spent a fair while wondering if I could leave the plaster alone in one space or another completely unpainted. I loved the hue but I couldn’t take the uneven patina, it reminded me a little too much of rag rolling techniques and Changing Rooms. The taupe-y shade I’m thinking of is very like new plaster in sensibility, there’s both the pink and the brown in there but in a matt, even finish. As with all good neutrals, it acts as a great backdrop for different styles, I see it as quite a Palm Springs fifties shade, but it adjusts really well with so many looks. This look has already started in commercial design, particularly the cafe scene in America, but I want to show you it in real homes, albeit very stylish bloggers, but real nonetheless. There are three bloggers (one who’s an Instagramer soon to become a blogger) that I think have really nailed this recently and each is pictured below.


Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, bianca French for pineapple Caramel colour

Image: French For Pineapple
Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, Frarriw Ball Dead Trout Sarah AkwisombeImage: Sarah Akwisombe

Colour The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay, bianca French for pineapple Caramel colour Michelle Matangi bedroom makeover

Image: Michelle Matangi


The first picture (top image) is an office makeover by Bianca of French For Pineapple who did this revamp at the end of last summer in a gorgeous caramel shade. Bianca definitely got here first with this shade, she is great with these warm neutrals (her peachy living room is another gorgeous example of this) and she has layered the feel of both rooms beautifully with natural and graphic elements and that juju wallhanging on the picture above, I mean! Next up (middle image) is Sarah Akwisombe‘s recent bedroom makeover which had me in awe the second I saw it, Sarah has taken a clay-like neutral and made it glamorous using lashes of rich velvets, high end brass fittings and acid pastels through the mauve carpet and yellow chair. This look could be stylised but in Sarah’s hands it’s completely and utterly seductive. Finally an image from someone who (if you aren’t already) you should be following on Instagram. Kiwi interiors guru Michelle Matangi has an obscenely enviable home and a great eye for mixing luxe with thrift shop finds. I love the use of texture in her home and the rust, almost terracotta, accents in this recent bedroom makeover against the taupe wall is stunning, pulling something new out of this colour with its retro seventies vibe that is thoroughly modern and beautiful.


farrow ball setting plaster

Image: Setting plaster by Farrow & Ball via Remodelista


Two colours I’ve got my eye on at the moment are Setting Plaster (above) and Dead Salmon (which is a lot less dramatic than its name sounds), both are by Farrow & Ball and each has the cocooning feel of a rich shade but with none of the claustrophobia making them perfect modern neutrals. Below are a selection of other shades on my radar at the moment. What do you think?  

Interiors Paint Colours - The New Neutrals - Taupe, Greige and Clay,

Could an earthier updated magnolia be about to sweep out the Scandinavian whites? Answers on a postcard (or in the comments below) please.



12 thoughts on “Colour | The New Neutrals – Taupe, Greige and Clay

  1. Bianca Hall

    Ahhhh only finally got around to reading this post! Thanks so much for including me Ruthie! These colours are very definitely going to sneak in and push grey of it’s throne. But it will take some time! Xx

  2. Pingback: Revamp, Restyle, Reveal: Hallway Makeover Reveal

  3. Pingback: A look at my design plans for a Mid-Century living room with a Scandinavian palette

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