Warm Neutrals – Design Ideas Using Warm Neutral Colors At Home


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Warm neutrals have won out this year, with Wild Wonder announced as Dulux’s Color of the Year 2023. Dulux describes it as the perfect neutral, inspired by the ‘tones of harvested crops with an upbeat glow that connects us with the cycles of life’.

Wild Wonder is a happy medium between a yellow-gold and a soft green – much like other warm neutrals, the dominant shade changes in natural light – chosen for its connection to the revitalizing aspects of nature.

‘Neutrals and earth tones will be a key interior trend throughout the autumn and winter months this year,’ says James Mellan-Matulewicz, Design Expert and Creative Director at Bobbi Beck. ‘The popularity of these tones in homeware has been on the rise over the course of 2022, and will truly come into their own during A/W as the palette is perfect for this time of year.’

Below, design experts look at how to introduce warm neutrals into every room in your home…


The living room

how to decorate with warm neutrals

Warm neutrals are an ideal base for natural design schemes – if your home is full of greenery, raw materials, plenty of wood and a flood of natural light, you’ll find a warm neutral does particularly well.

‘Nature-inspired earthy tones, such as beige and brown, promote calm and tranquillity in the home and can create a real sense of comfort,’ says James. ‘I would suggest that the best way to utilize this color palette would be to use these tones on the “base” items within your home – carpets, wallpapers and bulkier furniture.’

Remember that warm neutrals exist on a spectrum – from the palest beige tones to richer yellows with hints of mustard and terracotta.

The kitchen

how to decorate with warm neutrals

Warm neutrals are very susceptible to the influence of other colors – the shades and tones used near or next to it will dictate how it appears. When selecting warm neutrals for the kitchen, think about any wood you have – a yellowish wood can bring out beige tones, a pale redwood can highlight any hints of pink, and the contrast with a rich walnut can lighten even a deepest neutral.

Bo Hellberg, CMO at String Furniture suggests oaks and walnuts as a complement to warm neutrals. ‘An increasing blend of retro and natural colours, beige, warm hues and various shades of green have come to the forefront to emphasizee this more neutral and basic color scheme,’ he says. ‘Rich walnuts and soothing oaks are a wonderful way of bringing a touch of the outside and creating a warming, cozy feel in the home that is perfect for the autumnal months.’

The bedroom

how to decorate with warm neutrals

Cocooning shades of beige and yellow find a natural home in the bedroom, especially when used on soft furnishings, carpets and rugs.

‘It’s fair to say that yellow is having a bit of a moment, especially with Dulux’s Color of the Year 2023 – Wild Wonder – exuding golden yellow warmth,’ says Vicki Foster, interior stylist for SCS. ‘For transitioning from summer to autumn, mustard is a popular pick thanks to its bright, yet warm, hues.

‘For a more subtle effect, use this color in lamp shades, blankets, pillows and curtains to give your room a hint of autumn. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit bolder, create a mustard feature wall with paint or wallpaper.’

The bathroom

how to decorate with neutrals

A growing interest in ‘spathrooms’, the spa-inspired bathroom, will inform our design decisions, as we look more towards creating a soothing home sanctuary. Warm neutrals and a sparing use of accessories are the perfect fit here.

‘It’s worth exploring neutral interiors to create a relaxing zone,’ says Vicky. ‘ By keeping your color palette limited you can create a cohesive, interesting space that helps you feel cocooned and centred.

‘When it comes to accessories, don’t overcrowd your space. If the goal is to create a calm environment, you don’t want clutter. Think carefully about the decoration and choose items that add substance to the room.’

The hallway

how to decorate with warm neutrals

‘Hallways are the most important transitional spaces within our homes so whatever we choose to do decoration-wise has to work perfectly with the other rooms that lead off it,’ says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux.

Warm neutrals makes a happy solution here. There are very few colors or design schemes that won’t sit well with warm neutrals, so a pale citrus carpet or warm off-beige wall, for instance, can help to create a cohesive flow between rooms.

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