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Neutral Colour De-Coded

25 Aug 2022

It’s an age-old question when your renovating…
“What paint colour do we choose?”. You spend your weekends at the local paint store or hardware going over hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of paint chips, searching… literally searching for the perfect colour. Through confusion, frustration or perhaps even a lack of bravery- the selection is so often ‘white’… but who even knew there were so many different shades of white! I mean, it’s just white… right?. We don’t want to tell you what makes the perfect paint colour as if it actually exists… the perfect colour for one space is a disaster for another. So instead we thought we would show you how you can narrow down your choices and learn about the effect of colour on an interior so you can make a much more informed decision.


You might remember a bit about this from art class in high school. Basically, all colours exist on a spectrum which tell you how warm or cool they are based on their base. In basic terms; reds, oranges, yellows are warm, blues greens and greys are cool – but it gets a little more complicated than this. Almost every colour can have a warm OR a cool base – especially neutrals.

So… why is this important?

I want you to imagine you have just painted your living room in a rather cool, fresh and bright white (a white with a blue base)… You may have a sofa with a natural/brown base colour (like a natural husk linen- a warm base). When you place your sofa against the bright and clean white wall your sofa will look slightly dirty, mucky… just not quite right. Whereas a sofa upholstered in a dove-like grey tone would look amazing. Getting the base note colours correct throughout your spaces will not only mean your space will be cohesive, it will also be relaxing to be within.

 How do you find out if a colour is cool or warm?

You’ll be able to spot this pretty easily when lots of paint chips are displayed amongst each other- their difference in tone will be easily visible. You can also look at the colour chip on top of a white piece of A4 paper and squint your eyes, this will enable you to see the base note colour.


Contrast is basically the presence or absence of similarity. When choosing the perfect paint colour it is important to consider how light or how dark you want to go taking in account all your surrounding furnishings, exposure to natural light and your intention with the space. Dark paint colours usually work best when you use your furnishings to heavily contrast with the paint colour. In our recent Byron Bay project for Barefoot Escapes we used “Stormy Blue” a rich and dark navy on the wall of one of the king bedrooms. The navy tone heavily contrasted against the rich leather bedhead and other bright white finishes in the room.

A lack of contrast in a space can also have a strong impact. White on white on white can be very strong and fresh in the right home.


Ok… so you’ve figured out whether you need a cool or a warm neutral, but you want something with a bit of wow-factor… we’ll we have just come across the most gorgeous collection of textured neutral paints as part of Haymes Paint Artisan Collection. The collection also features some amazing colours (think rich and textural navy, bronzes and rich magentas) but the neutral tones are some of the nicest we have seen in some time- sandy textures, powdery concrete and chalky whites.

This collection of paint takes neutral paint to the next level with the range of applications which place the texture of the paint at the forefront of the design.


Below are some of our favourite interior flatlays and the paint we would use to bring the scheme together. If you're looking for some inspiration, this is a good place to start!

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