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White impact: Using neutrals as an accent

Who says neutrals can’t pack a big punch? Sure, they’re soft, subtle and elegant, but they’re also the glue that holds a successful design together. Without them, colours would run wild. If your space could use a softer touch, put these power-colours to work. We’ll show you how!

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What’s your style?

Neutral colours create the backdrop for all elements within a space. The neutral you choose speaks volumes about your personal style preference. Warmer neutrals, such as tan, brown and golden shades, work well for traditional spaces, whereas gray, blue and silver shades appear more modern. White and black can be used to complement a range of styles, such as vintage, cottage-chic, modern, French-country, urban and eclectic. For a room you’ll love, choose a neutral that sets the stage for your favorite style.

3 Neutral color palettes to complement any decor >>

Texture and pattern

For colour schemes that consist primarily of neutrals, be sure to use different textures and patterns throughout the space. Weaves work well for rugs, throws and storage baskets. Satin and sheer fabrics enhance any window treatment, and faux fur pillows are soft to the touch. Layering these elements throughout your room allows the eye to separate one item from the next, creating an elegant feel.

Add a hint of colour

Once you’ve created visual interest through texture and pattern, top everything off with small pops of colour that enhance your decor. An easy way to add a splash of colour is through artwork. Find prints or framed images that include neutral colours from your scheme while also introducing brighter hues. You can also use floral arrangements for a touch of natural colour. The blooms and stems will add just enough colour to become a focal point in the room.

Make your own: How to arrange flowers >>

Natural neutrals

If choosing the right neutral is still a tough call, find your inspiration from nature. Bring in natural elements, such as wood, shell, glass and metallic finishes, then use them as a reference when choosing other items for the room. When shopping for paint, take some of the smaller accessories with you. Hold them against your paint samples to see how the colours affect one another. You may even find the perfect paint shade hidden within these accessories; if so, ask the paint representative if they can match the colour.

The white impact

Of all neutral colours, white brings the most to the table. The old rule says, “Don’t use dark colours in small spaces.” The new rule says, “Add white, and do what you want.” Create a white board-and-batten wainscot or simply use white as the primary colour for furniture, fabrics and accessories, and you’ll find freedom to go bold on the walls in any room of the house.

Trend alert: White-on-white >>

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