Neutral territory

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

After years of bright design and statement pieces the inside of our
homes are about to get a lot more subdued

The parties are over, the nights are cold and dark: after the glitz
and glimmer of December, January is a month for retreating, relaxing,
recharging and, inevitably, spending more time at home.

And while summer invites colour and energy, at this time of year a calm, neutral space can be more soothing. You don't need to turn up the thermostat to keep things cosy indoors – a soft, neutral scheme with plenty of textured accessories can really deliver the snug factor.

Neutral need not mean cream or white schemes. Grey, taupe, mushroom and brown all work well and grey, in particular, will feel more sophisticated and contemporary than cream. To keep things feeling cosy, choose a warm grey with brown undertones – try Pavilion Gray or Light Gray from Farrow and Ball (farrow-ball.com). Subtle notes of accent colours such as sage, aubergine or mustard will pep things up.

Neutrals are far from boring when used well. The key is to mix tones and textures and use natural materials such as wood and leather to add interest. A cowhide rug on a wood floor, a length of natural silk draped casually over a curtain pole or a cable knit cushion and a sheepskin throw on a leather chair will all add visual interest and seriously ramp up the cosiness.

It's also worth investing in some well-chosen accessories, such as throws, rugs and cushions in warm textural fabrics. Be generous and pile them on: a sofa liberally covered with mohair cushions, knitted wool throws and sheepskin rugs is very inviting.

Lighting is important at this time of year too. Find a standing lamp for a dark corner, keep dinner intimate with a table lamp or fill a fireplace with candles to make a room feel cosy and homely. Add some metallic finishes into the mix. Copper, brass and bronze accents reflect light and add warmth on a dark winter's evening.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Co-Ordinator - FF&E

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Carer / Support Worker plus Bank Support

£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor