Let’s talk about warm neutrals…
We live in quite possibly the best ‘warm neutral’ house in terms of colour palette – think old country cottage: Suffolk cream on the outside; stripped back, aged beams, open brickwork and ancient lived-on floorboards. In terms of actually being warm though, forget that, as the wind whistles through the beams at every opportunity and the cute country cottage dream becomes an arctic reality when winter kicks in!
Over the last half decade or so grey has been the colour of choice for interiors – so many beautiful tones that can layer against each other to create drama in places, serenity in others and, when layered correctly, even bring warmth.
But a real feeling of warmth is the thing we’re all striving for isn’t it, in this cold, bleak, cost-of-living crisis. Our home is our sanctuary. A place to retreat into, away from the noise of the outside world. We need to be able to nest and feel nurtured. So, it’s no wonder really that grey tones have given way to warmer, inviting and very natural tones of late. Not as a replacement necessarily, but more as an addition to a room, to enrich the grey, embrace the natural and add a new level of tranquility and calm.
But how can you achieve this, especially when on a budget?
To help answer that, we thought we’d take the time to do some research and give a few ideas, and at the same time showcase some wonderful Suffolk businesses and makers who have products that can help bring that warm neutral touch to your space. (And yes, there are some references to our new Warm Neutral Collection tucked in here too).
Idea 1 – A Textural Embrace
Textural soft furnishings not only add comfort in the real sense - just think of kicking back on your bouclé sofa, wrapped in a butter-soft cashmere blanket, with your head sumptuously settled on a velvet cushion. They also bring visual comfort and a sense of calm when textures combine harmoniously in a warm and earthy palette.
Mixing fabrics to create depth can be as simple as playing around with surface structure proportions – for example, laying a textural woven table runner over a slub-yarn table cloth, dressed with raffia placemats.
Idea 2 – It’s all in the Detail
Photo Credit: Christina Marie Art
Creating texture and depth doesn’t need to be large scale, sometimes the smallest decorative object can make the biggest impact. Suffolk artist Christina Marie’s delicate handmade pieces truly reflect how a little can say a lot, without breathing a word.
Idea 3 – The Warmth of Wood
It’s no secret that we are huge fan of wood – we based our Arboreal Collection around it after all – but there is no denying that wood brings warmth to an environment, whatever form it takes. Whether that be stripped-back floorboards, a handcrafted wooden bowl or platter, or even a stack of logs sitting alongside a fireplace. Whatever form you choose, wood can be used to enhance your warm neutral colour palette, add a different textural dimension to your aesthetic and even serve a useful purpose in your room.
Photo Credit: Bois Jolie
This handcrafted wooden bowl from wood designer Michael Ferland of Bois Jolie in Woodbridge would make a beautiful and functional addition to a room.
Photo Credit: Worsley Woodworking
Brendan Worsley of Worsley Woodworking is another talented local wood craftsman – and he also happens to be the man responsible for hand-making all of our candle and arboreal prototypes too! His usual commissions are larger sized pieces, but he proved with our protos that he can turn his hand to smaller commissions too.
Photo Credit: Matt Baldwin Design
For a modern wooden accent and beautiful surface contrast we love this 3D printed planter with hand carved birch ply backdrop from extremely talented local maker Matt Baldwin.
Idea 4 – A Metallic Glow
Copper and brass accents (the more worn and dented the better) not only add gorgeous colour warmth, but reflect colour too in a beautiful way – especially by flickering candle light.
Great places to source old brass and copper items are at local boot fairs and auction houses (or maybe even an elderly relative’s loft!), but if it’s new you are after then…
Photo Credit: georgejuniper.co.uk
We love the work of independent Suffolk business George Juniper & Co for many reasons. Most notably for the way founder and designer Mark repurposes obsolete items such as old fire extinguishers, wool shears and grease gun nozzles, transforming them using salvaged copper and brass and hand-turned solid wood (from worktop off-cuts) into striking table lamps.
Photo Credit: Jim Lawrence
On a smaller scale, you can transform the look of furniture by changing the knobs or handles to metallic. Using traditional, handcrafted techniques, Suffolk based company, Jim Lawrence offers a wide selection of aged and new copper and brass handles. They offer a wide assortment of light fittings too!
Idea 5 – A Lightbulb Moment
Photo Credit: designlight.eu
You can alter the ambience of a room by simply switching from a cool white to a warm white bulb. It sounds obvious, but sometimes this is often overlooked, especially in smaller, secondary lights – and it’s exactly this kind of lighting that can turn the corner of a room into a comfy and relaxing nook.
Idea 6 – Ask an Expert
Photo Credit: restoringlansdowne.com
If you’re still not sure about how to layer your textures or build your warm neutral palette to create your sanctuary successfully to suit your style, then check out this blog from local interior designer Kristine of Restoring Lansdowne for some great hints and tips. She recently relocated to a beautiful (albeit incredibly rundown) Georgian Suffolk property after completing a stunning renovation of her former London townhouse, has just planted over 500 trees to create her own forest-of-the-future, and documents her renovation process on instagram. Definitely worth following.
One final idea which never fails to bring warmth and comfort to a space...
Add a golden fluffy dog!
Mr Concrete & Mrs Wax