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Expert's corner: a minimalist’s guide to colour

A minimalist palette doesn't only mean black, white and grey...
   Luke Arthur Wells  |  written on: 06-08-2021 08:45am

When it comes to designing a space, I prefer a neutral palette – I always have. I like to add the interest through texture and quiet pattern, and usually whoever I’m working with is on the same wavelength. However, the biggest trend we’re seeing at the moment in interiors is a lot more colourful.

Far from being a cacophony of colour, it’s about a careful balance of what we’d traditionally consider more “out-there” hues, brought together in a way that retains a chic quality.

This balance is definitely delicate, and takes a confident hand with colour to create, but even if you’re not so confident outside of a neutral palette, there are little ways you can start to add more colour and retain that minimal edge.


Blue is a great colour to start with for those with less colour courage. It’s recessive in nature, meaning it doesn’t overly dominate a space, even in an otherwise neutral scheme. It’s likely one of the most popular choices for kitchen cabinetry outside of woods, whites, greys and blacks – for the good reason that it can still be bold and interesting, without the risk of you tiring of it quickly. To keep the minimal aspect, don’t fall for those traditional colour combination tropes. You might know blue works with a pop of zingy yellow, but it’s overly expected. Avoid it becoming too cool with naturally warm textures, such as wood and terracotta, instead.

13 ways to go blue in your bathroom

Blush Pink,Contemporary,Plum,White,Modern,Minimalist,Ladbroke,Routed,Oak
Inspiration by Naked Kitchens

Pink is undoubtedly the colour of the moment and design conscious homeowners are making even more bold statements with pink in their properties. Take a look at this pink one from Naked Kitchens for example. Okay, these colours are hardly minimalist in the traditional sense, but it does give good insight into how to really embrace this colour. Against a harsh white background, the pink might be over the top, but in combination with wood and other natural materials, it creates a tonal palette, with the taupe toning it down to create a more sophisticated scheme.

Colour guide: 15 subtle ways to go PINK in your bedroom

bedroom,pink,traditional,chair,pendant lighting,bed,curtains,upholstered

I think for a truly minimalist way to use colour, keeping contrast low is the way forward, especially in using white and black. With these extremes of contrast, used alongside a hero colour, you’ll create a very energetic, graphic look, that accentuates the effortless chic you expect from a truly minimalist scheme.

bedroom,decor,sofa,chair,table,wood,colour block

Also read:
Non-beige neutral colour palettes for your bedroom
Real homes: 6 irresistible colour scheme options for your kitchen

NEXT! Want more colourful ideas for your home? Browse our moodboard of inspirations below - click any image to begin.

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   Luke Arthur Wells
Luke is an interior designer, stylist and blogger at www.lukearthurwells.com. He’s a believer in understated interiors that don’t have to shout to be heard, and he’s currently practicing what he preaches renovating a Victorian terrace in Essex, where he lives with his partner and two pampered pups. When it comes to his design style, he loves new and interesting building materials, a carefully chosen white paint and he also has a weakness for coffee table books and a fresh bunch of eucalyptus.

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