Shades of grey
Colour expert Annie Sloan dishes on the season’s new neutrals
How do you go about developing colours – what resources do you to for inspiration and research?
Rather than trying to anticipate trends or fashions I tend to look to the past for inspiration. Museums and galleries are fertile ground and I’ll often spot a tiny splash of colour in a painting, or a tapestry and then go home and research that colour and discover the history of the pigment. From there it’s off down a rabbit hole.
What about these new colours speaks to the mood of the moment?
My two newest colours – Chicago Grey and Svenska Blue – are calming, modern colours with strong traditional credentials. Neutrals take a long time to develop because striking the right balance to create a complex neutral rather than a flat, uninteresting shade, is a very delicate process. These are timeless, hard-working cool-toned neutrals that will bring light and calm to a space.
The Scandinavian hygge trend was big a few seasons ago and Scandinavian simplicity is still popular. What about the Svenska Blue makes it current? And what kind of interior would it lend itself to?
A beautiful, complex neutral is always a chic choice and, by definition, neutrals can be used as a starting point for almost any scheme or style. Svenska Blue is a nod to the Gustavian tradition so I’d particularly like to see it used with other Gustavian colours; whites and greys, for a very elegant and sophisticated look.
Are cool or warm neutrals more in vogue at the moment? Why?
Cool colours are de rigeur during these overheated times. We need relaxation and calm in our homes to counterbalance the lack thereof in the wider world.
How have neutrals changed over the years – what colours are people looking to as a base that they weren’t considering before?
Everything is very cool, whereas 20 years ago it was all warm tones. Creamy earthy yellows and pinks have been superseded by sharper blue-toned greys and crisp whites. People are bringing warmth into their homes in more sophisticated, subtle ways with texture and lighting rather than relying solely on wall colour.