minimalist colour palette

We’ve been working on the process of stripping back the colours in our home, for the last year. Our initial colour choices were quite bold – deep navy, copper, shades of grey. These worked well for us, and created a real warmth in our stone house. However, what you once really loved, can now seem not quite right. Since we designed and had built a very spacious, tiered, walled Mediterranean style garden to the rear of the house, where a little tumble down house once stood, the interior of the house needed to change. As well as the garden, we had a window knocked out in the living room and French doors installed, leading out onto a box balcony and down into the garden. More light now floods into the living room and we felt that we should embrace the natural colours we now have. Darker tones were perfect in our house in West Didsbury, where it was often cloudy and dull, but we were beginning to realise that we were actually working against the natural colours we now have.

So, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue is no more. Dark grey rugs have been moved from the living room and well room, replaced by much more natural, jute rugs, of different shapes and sizes. The resin treated concrete table, which was quite dark and speckled, has been transformed with a light sanding and a few coats of white paint. Dark shelving has gone and in its place, we’ve introduced white cupboards and chalk painted new versions. And, well, the whole house feels like a new house. We’ve increased the sense of space and with a little bit of de-cluttering too, let the house breathe.

Natural colours and textures are now threaded through all of the rooms, so even where there is a darker element – like a big, grey rug or our squishy charcoal grey modular sofa – it now longer dominates. The light coming into the house feels “lighter” – probably because it now has a more natural palette to bounce off. Blue perspex “ghost” chairs, which sat around the resin concrete table, have been replaced with two solid wooden benches, now covered with white faux sheepskin covers. Natural hessian runners give coverage on the table – easier to clean up a wine spill from a runner than it staining a white table!

Gradually, we’ve replaced accessories around the house, mostly without really realising we were doing it. The colours of candles have changed – more natural pillar candles, and paler colours instead of strong, bold gold and navy. Wooden bowls, softer cushion covers, oatmeal coloured linen curtains and white woodwork throughout, are changing the feel of our home. When we renovated, I think we were still attached to what we had done in West Didsbury and so replicated quite a lot. But now, we’ve finally realised that we live in a very different place and climate, where things are much more Mediterranean and we can actually authentically embrace this style. Perhaps we’re just now preparing ourselves for a new way of living…

Published on 20th February 2024