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Best neutrals for 2021 -trend talk with interior designer Patricia Wakely

On-trend neutrals

Patricia Wakely- Fleetwood Paints Interior Designer 

Reflecting the mood of the times we are living in, it is perhaps not surprising that Pantone has announced ‘Ultimate Gray ‘- a natural, dependable grey and ‘Illuminating’ a sunny, positive yellow as they’re colours of the year for 2021.  If you consider Pantone the “Catwalk of Colour” then we ask ourselves how do we use these influences in our own interiors?

Yellows, Ochres and Rusts are back for 2021. Colours like ‘Old fashioned’ and ‘Side Car’, from the Vogue colour card, tip their proverbial hat to the Mid-century Modern style that has become a huge influence in interiors today.  Using a mid grey like ‘Kensington Grey Deep’ further completes this look and adds a grounded stable but moody neutral.

As always, light and space are crucial considerations for these colours and if you find yourself lacking in these departments, using a warm white neutral like Pantone ‘Jet Stream’ with the sunny Pantone ‘Golden Apricot ‘will create a light and vibrant family friendly interior.


There is a definite swing towards warmer neutrals rather than blue greys and using them not only as a backdrop for other deeper and stronger shades but now more uniquely as deep feature colours themselves.

Colours like ‘Powdered Almond’ combined with Otter’s Tail or Stone Brown can lend an understated easy feel to any interior.  The use of these deeper neutrals offer a depth rather than a punch and so allow a sense of serenity and relaxation.


Dare I say it – but tan and coffee colours return for 2021 and are celebrated in homes widely.  Tricky to use, as a lot of us have hang-ups with these colours from our childhood years, but easing yourself in gently, is the way to go.

Consider ‘Aged Leather’ or ‘Coffee break’ – the colours from Popular colour card or used as a material in your furnishings, combined with ‘Heaven’s Breath’ and you will be half way there.  To modernise the scheme throw in a shot of ‘Avalon Teal’ on a piece of upcycled furniture or chair and you’ve definitely got the look.



The use of green has been so prevalent over the last few seasons and will continue to do so this season.  From the use of  Pantone ‘Pineneedle’ in the kitchen, to ‘Wild Atlantic Green’ in the study, there is a new kid on the block for me this year in the form of the slightly Khaki neutral. ‘Brook Green’ (CP0774) or ‘Hidden Green’ (CP0732) are great neutrals with a warm green undertone to add a sense of personality to that relaxed natural look, especially when used with linens, sisal and warm timber.

Again, the sense of drama is not a forgotten twist to the look of these neutrals but rather is added by combining a colour like Pantone ‘Pigeon’ with Pantone ‘Smoked Pearl’ for a palette that remains all-embracing in many different lights.

To choose the perfect 2021 neutral, think beige based neutrals rather than greys.  This has recently given rise to the description of “Greige” as your staple base with layered darker and lighter tones.

Sounds easy doesn’t it – and it is! Embrace the serene and enjoy your coffee and cream!