Why I'm Proud to be Called the Queen of Taupe

19/10/2011 23:25 BST | Updated 19/12/2011 10:12 GMT

I'm often called the 'Queen of Taupe' when people refer to my work. Far from being derisive I see being linked with neutrals a signature to be proud of. Because I take my inspiration from organic shapes, texture and the interplay between materials, is it subtlety and ease that are the hallmarks of my style rather than brash, 'in your face' elements.

That's not to say I don't have 'hero pieces' or accent colours in the projects I work on, but these are tempered and well considered so they really work within a space rather than standing out for the wrong reasons. When it comes to 'neutrals' I look at taupe, sand, cream/off white and pure white as the core colours. Each colour can be warm or cold and this can be enhanced or balanced by the texture you use.

For example, a bright white room is anything but neutral, it is actually a very strong statement so you need to bring in softer elements like sand coloured fabrics in wool or linen. Alternatively to make the white even more bold, add in textures like marble, linen or porcelain to enhance the cool feeling of the bright white space.


This is my favourite neutral but that's because it is neither warm nor cool and instantly adds a sense of harmony to a space. To get the best out of your taupe pair it with:

• Pure bright white

• Dark wood

• Linen with purple tones

• Blue or grey stone

• Chrome and silver

• Clear glass

• Green, red and purple will really pop


Sand is inherently warm and comforting so it creates an instantly inviting space. It also benefits from being the most low maintenance colour compared to other neutrals. Sand works best with:

• Cream

• Bright white

• Dark rich woods

• Linen with yellow tones

• Limestone

• Bronze

• Caramel, toffee and rust colours work in harmony

• Orange is a great contrast

Off white/cream

Probably the most tranquil colour because it softens everything and doesn't demand much from your senses. That said, to really make your cream work pair it with:

• Off white/cream

• Sand and brown enhance the harmony

• Lots of natural light

• A variety of textures in the fabircs

• Linen with a green undertone

• Navy blue and chocolate brown are great contrasts

Pure white

Far from being the safe option a pure white is a clean, fresh and bold colour option for your home. I consider white one of the most vibrant colours to design with so set off its best properties by including the following elements in your design:

• Taupe adds contrast

• Sand adds freshness

• Grey lifts the colour even more

• Pops of red and orange are striking

• Marble and ceramics

• Bleached woods

• Perspex

• Sheer fabrics to enhance summery feel

Neutral colours are not very neutral at all. Enhancing their unique properties and playing with textures brings a level of sophistication to your space.

See how I tackle colour in my new series Superior Interiors with Kelly Hoppen on Channel 5 Tuesdays at 8pm.

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