Farrow & Ball's Joa Studholme reveals the new neutral shade that will set the tone for 2021

The color curator urges us to look beyond beloved gray tones and embrace a stylish & subtle new hue

Farrow & Ball new neutral
(Image credit: Jitney No.293 Estate Emulsion Skimming Stone No.241 Estate Emulsion by Farrow & Ball)

Nobody knows color quite like the undisputed queen of paint, Joa Studholme. As Farrow & Ball's top color curator Joa not only observes trends but creates them. So, when she sat down with Livingetc, we were naturally keen to discuss the future of the most aesthetic palette of them all – and discover the new neutral.  

Yes, while nobody knows color like Joa, nothing says chic like a stylish neutral hue that balances our schemes and forms our painted wall ideas. The shade in question was (at least until now) gray – whose subtle tones have blessed the trendiest of interiors – but the day of gray's reign may be numbered. 

Here, Joa reveals the color we need to keep at the forefront of our radar for the rest of 2021, and beyond.

Bedroom painted in Jitney by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Jitney No.293 Estate Emulsion head by Farrow & Ball)

'When it comes to new neutrals, I think that we will be looking at softer tones than the ubiquitous gray so popular over the last decade,' Joa declares. Instead, she suggests we look to a warmer, almost brown tone, such as Farrow & Ball's Jitney, to bless our walls for the rest of the season. 

'Jitney with its warm (but slightly gray!) base was created specifically to herald the renaissance of earthier tones in the home, and the rise in popularity of the stony tones of Shadow White shows that we want both softer woodwork and warmer walls,' she adds. 

Shadow White by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Shadow White by Farrow & Ball)

In discussing neutral tones, Joa also discussed the organic palette surrounding Farrow & Ball's factory amid the rugged Dorset landscape. Secrets behind this beautiful headquarters will air across the UK tonight, July 8th, in Farrow and Ball: Inside the Posh Paint Factory. We already know we'll taking notes for our future modern living room ideas throughout. 

'Colours have been inspired by many places, including beautiful India and mysterious Morocco, but we always hold a great affection for the wonderful countryside surrounding our base in Dorset,' Joa says, before noting more neutral shades to remember. 

Farrow & Ball painted kitchen

(Image credit: Purbeck Stone No.275 Estate Eggshell by Farrow & Ball)

'Purbeck Stone was inspired by the wonderful Jurassic coast, as was Ammonite, while Wevet and Dimpse are both West Country dialects – the former for a spider's web and the latter for a twilight sky – both of which conjure up the colors perfectly,' she adds. 

Are these shades the future for our modern homes? If Joa says so, we simply have to agree. More about Farrow and Ball: Inside the Posh Paint Factory is available to watch here

Megan Slack

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.