The New Neutral: How to Decorate with Sand

This neutral is a world away from magnolia – if you’re loving it, here’s what the experts say...

Set to be the new grey, sand offers another option to score a luxury look. Paint the skirting in a deeper hue to frame this up-and-coming colour.

‘Like other natural shades, this one creates a sense of calm while providing a simple backdrop. There’s a suggestion of warmth with sand that you might not get from other neutrals,’ says Annie Sloan, colour and paint expert.

Walls painted in Jitney No 293 estate emulsion; skirting in Green Smoke No 47 estate emulsion, both £46.50 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball.

HOW TO USE SAND

BEST SAND PAINT COLOURS

BEST SAND PAINT FOR SOUTH FACING ROOMS THAT NEED WARMTH

Sandcastle matt emulsion, £14 for 2.5L, Crown.

‘Sand hues range from earthy browns to those with more of an ochre inflection. It’s wise to avoid those with a yellow undertone in north-facing rooms, as these can appear green in the winter months,’ advises Paula Taylor, colour and trends specialist at Graham & Brown. ‘The right tone in a dark room will bring sunshine to a space; the wrong one could create an effect you hadn’t planned. Too much yellow undertone can also look like magnolia, so choose a shade with just the right amount of warmth.’

BEST SAND PAINT FOR COMBINING WITH CREAMY OFF-WHITES

Sand 96 chalky interior matt, £47.50 for 2.5L, M&L Paint.

‘Paint your ceiling in a warm sand to make your room feel cosy. Contrast this with white or neutral walls for a dramatic statement that isn’t overpowering,’ says David Mottershead, managing director at Little Greene.

BEST SAND PAINT FOR USING NEXT TO BEECH, PINE OR NATURAL STONE WITH A RED UNDERTONE

Cocoa Sand interior paint, £21.50 for 0.94L, Benjamin Moore.

‘For something more industrial, try a smudgy sand combined with washed tones of cream, grey and brown,’ suggests Judy Smith, colour consultant at Crown.‘ Keep to this palette for furniture and furnishings, as well as walls and floors.’

BEST SAND PAINT FOR WARMING UP A BATHROOM

Beach resistance matt emulsion, £44 for 2.5L, Graham & Brown.

‘If you prefer a strong, modern look, team it with deep mustards, charcoal greys and black,’ says Annie Sloan. ‘Complementary accent colours include soft sage greens, moody violets and lavenders that lend a sophisticated look.’

BEST SAND PAINT FOR MAKING A STATEMENT IN A SUBTLE WAY

Donkey Ride claypaint, £43 for 2.5L, Earthborn.

‘Rich shades can really make a room pop when painted on a feature wall,’ says Sue Kim, senior colour designer at Valspar. ‘To achieve a more ambitious and on-trend look, you can experiment with a beautiful ombré effect by blending several complementary sand shades together. It will look sensational.’

BEST SAND PAINT FOR PAIRING WITH BOLD COLOUR

Clay Deep absolute matt emulsion, £45 for 2.5L, Little Greene.

‘When you’re thinking of accent colours, look to nature for inspiration,’ says Nelly Hall, brand director at M&L Paint. ‘Sand is a crucial element of any beach scene, so that’s an ideal starting point. From calm and serene hues to storm shades, many blues, teals and greens will add a perfect contrast to the colour sand.’

Want to know about other neutrals?

Find out how to Decorate with White here.

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