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This season's surprising new neutral is a grown-up take on lilac – paint experts say it embraces 'muted sophistication'

 Dusty pink and purple painted wall with marble coffee table decorated with books and trays, fireplace displaying artwork.
Dusty pink and purple painted wall with marble coffee table decorated with books and trays, fireplace displaying artwork.

We don't know about you, but we've been seeing lilac everywhere. Although the spring season typically always calls for a comeback of the much-loved pastel colour palette, it's pretty undeniable that lilac is currently the most popular – so much so that it might be veering toward the possibility of being crowned as an honourary member of the neutral palette.

Despite the ebb and flow of colour trends, neutrals are a scheme that has proven timeless. However, no longer are neutral living room ideas simply filled with your classic beige, taupes, and greys. Now they include a mix of understated light greens and blues.

Now, we're making way for this light lavender hue to carve a niche as the new neutral staple this spring.

Modern white kitchen, large lilac breakfast bar with high bar stools, low hanging pendant lights
Modern white kitchen, large lilac breakfast bar with high bar stools, low hanging pendant lights

Why lilac is the new neutral

'Pastel colours have undergone a grown-up revamp in recent years with the introduction of lilac shades taking centre stage in our homes,' begins Chelsea Clark, head of brand at Lust Home. 'Containing a heavy dose of white, the pastel palette offers brightness, with low saturation for a soft and soothing effect that is easy on the eye – they can almost play as neutral.'

Sarah Lloyd, Valspar's paint and interiors expert adds that because 'pastels have a minimalistic approach to interiors, there is a chance we will see them used more as a 'neutral' colour this season'.

The rise of lilac within home decor trends is something we've already seen in the latest homeware, including Stacey Solomon's George Home spring collection.

Stacey Solomon George Home SS24 collection
Stacey Solomon George Home SS24 collection

Rebecca Snowden, Furniture and Choice's interior style advisor notes that 'lilac can be refined by working it into the quiet luxury aesthetic' because of its 'soft, feminine, and subtle' characteristics.

Given that luxurious living rooms often share the traits of elevated staples, understated hues, and textural experimentation, if lilac has earned a spot in this contemporary scheme, then it's a sure tell that it is increasingly becoming recognised as a neutral.

Lilac painted bedroom with green painted dresser and hanging sundae artwork
Lilac painted bedroom with green painted dresser and hanging sundae artwork

Commenting further on the use of lilac in homes, Flora Hogg, interior designer and colour consultant at Craig & Rose says, 'The muted yet captivating hue aligns with the cosy, nostalgic ambience of traditional and country living. On the other hand, it gracefully adapts to the sleek lines of contemporary homes.'

Ben Thomson, manager at paint distributor Promain goes on to explain that this very versatility is what allows lilac to 'play well with various tones and styles, offering a modern twist on the classic neutrals while still maintaining a sense of balance in a space', lending itself as a staple as far as on-trend colour combinations are concerned.

Flora adds that 'its muted sophistication adds a touch of softness, creating a balanced juxtaposition in modern settings and offering a bridge between the charm of tradition and the sleekness of modernity'. With that in mind, Ben recognises the 'possibility for lilac to carve a niche as the new neutral', which we're keen to explore further.

White painted living room with green ceiling, wooden flooring, marble coffee table, boucle armchair and purple sofa
White painted living room with green ceiling, wooden flooring, marble coffee table, boucle armchair and purple sofa

How to use lilac in your home

Of course, with spring on our doorstep, many of us are likely looking to give our homes a much-needed refresh for the season. 'Replacing those moodier, winter colours with a splash of pastel paint is a sure-fire way to welcome spring into the home,' assures Sarah.

Not to mention, give your home the mood-boosting makeover it deserves given lilac's uplifting yet equally tranquil effect when used in rooms prioritising relaxation, such as in a bedroom colour scheme.

'Consider pairing lilac with a classic navy blue for maximum impact. Or, if you want to style a monochrome space instead, combine lilac with other warm pastel tones to create a hazy softness,' advises Rebecca.

Dusty pink and purple painted wall with marble coffee table decorated with books and trays, fireplace displaying artwork
Dusty pink and purple painted wall with marble coffee table decorated with books and trays, fireplace displaying artwork

However, if colour-drenching your home is not on your radar at the moment, Chelsea suggests embracing the new neutral through the use of accessories such as fabrics and furnishings to inject this must-have colour trend into our homes for 2024, and beyond.

Ben concludes, 'By integrating lilac and pastel colours into interior design schemes, you can create a serene and sophisticated aesthetic. This can immediately evoke feelings of calmness and sophistication, bringing a sense of freshness and lightness to any space.'