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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NEUTRAL TERRITORY - It doesn't have to be boring!

Think neutrals are boring? That's not the case when they're paired with unique global treasures, interesting contrasts, and rich textures. When it comes to color, sometimes less is more!
Neutral color schemes get a bad rap. Too many model homes with drab walls and matching carpets may be the culprit. Nothing can calm and balance a space as well as neutrals. However, many homeowners, afraid of a color disaster, overuse a neutral color scheme to the point of being bland. Decorating with neutrals can be a very chic approach to a room, you just need to create enough interest in the space so it doesn't put you to sleep!
Thinking of neutrals as chic rather than bland and you're well on your way to having beautiful rooms that you love. Use contrasting textures, shapes, and finishes to keep a room dynamic, and - if you must - introduce color with accessories such as pillows, throws, and painted artist's canvases.

  • Connect to the natural world using nature's elements in all their glory. A neutral palette and natural textures create a serene scene of organic shapes and materials. 
  • Use a peaceful neutral palette when marrying two formerly separate spaces in your home.
  • A neutral color palette is ideal when the view outside undressed windows is your focal point.
  • Warm, sun-baked colors give rooms a sense of down-to-earth elegance.
  • Pairings of darks with lights and antiques with trends evolve into a space bursting with personality. Neutrals ranging from chocolate brown to white wrap the room. Contemporary furniture mixed with antique accents set a unique tone and bring old and new together.
  • Contrast is key to decorating with neutrals. For example, taupe, bright white and a dark cabinet work well together.
  • Using warm colors - ivory tones and taupe -  will create a sophisticated space without the sterile feel.
  • Do use gray as a neutral! Varying different shades of a color is a great way to make a room feel cohesive without feeling flat.
  • Decorating with a neutral palette can be gender-free and keep both men and women happy! Textured pieces, such as a leather pouf and faux fur pillow, add charm while the color scheme creates a space that's livable for the whole clan.
  • Think in textures. Neutral tones in different textures appear as different tones and colors. This keeps neutral colors exciting to the eye, and exciting in your space.
  • Think in contrasts, like warm verses cool or textured verses polished. For example, pair a nubby neutral burlap chair with a polished steel table. Gleaming, dark woods, glass and other shiny surfaces often pair well with a neutral’s natural color palette.
  •   Think in layers. For example, if neutrals comprise the main color scheme of your space, layer colors, textures and tones on top of your foundation. Use contrasting shades as accent colors, or darker tones of the same color to add depth.
  • Think in patterns. Neutrals look lovely when paired with patterns or when used in a pattern. Patterns add movement to a space, something that may be lacking in a room dominated by neutrals.
  • A neutral is the perfect backdrop for Ethnic Cottage Decor. It can showcase your collections, your souvenirs, your treasures from your travels.
  • And most importantly:  Think in undertones. Not all neutrals work together, especially if you are bold enough to go with a chic, monochromatic neutral color scheme. A neutral color can have warm or cool undertones. When decorating with neutrals, choose a balance of warm and cool undertones to make your neutrals work together. Some examples of warm neutrals include beige, cream, putty and brown. Some examples of cool neutrals include grey, grey/blue, stone and white.
Some of the rooms pictured here have a single neutral, some are monochromatic, some use one bright accent color. 

Attribution at the bottom of this post. If there's a name on it - like Elle Decor is here - then it's obvious!

Martyn Lawrence Bullard
More Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Ralph Lauren

Curious Sofa

Alexa Hampton

Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn
Rose Tarlow

Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn

My own ethnic cottage dining room wall.

William Frawley awesomeness
More William Frawley awesomeness
Sibella Court
All the above unattributed photos or those that do not have the magazine logo on them are from - in order of use -
Apartment Therapy, Lonny mag and Pinterest.
All photos below are from