The Case for Neutrals
October 20, 2011
I could read shelter magazines all day, admiring all of the bold designs within the glossy pages. Yet I find more and more I am drawn to spaces with neutral palettes, especially ones with multiple layers of texture and pattern. What’s true is that beige, cream, and taupe don’t have to be boring. Instead, they can be sophisticated, serene, interesting, and inviting when done right.
When I look at what makes a neutral space successful, it’s the combination of several design elements. With a neutral palette, the visual interest comes from the shapes of the decorative objects chosen, the contrast between light and dark, the addition of warm wood tones, the addition of metals or metallic sheens, and the layering of pattern and texture.
I find a neutral bedroom to be soothing and restful. Below is one of my most favorite bedrooms where several different patterns are present. Beyond the linen headboard, you’ll see a matelassé coverlet, herringbone throw, damask drapes and a textured accent pillow combined with classic French style furnishings.
Neutral bedrooms avoid the boredom factor when multiple layers of texture and pattern are part of the design.
This family room space is so incredibly cozy despite its lack of color. The chunky area rug, various throw blankets, and mixture of leather, wood, and upholstered fabrics all combine to form a space anyone would be comfortable in.
Gold accents always pair well with neutral fabrics like in these two elegant sitting rooms.
Here is a no fail neutral combination: cream upholstery with exposed wood legs, woven shades, and patterned window panels. The set up is timeless and all you need to do to add a pop of color is change out the accent pillows with the seasons, add fresh flowers or a throw blanket, it works every time!
In this family room, a pale sofa is paired with a textured sisal rug and there’s a touch of pattern on the accent pillows. The pops of blue are just the right touch to prevent this neutral family room from becoming too blah.
Texture texture texture is what it’s all about! Woven and wood materials ground this serene beachy place.
Here’s another combination of cream upholstery and dark furniture legs that never fails. The traditional table and architecture add an air of elegance.
The neutrals in this nursery feel more sophisticated with the use of grown up elements like a bergère chair and crystal chandelier.
These next three spaces have one big thing going for them: stone walls! Paired with wood tones and fantastic chandeliers, the interior walls of stone add amazing natural texture.
It’s all in the details below. Look at all the variations in shapes and texture pulled together in a neutral palette. A coral chandelier, grasscloth wallpaper, bamboo lamp shade, mirrored sconces, and natural wood floors set a stunning scene in this dining room.
I’m such a fan of neutral dining spaces which allow the entertainer to add any color whatsoever to any tablescape. Top it off with a classic golden chandelier, and it’s perfection in my eyes.
Neutrals play well together when old world style is on display like in this bathroom combining baroque carvings, marble accents, and European inspired lighting.
Taupe walls are anything but boring when partnered with crisp white wainscoting, large scale art, and fabulous home accents like those perfect stools tucked underneath a modern curved console.
Cool grays like in this foyer are warmed with the choice of woven baskets, wood floors, and accessories in golden hues.
The best neutral spaces combine contrast and texture with pattern, so why not take yours up the wall with gorgeous wallpapers like these.
What say you? Do you find neutral spaces as soothing as I do, or do you require more color in your home? Got a favorite neutral space you adore? Do share.