CHALLENGE: Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals . . . I need help in creating a room with character, texture and warmth while remaining in a neutral color scheme! It is so challenging to create a room for a client who is requesting a simple neutral color scheme throughout the home.
Could you please offer some advise or ideas that will create warmth
and keep the lines clean and crisp in the room? I am really challenged
on this one, as all my clients thus far in my business have always
required much higher contrasts in their interiors.
SOLUTION: Neutrals definitely
are a hot decorating topic and will be for the next year or so.
In fact, neutrals appear in so many homes today because they are
a fairly pleasant designer’s choice even though they present
such a challenge. Yet, although the fresh look of neutrals can be
challenging, the pallet is worthy of some attention.
Fortunately, in most rooms there are many elements that can be worked
with or worked around fairly easily to create texture and variation,
which is the answer to how to create interest in a neutral design
In the photograph shown here, the designer’s choice of bringing
in texture with the floor covering was an excellent choice. The
rough texture on the fireplace also stands out and is an excellent
complement to the Lantana™ custom shutters from Hunter Douglas
on the windows. Shutters, in general, provide many advantages when
working in neutrals because they add texture and light variations
to a room’s interior.
What’s more, the shutters shown here are constructed of a specially
engineered polymer and will not warp, crack, chip, shrink or fade
and are easily cleaned. What more could a homeowner want for ease
of maintenance? Aluminum reinforcement throughout the major stress
points on the shutters will provide added strength, making the shutters
a smart choice for years to come.
Many times, when the shutters blend in with the wall color, additional
elements are required to break up the monotony of the room. These
elements need to include various amounts of warm textures and patterns.
For example, the decorative pattern on the coffee table adds personality
to this room. The period furniture is a welcome counterpoint to
the sharp contrast and the straight lines of the art piece on the
base of the fireplace hearth. The weathered look on the large clock
above the fireplace serves as a focal point in the room and adds
While basically monochromatic, this room feels warm and cozy throughout,
helped by the comfy chaise lounge with a large overstuffed pillow.
Again, these elements invite others into the room and ask them to
stay! Notice the warm tones on the wall and ceiling. Who says the
ceilings always need to be a lighter color? This is personal preference,
based on the room and the height of the walls.
As with all design decisions, be sure to ask the client how much
texture and warmth he or she wants in a room. What is the room used
for? Do you entertain frequently? Is ease of maintenance a priority?
The first time you interview with your client, be sure to have a
Client Profile Sheet ready to ask the client about these important
preferences and what they would like to see included in the room’s
design and final outcome.
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written
by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions
we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions
Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question
you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential
and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty
member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured
in numerous books and publications.