Neutral Color Schemes
Neutrals come in all colors.
No way around it, current design plans are obvious in their lack of pattern and the color schemes for 2014 seem almost monochromatic. Take a stroll through Houzz or any shelter magazine on the racks and you will not see much pattern in a room. Very little in fact, and if there is any pattern it is muted, used in small amounts, and acts as a support for the main pieces in the room. For example no pattern on the sofa, chairs, ottoman, or bed coverings.
Texture is what it’s all about. Low-contrast is a concept some of us in the business have believed in for years, but it is finally becoming a buzzword concept in design.
If you’ve read this column much in the past, you know that I believe that contrast is what makes a room feel small and cluttered. I also believe that calm rooms start with calm colors, and while some designers insist only warm colors can be calming, I believe that any color can be calming if used muted, at a low-value, and in a scheme of low-contrast. Huh??
Translation: Soft, almost pastel gray-blue, used with slightly darker gray and soft white for trim, for example. Blue is a cool color, but if the textures in this room are nubbly linen or cotton, maybe some chenille or velvet, a shag rug, some rocks, and wood, it becomes a cozy, calm room; the color schemes for 2014 are soft and gentle.
You may not have to re-paint
Short story: A few years ago I was asked to help a gal update her living room. The color scheme was beige, peach, and blue. Yup, hadn’t been touched since the early ’90s. Blue sofa, beige walls, blue and beige carpet, peach, blue and beige throw pillows, and peach lamp shades. The fix was so simple: we removed all the peach components. The room looked fantastic, the client was pleased as punch because she really didn’t want to start all over anyway, and her husband loved the fact that all we did was buy four new lampshades.
How to pick a new color scheme
The way to pick a new color scheme starts with a good understanding of how colors make us feel. Colors in our rooms do, indeed, affect how we feel, how we perceive our surroundings, how we sleep, and how we get along with others. It’s not an accident that pink — a color which calms and soothes — has found its way onto the walls of jails. Next column I’ll explain a step-by-step process to pick a color that works for your home.