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Home Design Strategies: How To Use Neutral Colors To Decorate Your Home

Some people just don’t like to be overwhelmed with color. Usually their home has beautiful white walls, and their wardrobe consists of wearing khaki on a daily basis. Although some people will immediately think of ‘dull and uninteresting’ when presented with the idea of neutral colors, a neutral color palette can be very comforting, uncomplicated, sophisticated, polished, and more. Decorating with neutrals can take a variety of directions and the result is anything but boring.

Your decision to decorate with a neutral color palette means that you will be working primarily with white, off-white, khaki, tan, beige, gray and black. So now that you have made that decision, what is your next step?

You should first determine the two or three main colors for your decorating project, and then select a fourth color as an accent. This is where the design decision becomes interesting. For example, you may decide that your main three colors will include off-white, tan and black. The accent color could be a deeper shade of the tan that you selected (or several shades of tan) and use it on accent pillows, in a patterned area rug, artwork, sculpture, etc. By using lighter and darker shades of tan, you keep the decor interesting but still quite neutral. Black can be quite striking and not overwhelming if used in small quantities.

Or, you may decide to go down a different decorating road and introduce a burst of cherry red in very small and select amounts as your accent color with the palette as described above. Imagine this home office decor: light wood floors with an area rug that has an overall black and off-white pattern. There is a loveseat upholstered in tan with black piping. The windows are dressed with off-white plantation shutters and the wall color is medium tan. The office furniture has a light wood finish, as does the end table next to the loveseat. There is a very simple silk floral arrangement on the end table with bright red flowers in it. On the wall is a contemporary picture framed in black that is neutral overall, with cherry red accents, and on the desk is a sleek, bright red clock. The overall effect is neutral, but striking and memorable.

Texture is another aspect of neutral decor – on the floor, walls, upholstery, window treatments, etc. By using a variety of textures in the room, you will keep things interesting with something other than the literal colors used. If you have carpet, think of using a berber or frieze; try a textured paint product for the walls; select a knubby window treatment fabric; use a contrasting upholstery fabric such as leather to offset other texture selections in the room; find a lamp shade with an interesting shape and texture. As you are making these decisions, however, remember that you want to see an overall balance to the room, so please don’t get too carried away with the whole ‘texture’ idea, or the end result might look a little wild and unplanned. If you are unsure about adding another texture, err to the conservative and refrain.

So go ahead and plan for your neutral decor. There are many ways to create a neutral color environment that run the spectrum from soothing and quiet to surprising and bold, so your room will be anything but dull and boring!

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