Why Not to Be Neutral About Color?

April 24, 2013  
Filed under Home & Garden

By Rose Bennett Gilbert

Q: We are spending this season working on my late aunt’s country cottage (makes us feel warm imagining the summer). It’s a very plain little house, so our first idea was to make it all white. Nice and clean-looking, but not very interesting.  We’ve already bought white (or off-white) furniture. What’s your advice about adding color — where and how?

A: My advice is, do it! Anywhere and any color you introduce into an all-white scheme will have major impact on the attitude and energy in the room.

The KISS syndrome also applies: Keep It Simple, keeping with the basic cottage nature of your house. Look what a genius stroke of apple green does for the all-neutral country-home living room we show here.

Folk artist and author Terry John Woods devotes his new book, “Summer House,” to romancing a cabin in the woods, a house by the beach, the kind of quiet, simple retreats where childhoods are spent and adults’ memories are laid down.

In the neutral living room of his southern Maine house, (see photo on page 9) Woods demonstrates the power of one perfect color. On an antiquing expedition, he found the old green door in a salvage shop and, he writes, “I just had to have it.” Merely propped against the wall, the door made the all-white room spring to life, abetted by the bright green print on the chair cushions.

That green, by the way, is destined to take on more yellow undertones, according to the latest “Color Pulse” predictions from Benjamin Moore, the giant paint company that keeps close watch on the latest color trends. Here are a few highlights from the “Color Pulse” report presented recently at the New York International Gift Fair:

Turquoise lies ahead on the color charts.

Red is going orangey — more of yellow’s overall influence on the 2013 palette.

Ditto for yellow itself, as it takes on warm red-based overtones.

Dusty roses and mauves are back on the scene.

Metallics are keeping their gleam but not their shine: look for more eggshell finishes.

Wood, one of the world’s oldest materials, is new and important again. Watch for textures inspired by tree bark, for mixes of light and dark woods and for woods deliberately left unfinished and natural.

Coffee — the grounds, not the color — is another natural material that’s making decorative news. Not the same old grind by any means: watch for objects like decorative bowls fashioned from coffee grounds.

Other ordinary materials showing up in unexpected places include man-made decking layered on as wall covering, plumber’s plungers used as table legs and packing materials repurposed into light fixtures. What a bright idea! – CNS

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of “Manhattan Style” and six other books on interior design.


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