What's Up in RE+D?

My Little White Lie

Posted on January 2, 2015 at 7:05 AM

I have a dark secret..or maybe it's a light secret...more accurately a white secret...shhh

Have you ever tried to decorate a white painted room? You think throwing boldly colored art at it and adding some shiny things will make it come alive, but the more you add, the worse it gets!!...even adding patterned pillows and blankets and the trendiest textiles don't help and it just looks cheap and unplanned - it's a total design disaster and what do you have to show for it? Several holes in the wall and many lost hours of returning said boldly colored art and shiny things and trendy patterned textiles, topped off with complete and utter self-doubt/loathing!! Ok, so this may or may not have happened to ...um...someone I know, once or twice, maybe thrice(?)

But why??? I'll tell you why... White can be a very sterile, stark and cold color. Sometimes the contrast of adding items that are bolder in color, like red for example, against white is too sharp. So what do you do? Give up, pad the walls for your own protection and rock back and forth in the fetal position because all hope for a well-designed space is dashed?

NO! I'll share my secret - Ideally a warm neutral, such as a light beige or grey paint is a fantastic backdrop for many designs and most stagings. (I love Sherwin Williams "Realist Beige" and "Diverse Beige" - It's great quality paint and the color is subtle, yet warm and works with almost every style.) However, sometimes and especially with home stagings and decorating homes for the real estate market, I don't get to recommend paint colors - I roll up to the property with my go-to decorative rental items and furniture and perform "design-in-a-day" miracles and as Tim Gunn would say, I have to "make it work".

The trick is to embrace the starkness - You achieve a monochromatic color scheme by adding variation upon variation of the same color. Basically, you add MORE white and very soft neutrals. The layers build upon each other and begin to achieve a rich, sophisticated designer look. You add different textures like fluffy rugs and blankets, satin and silk, perhaps the addition of a natural fiber - go nuts with the different textures. Also add items with patterns that vary in size and boldness (no more than 4 patterns in a single room, though). But whatever you do, don’t stray from the color scheme. Your room’s visual interest will come from the variations of textures and patterns you add, not your color! If you want, you could add one or two accessories that are boldly colored for an unexpected pop, but anything more and you may lose the effect.

I love decorating with color, so I don’t always use this technique, but when I do, I find the results are serene, subtle and very visually appealing. It’s very easy to do, so give it a shot and happy decorating!!!


Categories: Interior Design + Home Staging

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