Neutral vs Color

Neutrals are essential to me in 'grounding' a room. 
Something to build on, 
to add to...

...but it can be boring as well.
Take for instance this room on the cover of Restoration Hardware.
Can't say it is not a beautiful room BUT
where is the personality? 
 Where is the life? 
 While it's meant to be inviting with the lit fireplace, it still looks cold to me.
Why not toss some pillows with some fabulous fabric to add 
a touch of 'you', your personality here?  

This library is fabulous, I want to curl up here.

This hall could easily go neutral if just the hardwoods were exposed or seagrass were on the floor
and the colorful vases were not there, as well as, upholstering the bench in a light linen.
 What would you do?  Neutralize or keep the color?

This is a bit 'over the top' for me, but color is used quite well in this Miami home. 
Lots of personality, I'll bet the owner is lighthearted and fun to be with.

Michael Smith designed room,  great colors, inviting, warm.

Francis Janisch

I am in love with the wall color of this room designed by 
Barbara Westbrook and Kim Winkler.  
Imagine the color of the walls in the Restoration Hardware cover (which is fabulous) and these chairs in a neutral linen.  While neither is bad/wrong/etc,  the room would lose it's pop.

Ngoc Minh Ngo

I know you have seen these two rooms designed by Daniel Sachs for Nancy Tilgman, a CNN producer.
This is a great use of color....imagine all neutrals.  What do you think?

This dining room is spectacular......can you see beige linen on these chairs?

Don't get me wrong...
and even have plans for some re-do in my own home. 
 I want to challenge us to think about who we are and what do our surroundings say about us.  
Are you comfortable with your home looking like a magazine?  
Have you fallen in the rut of wanting to be like eveyone else?

That peer pressure is a killer!

Does your home feel cozy and inviting?  
That is my goal when I decorate for others and in my own home!

A very good girlfriend of mine who lives in another city had a designer that 
'wanted to take her to the next level' (his words)
 and was creating a totally neutral palate.  She was miserable, it spoke nothing of her and her personality.  She by her own right is a fabulous decorator and truthfully did not need him.  I went down to see her and together we worked on getting 'her' infused in her home.  Today it is gorgeous and a true reflection of her.

A penny for your thoughts.

I can make your home fabulously yours!   
Contact me here!



  1. Tired of everyone wanting what the current trend is. Let your home reflect you.For instance,where are personal photos??I don't care what the experts say!!

  2. Anon - I suppose if you had looked you would have found pix of my home. I 'hear' a sort of derogatory 'tone' in your comment.
    a work in progress and much has been done since these photos...
    I give my name and don't hide behind an 'anon'.

  3. I love colour! Not glow-in-the dark brights, but what I call "off" colours - colours with some grey in them. I've never had a neutral room in one of my homes and probably never will. Possibly because I grew up in a bland, neutral household, where my childhood bedroom was beige and brown.

  4. Great fire-back @ anon Renae. You will never be a designer & a lady who hides behind anything. I think your question and thoughts are quite appropriate. We do see a lot of neutral today & many of us are now torn to not follow the trends & make our spaces stand the test of time. But we as individuals cannot be lost in our designs like you said. What makes a house a home is our personalities shining bright and being true to who we are & what we love. All that said, I'm tortured when coming up with an idea & oddly enough blogging maybe feeds into that fear. I want to be unique and not cookie cutter but don't want to create a monster either. I must live with color. I don't wear a lot of it but I love living in it. The gray wall color and the olive are divine. Great post Renae as always my dear xo xo

  5. This post really resonates with me. I also agree with you and one of the commenters that blogging feeds into this paranoia and intimidation toward trends. I would love to see bloggers speak more to what they personally love than always following the pack and agreeing with the A-listers. I love neutrals and good Belgian design. If that is who you are and what you truly love and can live with everyday, than I say go for it. But I also love warm rich colors, and have chosen them paired with neutrals to live with myself. I just cannot imagine what it would be like if everyone had a white kitchen and their entire house was gray and white with maybe a little black thrown in. Do I like this look? Yes, I have many of these images in my inspiration files. Is it the ONLY GOOD LOOK? A big NO!!!

  6. great post.
    i love neutral upholstery with vivid walls -
    and everything else.

    i see you have the 'lovely anonymous'
    commenter visiting you.
    and i think what the experts say is relevant.

  7. I am not the 6:39 anon., but I think her comments were misunderstood. I think she said what many avid blog readers feel when they see the same styles, neutral color schemes, floor coverings and window treatments in every downloaded picture. How often do we hear the word "perfection" when these schemes are shown and how often do we see the same designers doing the same look over and over again. One's home is a refuge, a place of comfort. It should reflect the taste of those who pay for the design and those who live with it.

  8. Give me color!

    You may have heard by now that the beloved Visual Vamp needs our help.
    I am hosting an online auction this Friday to benefit Valorie and could use a bit of help spreading the word.
    Please stop by my blog for more details.

    Be blessed,

  9. I personally believe it depends where you live. Like for instance...the Miami home is in a very color saturated area...the sun the foliage...everything is more saturated, and that color works well there. More muted wouldn't quite hit it. I like following the colors and the feel outside my door (a tad If I were in CO it would be quite different. And a whole new pallate would ensue.

  10. Oh gosh Renae! I don't think your first commentor was aiming at you. Who would ever?
    I think she was making a general statement and I kind of agree.
    With regard to personal photos...I can see that in a magazine shoot, a homeowner would not want personal photos displayed. However, when a bloggy friend posts photos of their own abodes, I love to see the personal touches.

    All of our homes are always works in progress aren't they? I always say, the day my house is done and perfect is the day I head off to heaven.

    With regard to neutral. I love a soothing neutral look, epecially AFTER the holidays. I always make room for change in my home with the seasons. Keeps things fresh! Your home is lovely Renae and remember (Maria Killam passed on this wisdom to me when I had a snarky commentor once,) No one ever pays attention to the quiet little lamb! It's good to speak your mind and voice your opinion. Otherwise we don't even know who you are. We just love you!

  11. Dear Renae,
    First of all, many, many thanks for popping over to see me and leaving such a lovely comment. Your post is beautiful and a testament to colour. I am a bit of a neutral girl but really do appreciate colour. I live very near to the Willian Morris Museum and was there last friday. He used lots of my favourite muted colours and I used them a lot in the '70's in our late Victorian home. ...we have now updated it with a neutral palate, but still have a grey Victorian geometric print in our dining room.
    I see that you live in Atlanta. We have been to Atlanta and love it and the surrounding area.
    Enjoy the weekend. XXXX

  12. Renae, love your pic!! These are all great images, I do love colour though, and i think a good balance of neutral and colour works for me!

  13. I am the anon.and I was just making a general statement. I am sorry if it was taken wrong!I love your style and love to frequent your blog.Blessings!! Renee C.

  14. Renee C...
    Apologies are mine to you. I did misunderstand. So sorry.
    Thanks you...

  15. I agree with you, Renae - neutrals should be used as a base with colour added for some personality and "pop." There doesn't have to be a lot, but a rug, some cushions, even art, can really lift a room up and make it much more inviting. I find interior decoration which doesn't use colour boring and institutional, no matter how lovely the furnishings themselves. Love the post!

  16. It's the perfect kind of gender neutral decorating! Love the inspiration images. I see a combination of grey, gold,white and neutrals. As well as a pattern on the floor, a settings, and chandeliers,Gorgeous!So well decorated spaces.

  17. I do love neutral colors if they don't end up making a room look like vanilla wafers. I love adding color with wall art, pillows, throws, and glass accessories. As a fine art photographer, I major in vibrant colors, but I also create with soft, whispery pastels as well. Not overpowering, but perfect for adding just a shade of color.


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