Add a little color, texture to a monochromatic room

May 7, 2010

By Contributor

Q: We try to live an “eco-savvy” life, including things we use in our home — for decorating as well as everyday items, such as cleaning materials. Now our bend toward natural possessions has resulted in a collection of natural colors: all neutrals, like beiges and wood tones. As much as we wanted this to be our look, the end result is almost boring. How can we follow our “natural instincts” and also have an interesting home?

A: Technically, monochromatic means one color, but can quickly become synonymous with neutrals — beiges, browns, creams and grays. To take the dullness out of monochromatic decorating, use different textures, juxtaposed to give the eye something to focus on in the midst of all that same color.

Think slick and shine. For example, a gray glass coffee-table top against the rough-and-tumble texture of a wheat-colored shag rug. Consider a cream silk pillow on a brown velvet sofa, or vice versa. Although the colors are all subtle, a contrast in textures attracts our attention.

Clodagh, an award-winning New York designer who uses one name, is widely celebrated for her harmonious, even holistic interiors; however, occasionally she spikes the neutral brew with a sudden jolt of color.

Clodagh often fills a room with organic materials and natural colors — beiges and ochres that might have been coaxed from boiled tree bark and earth minerals. But a bolt of blue-on-white breezes in to punch things up.

“Vivid paintings can take on the eloquence of stained glass if hung on walls of the right color,” the designer writes in her book, “Total Design: Contemplate, Cleanse, Clarify and Create Your Personal Spaces.”

Walls that are “taupe, parchment, paper-bag brown or, surprisingly, red can reinforce strong pieces,” she said.

So, hang a dazzlingly colorful work of art to set the rest of the room to thrumming.

Source: Creators News Service

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