Neutral tones and Scandinavian minimalist decor has been trending for a few years now. During this time I’ve deconstructed (what feels like) a million homes with the old mustard yellow and ketchup red painted walls that were popular in the early 2000’s. It’s funny how, at the time, those bold jewel-toned colors felt right. Everyone was adorning their drapery with fancy tassels, building busy gallery walls, and layering in heavy crown molding at every corner of their home. It makes sense to me that we went from sensory overload to a “less is better” look. Our eyeballs needed a break and soft hues of neutral and grays became the new norm. It took at least a full five years to numb our brains from the gaudy implosion of pigment that packed a punch so hard it left us wishing for nothing but gray and beige. And now, finally, we are slowly breaking down our walls and allowing a subtle infusion of color and pattern back into our home decor.
Subtle Infusion of Color & Pattern
Every great trend eventually makes its return, and as expected, vibrant pops of retro color and patterns have crawled their way back into the scene. Remember that 70’s avocado green washer and dryer you grew up with? Does anyone in my family want to talk about the floor-to-ceiling pink tiled bathroom we had? It’s all back in style! I’m not itching to paint my walls green (yet) but, I’m excited that pink (or should I say “blush”) is the new black! While the bulk of my home still swims in a neutral setting of gray and beige, the infusion of color and pattern brings new interest to the space.
My Living Room
I wanted to provide you with a bird’s-eye view of my family room. It’s not the best view, given the giant support beam, but it gives you a better understanding of my living room layout.
The Basic Neutrals
My walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Kingsport Gray and the bright white linen drapery is from Pottery Barn. Both full-size sofas are upholstered in warm gray velvet and the two embossed leather chairs are wrapped in bamboo. I added two metal stools in front of the hearth and topped them with plush cream pillows for added texture. My cream heavy shag rug helps to delineate space. The fireplace mantle and hearth is constructed with large slabs of limestone. Unless I win the lottery the pieces in this room won’t be changing anytime soon.
The difference today is that we (when I say “we” I’m including you, too) aren’t pigeonholing ourselves into an expensive trendy purchase like that old gold refrigerator my husband grew up with, or the heavy paisley Jacquard upholstered sofa I grew up with. A neutral base allows you to introduce inexpensive trends, like these pillows, without the financial commitment. But hey, if you have the guts (and funds) to go full retro, do it, sister!
This slim profile gold box frame side table adds a touch of modern love to this space. It’s mango wood top was a lighter finish, but I stained it the rich color of Jacobean by Minwax to warm it up. For a pop of color I added these Pottery Barn heavy woven boho/southwestern-inspired lumbar pillows in pink, avocado green and gold. The oversized natural fiber basket is more than just the keeper of this luxuriously soft ivory faux fur throw. It provides yummy texture and has a unique decorative tulip-shaped lid that draws attention.
The large round rustic wooden mirror was a purchase from Home Goods long ago. To add color to this space I created a clean-lined “gallery wall” by flanking the mirror with 4 oversized floating frames.
The sofa’s throw introduces a bold chevron print into the mix of patterns. One of my most favorite pieces in this room is the vintage-inspired white weathered canvas trunk that serves as a side table.
Designers took inspiration from an antique textile and created the Dara printed lumbar pillow. It’s constructed with machine washable 100% cotton velvet. The adorable sheep is actually a foot stool.
I love to use books to elevate objects, define space, add visual weight and pop in color. In this case, the Valentino and Louis Vuitton books elevate the magnifying glass and decorative pearl box.
This set of books sits atop an oxidized silver rectangular tray that fills the linear space of my rectangular coffee table. For height and femininity I filled a pitcher with flowering white dogwood branches.
I stacked two more books, pages facing out, and elevated a small glass display hurricane . Filled with colored rocks, the hurricane hosts a mercury glass candle pot that adds a luminescent flare and gives off a beautiful mandarin and cedar scent when lit.
Again, unless I win the lottery (and I’m trying), my kitchen is going to stay white with White Springs granite countertops and backsplash. My bar stools are a dark gray linen with washed gray driftwood legs. My kitchen table is from a 2005 Pottery Barn collection that I’ve since re-stained to a dark warm brown and my chairs are linen tufted with antique bronze nailheads.
I’m pretty limited to the amount of color I can pop into my kitchen without anything standing out too much. Here I added subtle touches of color through fresh florals and natural organic accessories such as the wooden tray and cutting board.
3 mini cypress topiaries decorate my kitchen table. They came potted in white boxes that read “garden” and felt French country. I spray painted them gold to match the striped gold and taupe silk drapes.
Did you know that bar carts were created around the prohibition era. They became really popular post prohibition when hosting beverages was wildly chic. These little retro “party carts” have made a fierce return. This time, however, they are assuming sophisticated roles as accessory caddies for just about any room and any reason. I recently styled a client’s bathroom with this same bar cart and stocked it with towels, and bath accessories. Here I used this retro gold cart with mirrored trays to display a set of books and the binoculars we use to spy on the 200+ acres of wildlife we back up to. In the past I’ve use this cart during various parties as a side table to host plates, flatware and napkins. The traveling bar cart is one of my most favorite “furniture pieces” that is both stylish and functional.
I love decorating with orchids because they’re easy to keep alive and they provide a brilliant pop of color. These bright pink orchids are over 3 months old. The two white patterned hurricanes to the right of the orchids were a fun find at my local Home Goods. I use the frosted striped hurricane as a vase to hold these soft pink tulips. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. It’s not until the end of a tulips flowering life, however, do I find it the most beautiful. This is when the tulip has opened up so much that it begins to look like a giant daisy.
This arched doorway leads to a large butlers pantry with wall-to-wall white cabinetry. This is where I store all of my food, pots, pans, and kitchen accessories out of sight. The hexagon multi wood stained tray adds both pattern and color to an otherwise boring nook. I tucked in a small green cactus planted in a light green diamond-embossed pot for more color and pattern.
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