Right from the jump, a disclaimer: I love neutrals, I have neutral walls in my home and selections of “oatmeal” furniture. Neutrals, whether grays, browns, or whites, play an important role in how we see our space. They create visual resting places, express calm, and are a wonderful canvas on which to splash color and pattern.
Of course, neutrals also have a “dark” side, if I may. And that side, my friends, is b.o.r.i.n.g. In this case, neutrals are not playing a role, they have taken over! These are the neutrals of indecision and fear. Many a living room has succumbed to a slow, beige death. Today, we rescue our tan couches, off-white curtains and taupe carpeting… We’ll envision a wonderfully bright, enticing space, inspired by our vintage style purple Moroccan curtains.
As you can see, the neutral living room scenario above is not all bad. It’s just that all together it’s bad. There are lovely quality pieces galore, but nothing that really defines a style, or says, “this is what this room is about”.
Let’s introduce one piece that can begin to tell the story of the space. I’m suggesting a favorite: Sultan’s Palace vintage style Moroccan curtains. A rich purply-blue ground covered with cream, ochre and turquoise medallions and bordered with a hint of pink introduces instant color and vibe. It’s modern and exotic all at once.
We’re going to assume that the large neutral furniture stays. No problem! Once an anchor piece like our curtains are in place, it becomes much easier to make subsequent design decisions. The curtains are global, specifically Moroccan inspired. Hang a wonderful (and well priced ) quatrefoil mirror and tie in to the eastern sensibility. Replace non-descript lighting and furniture with something that feels global. Try West Elm’s carved wood side table and World Market’s Spindle floor lamp.
1. Sultan’s Palace curtain – Saffron Marigold ; 2. Orange and Gold Dhurrie – World Market; 3. Carved Wood Side Table – West Elm; 4. Spindle Floor Lamp – World Market
5. Quatrefoil Mirror – Lowe’s 6. Verano Sofa – Crate and Barrel 7. India Rose Euro Sham – Saffron Marigold
Of course, accent colors can go just about any which way, but I’m liking pink today. (Honestly, though, I was also very tempted to pull out the gold-tans in Sultan’s Palace and play with those, but…. pink won). Complementary throw pillows are a perfect way to tie a room together. A hand printed cotton euro sham, like our India Rose (in pink!)not only connects to the colors of our ethnic curtains, but also to the soft, natural feel. If you can do this much pink, then by all means add World Market’s orange and gold block printed Dhurrie to the room. It’s smaller than it seems in my collage (2×3) so it’s actually a relatively safe blast of color.
Now this is a room with a real personality – and still with enough neutral space to let you breathe easy. (Of course, I’m ready to experiment with a whole new set of pieces trending toward the gold in Sultan’s Palace, but we’ll save that for another day)!
Hope you’ve enjoyed my design story. I’m curious what elements you like, and what you might have done differently. Let me know!