Monday, June 21, 2010

neutral and classic doesn't have to = boring

After I had such a grand time putting together a clothing look the other day, I thought it would also be fun to illustrate the same principle with a sofa. With the clothing post, I shared how I might wear a very traditional, classic, pinstripe shirt from Banana Republic in a way that felt up-to-date and a little bit fun. Here, for a sofa, I chose the furniture version of a classic button down. A neutral sofa with great lines.

Like this one. The walls in the room would be painted Benjamin Moore's White Dove in a flat finish. Gray sofa. White walls. Neutral floor. Boring, right? Hold on...

Then, earlier this afternoon, while the children were seriously engrossed in pretending to be Hannah Kearney, Julia Mancuso, and a handful of other winter Olympians, I putzed around on Etsy. I know I said I wasn't really a navy girl. You'll have to forgive me. That was before I found
these. Maybe just one.

And to really get a serious pop of pattern and color, two of these one in each corner, with the navy fretwork pillow from above set in front of the left one :) I didn't realize I liked dragons so much, but this Schumacher fabric is super, super fun in very small doses. Like two pillows. These 3 pillows seem very happy to me.

Then, if I were really feeling spunky and if, say, it were the dead of winter and I really needed a boost. I might be coerced into using these on the windows (but without the tiebacks).

With white walls, I might be able to handle the orange :) They seem a little scary, but worth trying out. They're only curtains after all, and one of the best things about a neutral space is how much room you have for experimentation.

These green ones would be a little safer. Blue and green are possibly a tad too preppy and expected, though. I do think they would look wonderful with crisp, white walls and a mostly neutral room. Polo, anyone?

They both seem pretty dramatic for everyday, all year. I'd probably stick with the white window treatments most of the time. The colorful curtains are very fun, and I might like them for a little while (especially at those awesome IKEA prices), but I'd be far more likely to stick with the white window treatments and just add some apricot-colored flowers and some green McCoy vases, instead. Or, OR, I could just try to really keep the accents extra traditional and classic, like with blue and white transferware, and - who knows - maybe the orange would work.

So, put all together, our neutral living room would wind up something like this...

Hmmm... that's actually not all too much boldness is it? I kind of like the complimentary color scheme when it's on this neutral background. I like the multiple shades of blue and the flowers being a slightly lighter tone of apricot/orange than the curtains. It looks kind of Suzanne Kasler on a much less Kasler-y scale.


Or it would look like this...

Kind of boring, isn't it? It needs something. Those flowers are too blah now that they aren't echoing the curtain color anymore. Let's make them red.

That's a little better, but I think the curtains need to be more vivid - closer to kelly green. Eh - I'm not feeling the green curtains.

Now, what about if I just left the curtains classic, fresh white like the walls?

What do you think? I think the crispness totally adds to the look. White curtains are like a deep breath for me. Plus, the colors just pop out more with all that white. But, I do think the room needs something. It's just a little too safe. It needs something unexpected.

It needs - Madeline Weinrib.

That's it. That's perfect. That rug actually makes my heart palpitate.

If you have a moment, maybe you could check out my list of defining characteristics for our style in the sidebar. It's definitely still developing, but do you think this pretend room seems to line up with those elements?

P.S. I couldn't help it. Sam's working late - so I did one more :)

All I'm really changing in these is the rug and the curtains. Nice illustration of how easy it can be to get a completely different look with just one or two changes when you have a neutral base. Thanks for your thoughts, guys!


Jen said...

I like the first picture with the orange curtains the most, but those would be a little much with the zig zag rug. I'm having a hard time picturing all of this in a white room - I'm not a huge fan of it against the white background of your blog, but maybe the paint you specified would soften it a little. I think a really soft and subtle gray paint would be nice too - so pale that it's almost white but still adds a little. I think these room mockups follow your design style from your sidebar except for the one that says "white with high contrast neutrals." I'm not sure all the orange and blue being considered neutrals. I really like all the pieces you chose and the format of this post!

Jen said...

You added a picture! I really like the orange curtains with the gray rug.

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

I just read your post about your clothing style and then this post and I have to say they seem very consistent. I personally think the orange curtains add the punch that your rooms need. I really like the last room the most, as it has the orange drapes and the zigzag carpet, but it is a bit toned down by being in gray. It's a good exercise.

Erika said...

I am love with the one with the white curtains and the zig zag rug. I have come back to look at it several times :) I am a huge fan of rooms that are peaceful and calm and beautiful and don't have lots of high contrast and aren't "busy". Whatever you might choose I really like the format of this post as well....maybe you will do another one sometime :)

Jacci said...

Thanks for your thoughts, ladies :) I'm glad you liked the post format - it was really fun to do. Plus, there's the added bonus of helping me think through color and the different elements of a room. Now, if I just had the cashola for that zigzag :)

Rebecca said...

I think the last one looks like something you would see in a decor magazine! Good Job!!