Thursday, September 3, 2015

Design Dilemma: Colourful vs. Neutral

As you know, I stalled out during the makeover of my dining room/study during the One Room Challenge last spring. One of the (many) reasons was this perpetual dilemma I have with colour.

Chiefly, I am not sure how much I can live with.

I love colour.

I crave the sophistication (and calm) of neutrals.

For some reason, I had planned to make over my dining room/study all in neutrals.

But, I have my bookcase, I thought.

And its contents are anything but neutral!

There are a few neutralized Expedits and bookcases out there.

I thought long and hard about how I might neutralize my own Expedit.  I even went to IKEA to look for those square woven baskets. (My local IKEA does not have them.) But of course, there are all those colourful scrapbook spines to deal with.

So how about those bookcases which are colourful and allowed to sing, as it were?


Did you notice something?

In almost all the examples where the bookcase is colourful--the rest of the room is neutral. (The patterned footstool and pillow in the image above are still neutral.)

But what about using colour with abandon? Colour everywhere?

Gah--navy blue and pink. Traditional + modern. Gorgeous.


Ok, so, this isn't exactly using "colour with abandon," but it really isn't using any less colour than the example above: it's just softer.)

source (original seems unavailable)

This is a lot of strong colour!

And, of course, there's Edie's riotous workroom:

So, OK, Edie's workroom may have ust defined what's "too much" for me: but a million possible variations lie before me, still.

Where do you fall on the colour spectrum?

a) Oh, my eyes! Neutrals only, please.
b) Lovely bits of colour, just here and there.
c) Served strong just like my coffee: straight up, and lot of it!


Anonymous said...

I love color, but in my own home prefer it against a neutral background (white walls and wood trim). I think so much depends on te architecture of the room (larger rooms can usually handle more variety) and how we will use the room. Also, life stage- with two young children I want things to look "cleaner" even if they are not... All that to say, I love what you're doing with the whole house freshen up!
And I hope you're feeling better every day. Always glad to see a new post from you!

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks, Sarah. So gratifying to hear! Funny, when my kids were younger, my house was more colourful. I think our tastes change with the times--looking back, the house seems unbearably cluttered (and not just 'cause of the kids.) There were too many tchotchkes, too many pictures on the walls, too much furniture, too much pattern. Our collective sense of what looks good has changed.

MMarie said...

Hi Alana,
I think I'm a lovely bits of color here and there.

I grew up in a home with vibrant wallpaper (red and tan kitchen - yikes), too many things displayed, and too much clutter. Each time I returned to my white walled apartment from my parents, I felt much more relaxed. Like Sarah said, even if it wasn't completely clean, it felt cleaner because there wasn't so much stuff and bold colors everywhere.

Currently I have a neutral (oatmeal colored) couch with similar colored rug, and a few pops of color in pillows, chair, throw blankets, and one accent wall a vibrant color. I would change some things if I could, but it works in our home and for our family right now.

I am slowly working on our family room, repainting it from grungy blue grey to white and I LOVE it. I made a slipcover for an old chair, and did it in off white, and I love it. My friend wanted me to make it more colorful but I just couldn't because I didn't have a solid plan for the space and I wanted the option to move it to another room.

I'm no minimalist but like my clutter tucked away in a box, on a shelf, or in a cupboard. I mostly prefer pops of color.

Alana in Canada said...

Sounds lovely, MMarie. Very relaxing. I think my Mom has similar taste to yours--she wants white everywhere!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

White walls, and lots of color in paintings, etc. :-) I love color.

Alana in Canada said...

I can just picture it, Lorraine. Sounds cheerful.

Rita Ramstad said...

Such a great question. I found myself loving all of your images (except the last one--too much for me, too). I love color, but am not sure I know how to do it well. I've always thought white walls were boring, but we've shifted to a soft off-white for much of our house, and I'm really liking it. It's calm, and I find that it allows me to play with color in ways that are more manageable for me, building my understanding of it (and skill with it). Looking forward to seeing what you end up doing.

Alana in Canada said...

Thank you, Rita. Two signs I'm getting old--loveing white walls and silence! But it's all in a quest for calm.

Christina O said...

Have you decided yet?

I love other people's houses. ;) Neutrals are just so my personal style.

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