Inspiration: Layering Soft Cream and Bright White

Ordinarily I'm drawn to bright colors, but somehow these brisk fall days put me in the mood for rooms with textured layers of cozy neutrals. Cream and off-white tones can be used to great effect to soften up bright whites...

Cooler, brighter whites can be energizing, but they can also overwhelm or seem stark, especially in rental apartments where bright white walls are sometimes mandatory. Layering cream and ivory against the white has an instant softening effect. Work in wood tones as well for even more warmth. You can add accents of saturated color (third photo) if you want a more eclectic or edgy look. Or try an off-white paint in a bathroom, where bright white porcelain often dominates (last photo).

Playing with textures adds another dimension too. Try pairing a glossy white, like a modern tulip table, with a rustic, creamy linen upholstery (second photo). Or bring in an off-white flokati or other shag rug to set off hard white walls.

Do you like to layer warm and cool whites at home? How do you make it work?

(Images: Livingetc (1 and 2); I Suwannee; Angus McRitchie/Canadian House and Home (4 and 5); Bloesem Kids; Isabel Asha Penzlien/Design*Sponge; Decor8)