We've been immersed in bold colors for the Fall Colors Contest and wanted to highlight some of the more subtle color palettes that can be every bit as interesting. Maybe you're not ready to paint the walls, or maybe you're just looking for a neutral base to start with, here are some subdued palettes that keep it interesting with texture, wood and warmth:
Faithful reader Spins LP's recently added pictures of his loft to the LA Flickr Pool and we were smitten. His use of subtle changes in colors and tones make the space feel open and warm but not the least bit boring. One reason it works is because of the varied textures in the rug, the blinds, the wood, and the lampshade. Those textures mixed with colors that are all in the same gray, beige, mustard and white range make it feel uncluttered but cozy.
We mourned the day that Bluelines closed its doors, but we still have some of their rooms in our inspiration folder. What makes these 2 rooms work is that they've stuck to a simple palette: on the left it's white, wood and off-white with the flowers and the books on the table adding a little kick, on the right it's beige, white, black and wood with the books adding all of the color in the scene. In both cases, the base for the room is incredibly simple: an off-white base with either white or black set against it. Accessories add some visual interest but there' no bold swath of color to make it interesting, it's in the details.
Another way that neutral palettes don't get boring is when you play up good lighting. Obviously magazine photo shoots can trick the lighting anyway they want, but if you have a window that gets great morning light or if you get the sun setting in your kitchen window, play to that. Let that light bring the color to your place. These are two examples from Domino where the rooms are fairly neutral but, again, not boring or plain or austere. They feel warm because of the use of wood, the soft textures in bedding and the blanket on the chair, the linen roman shades in the dining room and the beautiful light.
This bedroom, from one of the Chinese design mags we picked up on our trip, uses texture in the curtains, the bedding and the sheepskin rug to keep it from going too bare. using slightly different shades within the same color family also keeps the eye moving around the room.
[Hero Image from desire to inspire]