Whenever I speak at a conference or go to an event or meet people who read my blog in the produce section of Wal-Mart….
….they usually ask me one of four questions.
1. Do I really wear red lipstick?
2. Do children really live in a house with all that white furniture?
3. How do I pronounce my name?
4. Do I really like all the neutral colors in the house?
And the answer is yes, yes, yes and oh wait for it….yeeeeeeesssssssssss…..
….and here’s a little bit more explanation to all four questions.
1. Yes, I wear red lipstick. It’s not fancy. I buy it at the dollar store in the dollar lipstick section and my favorite color is called Fresh.
2. Yes, we have a lot of white and off-white furniture with four children, three cats and three dogs. My secret is this microfiber cloth that they make that you can scrub down upholstery with water and the dirt usually dissolves. Kind of like a magic erasure for furniture.
And I try to keep all the strawberry soda in the kitchen.
3. I’m not particular about my name. Most people say it wrong and I don’t correct them. I’m just happy someone is calling me. But if you are all about pronunciation and saying things correctly, you pronounce my name car (like the car) + long e + anne. It’s norwegian. I wrote a post about my name and where it came from here if you have an extra cup of coffee and want to read all about it here.
4. And neutrals and how I decorate with them? Read on my friend.
Rules for decorating for neutrals that may or may not need to be broken.
1. All neutrals are not created equal.
Did you know that there were 5,026 shade of white?
There’s only 5,025.
You get my point. Whites are warm. Whites are cool. Whites can have a background of pink or yellow or gray or blue.
And the same goes for gray. And khaki. And gold. All neutrals, but….so not the same.
2. Choose your paint color wisely
Here’s some neutral paint colors I am currently crushing on (in no particular order).
Sherwin-Williams Dorian Gray. I just found this new friend. It’s a little richer than Mindful Gray without the green of Anonymous. If you are looking for a gray that’s a little mysterious, it might be the one.
Sherwin-Willliams Ivoire. It’s the perfect go to for neutrals if you like off-white, but you want to take it up a notch. Kind of like the person at the party leading the conga line.
Sherwin-Williams Stamped Concrete. I used this gray to paint the floors upstairs. It’s amazing. And it has this incredible ability to camouflage dirt and make the floors seem almost clean all the time even with stinky socks and two teenage boys.
Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray. This gray is working its way into my heart. It’s almost replaced Mindful Gray and that’s saying a lot. It’s a little softer and cooler than Mindful Gray and perfect for rooms without a lot of natural light.
3. All textures are not created equal
The key to decorating with neutrals is to layer in texture.
Over and over and over again.
Think textiles and pattern and patina and fabric.
Here’s a collage I put together from the family room. See the basket and the table tops and the map and the raised pattern on the fabric and the carved pieces and the aged crackle of the mirror.
All these textures are subtly layered into the space.
And when you put them together they become the “color” in your room.
4. Balance all that neutral with a little green
Real green if possible.
As in plants and ivy and indoor growing things.
There’s just something about a little pop of fresh green that makes all the neutrals sing.
And there you have it.
All the pressing questions of the universe answered in one post.
All you ever wanted to know about Thistlewood and a few extras for the road.
So if we meet at a conference or a retreat or run into each other in the produce aisle of Wal-Mart….
….let’s talk about Poldark instead. 🙂