first published May 8 2020
Quarantine Week 8: It’s Time to Neutralize
Time is crawling. Time is flying. Time is meaningless. Time is precious. We are all living in a world filled with contradictions and now more than ever our homes are working overtime. We work, play, eat, sleep and socialize from within our interior spaces. Moreover, we have a lot of time to get inspired and improve the rooms within our homes.
For me, this has meant an increased desire to simplify and neutralize my interiors without stripping them of character or color. Neutral interiors can provide a calming space to dwell while remaining inspiring. They are a wonderful canvas from which to build upon and lead to some fun “research” in the Hammertown photo archives and on Instagram and Pinterest. After falling down the rabbit hole as they say, I isolated some interior designers who have clearly mastered the Neutral Interior as well as some common themes that lead to interiors that are both complex and varied, but neutral and calming at the same time.
Here is what I discovered:
1) Wood and Natural Fibers Add Depth and Texture.
A successful neutral space is a layered one filled with variety. Calming and pleasing to the eye, but filled with nuances and subtle shifts in texture and form. From grasscloth walls and chunky wood tables to sheepskins and rattan, incorporating natural fibers and wood pieces into your neutral interior plays with the eye and gives your space layers of character.
2) Color and Pattern Can Work Wonders.
While not for everybody, I really enjoy neutral interiors that have hints of color and pattern. Even in an otherwise quiet space, these moments can be comforting and calm. From rusty reds to ochre and indigo, bringing color into a space via textiles and artwork can add an element of surprise without distracting. The same is true for pattern. At Hammetown we can’t see any reason a vintage rug or textile is not at home in a neutral space. The muted tones of aged rugs or the calming texture of a vintage grain sack bring life and soul to any room.
3) A Touch of Black ALWAYS Works.
Punctuating a space with black is NEVER a bad idea, especially when it comes to an otherwise neutral space. This theory also extends to metallic and metal finishes as well. These touches draw the eye and are grounding…it’s the punctuation that takes an otherwise neutral space to another level.
4) Play Around with Shape and Silhouette.
When you have a neutral palette another way to pull the eye through the space is via furnishings with quirky and unexpected shapes.
So, as you see, neutral is not about being ambivalent…at least when it comes to design. It’s all about making thoughtful, inspired choices. As long as we have time on our hands, I encourage all of you design enthusiasts to play around with some of these ideas. Send us photos of your results…we’d love to see them!