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Soft Colors, Big Impact 
The direction of color in Interior Design of today's modern home has changed to the soft romantic shades taken from nature. In the 80's and 90's the predominate colors were that of teal, mauve and stark white. Today however the trend is more towards warm neutral tones from the great outdoors. Terra cotta, burgundy, gold are all part of the back to nature theme. 

Nature's ColorsThe Question is, How do you add these tones to your home without completely redecorating? Walk through your home and determine five or six soft colors that reoccur throughout. Make your selections based on warmer neutral shades with perhaps one or two emphatic colors, such as leaf green or gold. This will be your master list. When determining your colors down play the bolder colors, such as the royal blues and ruby reds, choose more soft and subtle colors. By using your master list in a variety of ways, you can be sure that your home will not be drab. 

The first step is to make sure that you do not skimp on color. Paint your walls and ceilings with a soft warm color from your master list. It is a common myth that your ceilings need to be white. However, they can be painted a 50 % lighter shade than that of the surrounding walls. Be sure to have fun painting the smaller rooms, such as bathrooms, with warm shades. When choosing the colors for your rooms, feel free to vary wall colors from room to room. Just be sure that the colors you are using are from the master color list. 

The next step is to introduce pattern and texture into your scheme. Forget conventions that say sofa fabric should be the same as drapes or that throw pillows must contain all the colors of the Persian rug. Using your master color scheme, choose fabrics that have one or two colors within your overall palette. Also, do not be afraid of using too many different fabrics in one room. With a neutral color scheme, I use about seven or eight different patterns and textures. Remember that wood is part of the scheme, Mix light woods with medium values and some darker tones, and this will provide more interest than using all the same tone of wood. 

Another step that really adds to the overall personality in decorating your home is the selection of draperies. Allow light from the outdoors to come in and add to your home. Do not make the drapes too heavy, keep them simple. For example choose a light tone on tone fabric with a black painted iron rod. 

If you really feel the need to add some punch to your home. a good place is in the dining room. I like to add rich colors in the dining room because pale colors tend to wash out at night, but in the evening, rich tones look wonderful. When choosing these colors use hues from your master list and give them a little more emphasis. A good place to add color is to the walls then accent it on the floor with a rug. 

In the end, items such as pillows, artwork and accent pieces contribute to the visual and detail interest of your home. Just remember to always be cautious in overdoing the color, because if there is too much your eye will not want to go outside and the space will not feel as open and flowing. 
All in all, a neutral color scheme with the influence of nature, is a matter of shading. A room where everything matches comes out flat and dull, but with enough textures and patterns, a neutral palette gives you rooms that are sophisticated and comfortable. This color scheme is easier to live with over a period of time and also profits by not becoming dated as so many other palettes have in the past. 


  • Keep wall color warmer than trim color. Trim color should never be white white.
  • Use textures and fabrics to add visual richness to neutral-colored upholstered pieces.
  • Use natural materials, such as stone, wood and wicker for their rich texture and neutral color.
  • With a neutral background, accessories become very important. Your personal collections, books and artwork add the necessary individuality to any room.

UDA Idea Workshop Journal

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