In decorating its not the objects as much as the contrasts that make a room interesting.  
There are a million and one ways to decorate a room, but unless you have a little drama - a 
strong contrast - it can still be boring.

Hi Claudine -  I just stumbled on your blog and I really love your pictures and ideas.  I'm going a bit crazy looking at paint colors and noticed you sometimes offer suggestions to your blog 
readers. Would you be able to offer a nudge in the right direction?  I recently purchased these
"light celery" Thai Silk drapes from Restoration Hardware, and need a better wall color. The 
current wall color is Milkweed (Benjamin Moore). It's supposed to be "light   ivory" but  it's just 
off somehow.  The room has this light "maple effect" laminate flooring that I'm stuck with for 
now. (Tundra, from Ikea, chosen by original owner of the house.)  The bed is also quite pale 
(husband's choice before I came along.) The night stands and dresser are natural cherry. 
(Simple Shaker style.) The rug is the "Ivory Oushak" from Karastan. (Discontinued.)  
The rest of the house is a small 1925 Spanish style, typical LA, with original wood floors, 
arches, etc.  I love Spanish style decor - light walls, dark wood furniture, old world touches.  
Unfortunately this room was added sometime in the 70's and is basically just a box with no 
character.   I feel I've been trying to make it more like the rest of the house,  but something is off.
I realize the room is a bit of mishmash, and I honestly don't know how to bring it all together.  I'm not sure how to pick a wall color that will work with the light floors and the curtains. (I can change
out the duvet if necessary.)  I'm thinking I'd like to keep the walls neutral ... but what?  I've been 
looking at Elmira White, Bleeker Beige, Huntington Beige, possibly Nantucket Gray.  
(I have a problem with picking colors that go pinky/fleshy, which I  hate!)  The room faces NE, 
but does get some light.  Any suggestions?  Thank you so much for any help.  Tara

Restoration Hardware Thai Silk Celery
Hi Tara,
The minute I saw your photo, I knew exactly what you are talking about and 
why you are unhappy with this room.  (Visuals are sooo helpful!)  I am not, 
however, convinced that paint is going to be your complete solution.  While 
all of the choices in this room, even the ones you didn't make, are perfectly 
fine on their own, together they just blend together into the same tone. 

Your room lacks contrast. I think that is what you found so attractive in the 
old spanish style decor you mentioned.  So far, all the elements are of 
generally the same value or tone - no real dark and light contrasts.   We can't
change the floor, but like the photo at the top of this page, contrasts don't 
have to be big to add drama and interest.  

Fabrics can also play a very large role in bringing drama to a room.  You have
lovely Thai silk drapes and a beautiful wool Karastan rug.  There is a color 
palette just waiting for you there - 

For paint - the colors you mentioned are perfectly wonderful colors, they are 
just too close to the tones in your room - they are too brown. I can't see 
adding more brown to the room, we already have wood tones in abundance.  
I also wouldn't get too green with the colors.  Nantucket is really a muddy 
green gray, and green overload isn't a good idea.  So my recommendation is 
to go a little blue/green - still in the gray family, still neutral, just adding a 
little blue/green undertone to provide contrast and add another dimension.  
I think the celery color of the drapes will be pretty and fresh against these 
tones, plus we will be pulling in a little color from the rug in the grayish tonesand the greeny blue tones.  

Try these Benjamin Moore paint colors:

Mount St Anne
Benjamin Moore - Mount St. Anne

Iced Marble
Benjamin Moore - Iced Marble


I have deliberately chosen medium tones because the wood tones are light, 
the rug is light, the curtain is light - and we need contrast. Paint big 
2footx2foot squares you can tape to the wall. (You need bigger swatches 
than little 2" squares.) Specifically hold the swatch next to the drapes and 
next to the wood tones and see what color looks best with both.  If you are 
concerned about light in the room, up the wattage of the bulbs, or bring in 
more lamps.
After you have your wall color in the bag, I would definitely change the 
comforter - maybe a white matelasse coverlet and a celery duvet folded down
and you can change out the pillows, adding some deeper colors there.  Adding
crown molding and framing the windows with molding will help bring some 
charm and detail to the room and if you paint it white, will give you more 

The idea is to create greater contrast, but still make it all blend beautifully 
together.  Bring in more contrast with your accents and accessories and your 
room will start to show its personality. 
Here are some rooms to inspire you and that show good contrasts.


Newlywed Diaries

Travel Moon Blog

Pheasant Hill Designs


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