Miss A Columnist

Denise Willard has over a decade of experience transforming the homes of clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Her work has been showcased on ABC Affiliate, News Channel 8 and published in The Washington Post, Home and Design Magazine, Washington Home & Garden, The Washingtonian, and Elan. She writes a regular design column for Viva Tysons, and has a blog where she shares her interior decorating insights, DreamDesignLive.com .

Denise specializes in creating simple, but elegant transitional interiors that are reflective of her clients' personalities and lifestyles. The combination of her southern roots and urban lifestyle can be seen in her personal design style, which combines the comfort and hospitality of the South with the flair of the big city.

Maximize Your Design Dollars By Going Neutral

If you have a tight budget to redecorate a room or are simply not ready to commit to a certain color scheme, consider going neutral! “Going neutral” may sound boring, but it is actually both a smart and beautiful idea for many spaces.

Why go neutral? If you are on a budget, going neutral is a safe choice because you can always add color or make changes when you have the disposable income to do so. In addition, neutrals are budget-friendly because they are often easier to find via retail sources and demonstrate a clean, classic look that doesn’t “grow old” quickly.  If you opt instead to use this season’s “in” colors for big pieces like a sofa or carpet, you may quickly grow tired of them when next season rolls around and what was “in” six months ago is now “out.”  Going neutral means that you will never have this problem.

Using neutrals like taupes, off-whites, and tans is also a good idea for those who are scared to commit to a color scheme or who have no idea how to incorporate colors that appeal to them into a room. Whether you are on a budget or simply experiencing a color conundrum, the easy design formula below will give you a fail-safe way to have a beautiful home even when you still may be debating the actual colors you want to use down the road.

Step 1: Keep the basics neutral. Select core room elements – wall color, window treatments, upholstery and rugs – in neutral fabrics and designs. In a family room for instance, purchase main furniture elements in neutral tones and fabrics, and move forward from there to pick a complementary paint color, etc. By no means am I promoting an all beige or all taupe room. These first neutral choices will lay the foundation for the colors that you will infuse into your space as your color fear or confusion is overcome.

Step 2: Add color. As you incorporate other elements like art, accessories and accent pieces into the room, consider bringing colors into the mix. These secondary layers of spunk add life to the neutral base and are less expensive than the main act of the sofa, carpet, and so on, which means that they can be replaced inexpensively when you want a quick color swap.

That’s that! I said this was an easy design formula. As an added bonus it is also cost effective, keeping your budget in check and your colors under control!

Here there are multiple pops of color with cranberry and pink hues. Notice that the neutral elements - the walls, sofas, coffee table and carpet - promote a dynamic color scheme even on their own, demonstrating that your neutrals can be just as dynamic as the bolder colors you add to the space. Just because you are staying neutral does not mean the space will be boring!

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