Which is better: Colors or Neutrals?

Modern Dining Set and Upholstered Chairs

After weeks of staring at paint swatches, comparing eggplant purple to forest leaf green, you finally got up the courage to buy the paint color and put it on the walls. It was bold and beautiful, until it wasn’t. Suddenly, grey was everywhere. It’s so fresh, so clean, so simple. But will it last? Is it possible that this clean, soothing color palette could ever become unappealing and even go out of style? Is it worth replacing everything? 

In the past decade or so, neutrals have replaced color at the forefront of the interior design industry. Rich red sofas and blue carpet made way for white linen, grey walls, and texture. Neutrals have a relaxing, updated, hotel-like allure to their simplicity. Neutrals are a breath of fresh air that may be here to stay for a while, but there are some important tips to remember before white-washing your entire living space.  Below, OP Jenkins Interior Designer Kim Jackson gives her go-to tips when balancing colors and neutrals.

“A neutral design doesn’t mean “blah”,” Jackson says. “ A neutral design can be soothing, clean, and interesting; but done wrong it can be stark or boring.”

One of the most common fears preventing people from transforming their home into a clean, bright space is the durability of it all. Neutral looks amazing when clean but is often intimidating with children or pets who are accident-prone. However, Kim says to leave those worries in the past.

“You need not fear upholstered fabrics in light or neutral colors,” Jackson says. “There are now wonderful performance fabrics that are stain resistant, and products professionally applied that can help keep those sticky fingers from leaving permanent stains.”

Another common fear is that neutral spaces have to be minimalist—which is not always realistic.  Kim Jackson often creates spaces that are both clean and comfortable to live-in, but notes that sometimes the trick to achieving this lies within an interior designer’s creativity and expertise.

“A clean palette means just the right amount of accessories…too many equals clutter; too few equals not done. The right selection of furniture frames, fabrics, and textures make all the difference in a more neutral palette.” 

As far as the old, ‘keep color families together’ rule? Kim disagrees.

“Warm colors and cool colors can and should cohabitate,” Jackson says. “A good interior designer can help you achieve a look that is clean but not cold feeling.”

All this talk about neutrals, but pops of color seem to be poking their heads into new designs. Colors are definitely coming back into the picture. Different colors are popular at different times, but the most important thing to remember in choosing a colorful color scheme is to choose colors you love. You want to love your home for a while. A good designer can help you achieve the feeling and sentiment you want your home to express. If you want to love your colorful home, incorporate a cleaner and more soothing feel into your rooms but continue to be in-style, get an interior designer’s help. They are color experts! If you’re nervous, experiment with colorful accessories and try complementary colors that they live well together.

Visit one of our OP Jenkins stores to work with a designer and find or special order a wide variety of furnishings that cover the whole spectrum of color and neutrals. Check our “Contact” page for store hours and contact information.