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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Designing with One Color

I have been working on a new project recently that has been giving me trouble. It is a beautiful house, right on the beach, for a young family. I have been struggling with getting the right approach, that is sophisticated enough for the parents, but usable enough for the family. I have tried all sorts of patterns, textures and prints, but nothing seems to resonate with me. My work is known for it's subtle blend of pattern and colors, so that is the approach I have been using. This morning i had a breakthrough, though. I have decided to use this great linen texture on everything. It will be Upholstery in the Living Room, chairs in the Dining Room and even some wall upholstery in the Entry. It is going to be terrific!
using a relatively monochromatic color scheme can be tricky, you have to be very careful not to let it get too bland, here are some thoughts on how to bring your singular vision to life:
  • While you may decide to go with one color on all your major pieces, use accent color and texture on things like pillows etc. In my new scheme, I am contrasting the linen texture with some silk and wool pillows, the contrast between a rustic fabric and something more refined, elevates the mood of the room and creates some splashes of interesting color.
  • If you are using predominately one color, you will have to find other ways to create interest, so that the eye will move around the room. I am introducing an old, rustic dining table, this antique piece will give me the interest, I would otherwise have used color to create.
  • If you are going to do most or all of your upholstery in the one fabric, make sure that you change up the shapes. If all of your pieces look similar in shape, then you will run the risk of looking like a "suite' of furniture, you want it to look like a collection that is unified by color, not a last minute purchase at a big furniture store.
  • As far as what color to choose, there are basically two schools of thought. My approach is soft, subtle color that blends with what is going on. The other approach is to go for drama, with a strong color or pattern, I like this approach a lot, but it's not one that I use a lot, I am always concerned that it will get dated very quickly.

Anyway, I hope that this gives you some inspiration when you sit down to design your rooms.

5 comments:

Cote de Texas said...

which linen are you going to use? From which company? Linen is my favorite material to use always! just curious.

Cote de Texas

Sonciary Honnoll said...

Oh my goodness, I love this post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how you worked through your "designer's block" and your tips on designing with one color.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Okay, this is helpful, Mark. I am thinking about colors for major pieces of furniture in my guesthouse and am now thinking more neutral tones but punched up with really exotic suzani throws, Asian sculpture, etc.

Mark Cutler said...

There are two fabric hoses that I love, Rogers and Goffigon, and Clssic Cloth. They both concentrate on textures, more than prints and have some linens and wools that I use time and time again. It is great quality, and to me at least, represents good value.
Thanks for your response Sonciary and Maryam, this has inspired me to once a week, do a post on a current project that i am working on, to give some insight into my design process.

Emma said...

I'm happy to say your post was featured in today's edition of the Simply Delightful! Carnival! http://treehousejukebox.wordpress.com/2007/06/12/simply-delightful-carnival-2/