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Not So Black & White
Evolve your neutral decor with colorful tips from local pros.


Aug. 2019

You’ve been living with your HGTV-inspired, modern farmhouse décor for a few years now and you like it just fine, but suddenly you’re craving something extra. A pop of color. Real color. Something that will set your home apart from the other farmhouse fans in your circle of friends and neighbors.

So now what? It’s all in the details, say a pair of local home-design experts.

“Tone on tone is always beautiful, always classic, and there’s always a place for it ... especially now that [floor plans] are more open,” says Emily Ebben, director of design and marketing at Warren Barnett Interiors. “I don’t think that’s going anywhere. It’s setting you up for longevity and being able to switch out accessories and colors — inexpensive to do in comparison to doing a whole room. By adding a really cool area rug that has a pop of color or accent, throw pillows, art work, well-placed accessories — things like that can add minimal bright pops of color, in an appropriate way.” Ebben calls the approach “the jewelry of a room,” noting that she recently punched up a longtime client’s black and white décor with a bright orange sofa and lively ottomans. But before you head to the store or gallery to add a punchy piece to your home, snap some photos of the room, where in-store design experts can help you get it right on the first try.

“We have thousands of [upholstery] fabric options, but we actually have color on our floor, as well,” says Randi K. of BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattresses, which offers comprehensive, complementary in-store interior design services. “We have the neutrals, but we also have color — because we love color. And sometimes color will sell better on a piece. People can’t imagine what a blue sofa or a green sofa is going to look like.”

Whether you get your design advice in-store or in-home, both women agree that two-way communication is key to color you’ll truly love.

“It’s important for everyone to have their own personal style,” says Randi K., who describes her own design taste as funky and eclectic. “You have to have what you like in your home, because your house is your home. If [clients] like color, you can’t go by the trends.”

“It’s our job to ask the appropriate questions, and really listen to our clients as far as picking the right color scheme,” adds Ebben. “I always ask ‘What’s your favorite color?’ and ‘What color do you hate?’ Because you could hate green, and I might think that a palette is really cool but there’s a touch of green in the pattern or something else that would completely turn you off and I would have no idea. Seeing the space and getting in our client’s homes is of the upmost importance — but really our job is to listen. That’s what helps us guide our clients the best.”

This story ran in the August 2019  issue of: