Quiet décor can make loud impression

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I recently heard a client describe her perfect room as “quiet.”

Since vivid colors of big patterns are splashed through pages of interior decorating magazines, this got my attention.

Since HGTV’s popular program “Color Splash” takes the viewer through the use of orange and lime green, paired with chocolate brown and a bit of fuchsia … all in one room, I think this client is on to something. The use of strong, demanding color can become paramount, and the space can become a box of spilled crayons to the psyche that craves a retreat, rather than stimulation.

I appreciate that client’s request because she recognizes what she expects a space to do for her, rather than how she can make it look like a trend based on magazines and cable TV.

I appreciate that client’s request because after a day of examining and considering a multitude of patterns and colors, the idea of a space that asks nothing of me is quite appealing.

The quiet space is not devoid of personality. On the contrary, it is rich in texture and tone. The visual and tactile interest is not as obvious as the room ripe with color and pattern, but it draws its dweller in softly, layer by layer.

The quiet room is not, as one might infer, just white. It is layers and layers of a hue skillfully placed around the room to gently encourage the eye to stroll around. There is a huge difference between the roller coaster ride the eye takes through the highly-colored room. And there is no comparison between the easy walk the eye takes in a quiet room and the whiplash effect of a typical finish room on “Color Splash.”

Tactile experience is just as important as the visual in quiet decorating. A soft area rug with pile not deep enough to hide unexpected objects, such as a lost earring or Legos, is ideal. I recently used an upholstery fabric made of jute that felt surprising soft without falling in that velvety category. This would work in a quiet room.

The quiet room is not a faceless space, totally devoid of personality. A splash of color in art would work beautifully to add some degree of contrast. When the color is limited to the art, it becomes manageable and is contained within a frame.

The quiet room is far from boring. It is a space where the subtle layers, tones and textures can be thoughtfully considered, or turned off, entirely.

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