Design: Making a case for neutrals

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Beige doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, neutral color palettes can create the perfect foundation for a bold color palette. One of the reasons why neutral is so appealing is the colors blend well with other colors. Like a blank canvas, working with a neutral color palette will allow you to build a color story.

When working with a neutral color palette, here are some Design Recipes tips:

■Go beyond white and beige. There are numerous neutral colors including chocolate brown, black and charcoal.

■Select accent colors that create a sharp contrast. Pairing a bright, bold color with a neutral color can be powerful.

■Don’t be afraid to use black. Black is elegant and can add a sense of luxury.

■Integrate a neutral color palette into your largest pieces such as sofas and large upholstery items. This will allow you to get the maximum mileage out of your purchases.

■Experiment with a monochromatic color palette. Using tints, tones and shades of the same color can be not only soothing, but also modern and sleek.

■Don’t be afraid to mix finishes and materials. You can incorporate neutrals into your space through your use of fabrics and finishes.

■Try metallics. Silver, gold, brass and even platinum are not only appealing neutrals, but they can also add a bit of glam.

■Consider wood. Wood can add an interesting and rustic texture to a space.

■Incorporate neutral accessories and accents. This can be a wonderful way to add exciting pieces to a space that won’t compete with the rest of your decor.

■Don’t be afraid to mix and match neutral colors in one space, for example a color palette of black, white and beige.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at