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The Question of Neutrality


Should your home reflect your unique personal taste, or should it fall in line with current fashion? It’s a question homeowners often ask themselves. Many decorators lean toward a neutral palette, often with an eye toward resale. This item from the New York Times is very much in that vein, advising homeowners to prep their house for the market in shades of white with perhaps “a hint of color.”

Noted Twin Cities interior designer Billy Beson suggests gray as a neutral base for decorating. Add richly textured layers using different fabric and material textures, Beson advised in Cambria Style magazine (scroll to page 14). A single spot of color, such as a vivid magenta vase or a Kelly green throw pillow, will bring energy to the room. Beson recommends a range of Benjamin Moore grays, such as Stonington Gray.

Representing the other side of the discussion is Minneapolis editor and designer Monica Moses. In a recent column for American Craft magazine, Moses argued that she’s not interested in “living in somebody else’s house.”

Moses’ home, with its lipstick-red countertops and purple upholstery (pictured above), “is, as the real estate gurus say disapprovingly, ‘very specific’ to my family and me,” she wrote. “If you love earth tones and stainless steel, my house is not for you. … And maybe the day will come, as a good friend warned, when I am good and sick of the palette and floor plan and overall vibe I’ve chosen.

“But should I have instead created a place I’d be sick of from day one?” she concluded. “I say no. My house is the one place I can be entirely myself, and there is something important about that.”

Color is an important choice for any home. But even if you go the neutral route, remember that designing and decorating a home offers many other opportunities to create a special place that’s Built around you.