Interior Color Tips For The Neutral-Obsessed

Interior Color Tips For The Neutral-Obsessed

Bold doesn’t have to be overpowering.


There’s nothing wrong with erring towards beiges and greys at home, but the right amount of risk-taking color can take a room from safely chic to completely memorable. This move doesn’t even require committing to a bold red wall or a jewel-toned couch; smaller decorations, like a patterned ceramic bowl or a textured throw, can add just the right amount of pop. Color play can also be found in less obvious palette combinations, like melding cool blue accents with warm woodwork, or playing up a heavily neutral space with art that boasts energetic hues. Here, Elena Frampton, creative director of New York-based interior design firm Frampton Co, tells us how to bring color into our spaces, even for the most neutral-obsessed.

1 Balance Warm and Cool

“Spaces often go too chilly or too earthy. We love to play with cool and warm tones to achieve a sense of balance. We installed warm millwork to anchor the space and offset it with cool blue and lavender accents.”

2 Tempered Extras

Spartan Shop vases, $130,; D. Bryant Archie blanket, $660,

3 Add Texture Through Wall and Floor Materials

“Texture brings depth and interest to neutral spaces, so you get the quietness without the boredom. Rugs are the perfect way to bring in texture for a layered look. Architecturally, stone and tile in various finishes like matte or polished create shadows and texture.”

4 Tactile Effect

The Rug Company ‘Cobra’ rug, $177 per sq. ft.,; Heath Ceramic tiles, prices upon request,

5 Install Large Scale Art

“The introduction of art is a chance to infuse color and personality into a neutral palette. Think large scale photography, paintings or even mixed media. When it comes to statement pieces, go big to go home.”

6 Statement Pieces

Kim Foster Gallery: Moon Beom, price upon request,; Maria de la O Garrido, ‘Untitled II,’ $430,; Lindo NG Collective Studio, price upon request,

7 Let There Be Light

“Sculptural lighting in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors enlivens and activates a neutral space. Mixing lamps with sconces and chandeliers not only provides a nice light quality but also brings the je ne sais quoi. Don’t forget room corners, which often end up feeling dark. Create a moment out of an otherwise forgettable square foot.”

8 Shine Bright

Sciolari chrome and brass chandelier, $5,500,; Workstead industrial chandelier, $2,150,

9 Bring In Pattern Through Accessories

“Dressing your space, like yourself, is transformed by a few finishing touches. Think about adding bold patterns through accessories. Pair unlikely objects in vignettes to create a story about your collections. Ceramics, bowls, trays, pillows and throw blankets offer pattern opportunity. Most importantly, don’t worry, get attached or be too exacting. Move things around every once and a while – it’s not a museum, it’s your home.”

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10 Playful Ceramics

Matthew Ward Studio ceramic bowls, prices upon request,

11 Inject the Color Camel

“Our real neutral obsession is the color camel. It provides richness to a monochromatic palette without drawing too much attention. Its adaptability to several color palettes make pieces upholstered in it timeless. Whether you are introducing it through textiles, leather or various stains of wood–camel will translate well.”


6 Ways to Let Your Kitchen Sizzle With Steel

Read how steel can be used in different ways to amp up your kitchen space


Steel is a versatile metal that fits seamlessly into a classic or a modular kitchen layout. Design purists use it in backsplashes, sinks, countertops, cabinetry, and more. You can embrace it in combination with wood, other metals or just on its own. Low on maintenance and high on aesthetic appeal, budget-friendly and durable steel checks all the right boxes for transforming your kitchen.

5 Ways to Recreate the Tropics in Your Home Decor

Bring in the fabulous rush of flowers, foliage and island colours to recreate the tropics in your home


If lounging on the beach is your idea of a fun holiday, you needn’t dream longingly of the sun, sand, coconut palms and blue sea whilst parked in your urban home. Create a tropical island within your own residence to live out your vacation. Scatter images of leafy fronds, bold flowers and brilliant butterflies … go for a riotous colour palette that brings alive the hues of the tossing blue waves of the ocean, waving green palms, lazy golden beaches and smiling colourful blossoms. Here is how to bring into your home decor the vibrancy of the tropics.

Expert inputs from interior designers Sulaxmi Laud and Reshma Chhabria

Houzz Tour: A Contemporary Pool House Nestled in Rural Bengal

An outhouse extension of an ancestral home doubles as a recreational space and more


Once the land was purchased on both sides of their ancestral home, the clients wanted to build an extension to the house. Abin Design Studio (ADS) was brought on board to give shape to the (fitness enthusiast) client’s brief – to design a contemporary and luxurious pool house that included a swimming pool, gymnasium, open lawns and guest entertainment areas. And it all had to be built keeping the principles of vastu in mind.

“Beauty in simplicity and in careful, laborious, hand-crafted detailing is the most interesting aspect of the project,” says Abin Chaudhuri, a firm believer that architecture is a form of artistic expression. Abin Design Studio built this pool house in the span of two years.

That’s interesting: This new block connects to the ancestral home via bridges.

8 Ways to a Makeover With Mirrors

Brighten and expand your interiors with a touch of imagination — and a mirror or two


Give your interiors an instant makeover without having to knock down walls. There’s a much easier way to enhance your space and make it look larger while adding tonnes of personality to it. Simply add a mirror! No longer just restricted to your vanity table, a mirror can be creatively placed to upgrade every room from your hallway to your kitchen. We show you how.

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

See how a designer transformed Broadway and TV star Sutton Foster’s home office in just five easy steps.

Photos by Matt Harrington Photo

A home office can easily become a neglected space. Since it’s not usually a place to entertain guests or hang out, people tend to keep the home office bare and focus their decorating efforts on other spaces, like the living room, dining room, or family room—which was the case with the home office in actress Sutton Foster’s New York City apartment.

So Foster enlisted the help of interior designer Mike Harrison and HomeGoods to give the office more personality and style. “Functionality doesn’t mean lack of style,” Harrison says. “One of the great advantages of this space was that there was so much natural light with a stunning view, so the interest is already built into one entire wall. Another great plus was that the three pieces of existing furniture were beautiful, quality pieces so my job was just to marry the function with the style of the space and execute a clear vision for the room.”

Foster, who wanted the space to be neutral but not boring, says Harrison’s updates make the new office “come to life.” And it was all done with some inexpensive styling tricks you can use to give your own space a makeover. Here, Harrison’s tips:

1. Bring in Color.
Your favorite, eye-catching colors can make a space feel unique and more relaxed. “For this room in particular, it was important to Sutton that it be a place of inspiration for her husband, who is a professional writer,” Harrison says. “She wanted a space full of interest with a sophisticated whimsy. I wanted to achieve this through a layered neutral palette, with an occasional pop of color.”

2. Add Accessories.
“When personalizing an office space on a budget, try to remember that a little goes a long way,” he says. “One new desk lamp or one new rug can really transform a room. Also, it’s important to remember that even if a room needs to function as an office, it is still an extension of your home. It doesn’t need to be stale and corporate, so inject personal touches like framed pictures, special objects, and artwork.” In Foster’s office, Harrison added a geometric rug, abstract art, patterned pillows, plants, and unexpected lighting.

3. Play With Scale.
Often, your home office might be a small nook or a tiny room, so it’s important to maximize every inch of space. “When dealing with smaller spaces remember that scale is important,” Harrison says. “I used a great mirrored end table to serve as a coffee table instead. I also found a clean, white leather desk chair that brightened up the space to juxtapose the dark wood in the furniture.”

4. Organize With Style.
Keep the clutter contained. “Since the office is a highly functional room, organization is key,” he says. “Let the organizational supplies that you use exhibit the room’s style.” And, luckily, you can easily find inexpensive office supplies that pack a lot of color and flair—think metallic notebooks and pens, acrylic boxes and pencil cups, and colorful tape dispensers and staplers.

5. “Fake” an Office.
Don’t have a designated office? Don’t worry: You can still create a working space wherever you have a little bit of extra space. “Create room for a small desk in your living area, bedroom, or even dining area,” Harrison says. “You can add floating shelves above it to house office supplies and display decorative objects.” Ta-da, an office nook.


3 Easy Gardening Hacks to Get You Ready for Spring

3 Easy Gardening Hacks to Get You Ready for Spring

Shoe Organizer as Vertical Garden


Photo by Travis Rathbone

Love the idea of an herb garden, but just don’t have the room? Maximize your vertical space by hanging a shoe organizer on a sunny fence, shed, or porch door. First poke small holes in the bottom of each pocket for drainage and then fill with herbs or other small plants. Bonus: When you water your plants from the top row, the overflow water will drip into the plants below.



Ice Cream Cone as Seed Starter


Photo by Travis Rathbone

Have a couple sugar cones that have gone stale in the cabinet? Repurpose them as seedling starters. Just fill a cone with soil and your favorite seeds. “This works best for seedlings that grow within a few weeks,” says Heather Rhoades of the gardening website The reason why this summer treat vessel works so well? It’s biodegradable, making replanting easy.


Wine Bottle as Self-Watering Planter


Photo by Travis Rathbone

Rinse out a wine bottle and fill it with water. Replace the cork and hammer a nail through it to create a small hole. Remove the nail and place the neck of the bottle in the soil at a slight angle. Water will drip out and hydrate your plant once the soil dries around it. (Will water a medium-size plant for your entire one-week vacation.)

Gym Equipment Has More Germs Than a Toilet Seat—But Don’t Panic

Gym Equipment Has More Germs Than a Toilet Seat—But Don’t Panic

We got to the bottom of the hype


Photo by Blend Images – Erik Isakson/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a reason to skip the gym today, a new study from the fitness equipment review site might seem like it. After swabbing 27 pieces of gym equipment at three different gyms they found that, on average, each machine was teeming with more than one million colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria. To show just how germy this is, they drew comparisons to other dirty surfaces. An exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a reusable cafeteria tray. Free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and a treadmill has 74 more times more bacteria than a water faucet. Disgusting enough to stay on the couch, right?

We wouldn’t be so sure. Though the study broke down the average CFU into percentages of types of bacteria (gram-positive cocci, gram-negative rods, gram-positive rods, and bacillus) those are just general types of bacteria—not specific names of pathogens that would cause alarm. People generally carry a ton of germs on the skin, and they impart them wherever they go through contact through skin, nasal carriage area, and through your feces (sorry germaphobes).

“While there is potential of harmful bacteria present, it’s not a given that you’re going to be infected, says Dr. Philip M. Tierno, professor of microbiology and pathology at the School of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York and author of The Secret Life of Germs. “You can reduce that possibility by washing your hands prior to touching conduits of entry into your body.”

Besides washing your hands before and after using equipment, and refraining from touching your eyes, nose or mouth while using equipment, there are a few other things you can do to stay safe. First, wipe off the germs with a sanitary wipe before you use a machine and properly dispose of it in the trash (in other words: don’t leave it in the cup holder!). Also don’t workout if you’re sick, and wash your gym clothes when you get home.

But overall, your risk from getting sick from a germy gym is extremely low to nil, even if those numbers sound scary. “It’s not a surprising thing, nor is it alarming,” says Tierno. “Don’t let that toilet business fool you.”


5 Decorating Finds for Small Spaces

5 Decorating Finds for Small Spaces

Looking for functional pieces of furniture that don’t eat up all of your living space? Check out these modern finds for a possible solution.

Murphy Entry Bench


In a small space, multipurpose products should be your go-to choice. This streamlined mango wood bench has storage below for shoes or a basket of dog-walking accessories.

Adesso Cormac Chair


Even in tight quarters, it’s nice to have a cozy chair to read and relax in. This upholstered armchair’s tapered wooden legs and curved base make it feel airier than a traditional club chair.

Norden Gateleg Table


In need of a dining table or work station that will fit into a multipurpose room? This two-sided, drop-leaf table seats two to four people and can sit flush against the wall if extra floor space is needed instead. A trio of drawers in the center makes it ultra-functional.Ghost Side Chair


Give the illusion of more space by incorporating transparent chairs around the dining table or alongside your desk. This version will provide the necessary seating without taking up visual space in the room.

Wood and White Metal Leilani Tulip Dining Table


A small-scale round pedestal table will give you the surface area you need for meals at home without the added bulk of multiple legs.

6 Pros on the Cleaning Products They Can’t Live Without

6 Pros on the Cleaning Products They Can’t Live Without

Skoy Cloth


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Trade in your paper towels for the Skoy Cloth —it gives you a streak-free wipedown on any surface. It’s 100% biodegradable and printed with soy ink, and best of all, you can just throw it in the dishwasher to clean it. —Christine Dimmick, founder and CEO of the Good Home Company

HAAN SI-40 Swivel Head Floor Steamer


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Typical floor cleaners leave behind residue, and I don’t like the idea of chemicals ending up on my kids’ skin and pets’ fur. So I use the Haan Steam Mop instead—it cleans beautifully and because it uses the power of steam, it’s toxin-free. —Dimmick

Bioshield Floor Milk


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Bioshield Floor Milk is gentle and works wonders for sprucing up old, worn floors—not just wood, but all kinds of surfaces like tile and linoleum, too. I recommend using it once or month or so as an upkeep product. Instead of leaving a dulling film like many chemical floor polishes, it cleans and provides a natural dirt and water resistant barrier. Your floors will shine and you’ll have less scrubbing to do in the long run! —Jacqueline Janus, Owner of Two Chicks and a Broom

Casabella Microfiber Blind Glove


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I’m a huge fan of Casabella’s Microfiber blind glove which picks up dirt and dust quickly and easily. To remove stains in a toilet, I always use a handled pumice stone called the Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover. —Leslie Reichert, Cleaning Expert and Author of The Joy of Green Cleaning

Better Life Stain and Odor Eliminator


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Better Life Stain and Odor Eliminator is my go-to product for removing carpet stains. Just clean up any excess mess, then spray directly onto the area and blot with a damp towel. —Donna Smallin Kuper, Certified Housecleaning Technician, Author, and Blogger at

Unger Microfiber Window Combi: 2-in-1 Professional Squeegee and Window Scrubber


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A microfiber window squeegee is the key to cleaning lots of windows in a hurry. —Becky Rapinchuk, Founder of and Author of Simply Clean

Endurance Bio Barrier


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Most mold and mildew products are highly toxic and/or don’t work, but the Endurance Bio Barrier water-based formulas contain zero VOCs and have been laboratory-tested to inhibit the growth of molds, mildew, and germs on treated surfaces. First, you use Endurance Cleaner Prep to remove existing mold, then you spray Endurance Bio Barrier to prevent future mold by coating and sealing the surface with this formula. —Linda Cobb, creator of Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean book series.