When it comes to colors, my design aesthetic is lying somewhere, bruised and battered, in the no man’s land between cool neutrals and wild brights. Trying to accommodate both tastes is rather exhausting. But I’ve found some solace in the portfolio of photographer James Merrell, whose work shows brights being introduced into otherwise neutral spaces in some very surprising ways.

Take these mostly white (or black and white) spaces, for instance. A single yellow end-wall, or a bold-patterned chaise make them exciting, but there are still plenty of neutral areas to give your eyes a rest.

James Merrell

Taking your color directly from nature, or in this case a photographic wallpaper, instantly makes the look more restful and organic.

James Merrell

Ah, the power of purple. That lavender chair! That lilac dresser!

James Merrell

What an impact a single piece of art makes. Even more impactful is the use of a patterned wallpaper, in a single color, used on walls and ceiling in an otherwise simple room.

James Merrell

Even color-phobes can handle introducing color with their wardrobe. And, better still, this look requires everything else to be completely white! I like the picture wall too – we’ve all seen jewellery used as decor before, but here I like the way it’s intertwined with the art.

James Merrell

Last but definitely not least, who said moldings and wainscoting had to be all-white? The bright green here makes the neutral furniture pop and it can be changed back to snowy white with the flick of a paintbrush.

James Merrell

So, for others in my situation, I hope this gives you a few ideas and the courage to try more brights. And for the color aficionados among you, please do share your tips and tricks! How do you introduce color into your home?

All photos from Judith Miller Inc. Check out Merrell’s portfolio for more images – don’t worry, there are some lovely all-white rooms in there too!

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