Neutral rooms are perennially popular because of their versatility, but let’s face it: without the wow factor of color or pattern, these rooms can look a little undistinguished. One of Annie’s favorite tricks for keeping a neutral room from slipping into the land of same-old, same-old is to incorporate interesting and unusual shapes in the furniture and accessories. Not only do unexpected shapes—like a curvaceous chair, an angular side table, or turned-wood vase—stand out against a neutral background, but they can also elevate everyday objects to functional art.
First, Annie says, notice whether a piece is symmetrical or asymmetrical, curvy or geometric. Then take note of the combinations of shapes that appeal to you. Once you’ve found pieces that you’re drawn to and that have the visual presence to make an impact on your room, start arranging. Annie offers these tips:
1. Leave enough space around the object so that its contour can be appreciated.
2. If an object is dark, position it against a lighter backdrop for contrast, and vice versa if it’s light. For example, if you have dark floors and a dark coffee table, opt for a lighter rug to best show off the lines of the table.
3. Don’t cram too many shapely pieces together. Balance the mix of shapes in the room, and place them far enough apart that each can be appreciated (even a vase collection needs a bit of white space).