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Putting a Spin on Neutrals

By Stephanie Insolia


Believe it or not, using neutrals involves an abundance of creativity. The most basic way to create a hue is to add varying amounts of white to a color pigment. This, however, is not the only way. Another approach is to introduce a neutral color through texture. Textures brilliantly add warmth to the room and raise the level of contrast between the furnishings and the shell of your home. Therefore, each time a color is introduced

through fabrics and art, the neutral wall echoes and magnifies the color, rather than competing with it.


The demand for texture has encouraged the market to take a daring step forward. Today’s textured wallpapers add magnificent architectural detail to any room. There are so many choices! Here are a few of my favorites.


Innovations in Wallcoverings is renowned for developing environmentally friendly wall coverings, utilizing a full line of recycled and recyclable wall coverings that are as stylish as they are eco-friendly. My favorites are the company’s faux leathers, woven woods, and eco-suedes. Also check out the Mandalay and Thai silks made of vinyl; they look just like the real thing, and are completely washable!


My all-time-favorite neutral shell can best be accomplished with walls unadorned with moldings and chair rails. Edelman Leather offers the most luxurious leather wall tiles, and they come in a variety of neutral shades.


Having searched just about everywhere for the very best in grasscloth wall coverings, I found what I sought—the largest selections and the best of the best—at Hinson & Co., F. Schumacher & Co., and Stark Wallcovering.


Silk wall coverings offer a dramatic look that can be elegant, yet somehow quite modern. Silks come in a variety of silk blends and in many price ranges. I favor Stark Wallcovering‘s selection because of its dramatic array of colorways and blends.


Choosing to use Venetian plaster is a fantastic way to spruce up a neutral shell with texture. Pigment is added to the plaster, and instantly your walls take on a splash of drama. My choice for decorative painter? David Haith, of UK Fabric & Wallcovering (203.979.1960), located in Norwalk, Connecticut.


We live in a time when everything in the home is constantly being reinvented. Neutral walls adapt beautifully to change; they’ll showcase whatever decorating style is your current fancy.


Insolia Designs was formed in 1999 by Stephanie Insolia, a graduate of the Parsons School of Design. The team at Insolia Designs creates spaces that are both modern and luxuriously warm by combining open, soothing architectural spaces with elegantly livable interiors.

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