Light gray and dark gray—ash, platinum, silver, nickel, charcoal, slate with some beige, with some white and black thrown in.
This stark reality was reinforced when my husband Tym and I went furniture shopping recently.
I don’t know what’s more stressful—trying to agree on furniture you’ll use for years or picking out a car—which are largely silver, white and black these days. But the time had come for a new family room combo, and what better place to shop than the after-market sales?
Regardless how the country is divided politically and socially, everyone has shifted to neutral when it comes to interior decoration. Except us. We are insisting on a pair of red-and-green plaid love seats and a coordinating wingback recliner. Almost nothing has wings anymore, including furniture, but we kept browsing the rows of easy chairs and mocked-up living rooms, hoping.
We soon discovered that Fall 2017 isn’t the optimum time to shop for plaid upholstery. The trend now is “urban chic” or “post-industrial rustic,” or whatever they call hip interiors these days. We were looking for something to blend with our red and green cabinetry…something not too fussy. This is a room we “live” in, with a fireplace and blanket chest coffee table, a scuffed antique dough box, a spool end table and other collected stuff that feels homey.
We shopped showroom after showroom, wandering through a sea of muted neutrals and large splotches of ashen whites, overcast gray and misty smoke tones with the occasional animal prints or bold black accents. All this left me as cold as hoarfrost.
“Where are the bright colors?” I asked one salesperson.
She shrugged. “Not here, that’s for sure.”
We hadn’t shopped for furniture in nearly 10 years, so what we were looking for was yesterday’s news. When we last decorated, we dared to include tomahawk red, grazing field green and a funky turquoise called “haint blue,” as it’s known on the Gullah coast. All three wall colors were tempered with a neutral resmbling wet sand.
Stepping into 2017’s Neutralville, is discombobulating. We could keep looking for brighter colors and argue about what to do about living room furniture, or we could “settle,” as many do, for what’s in style.
And then, we spotted “our” chair, an18th-century wingback recliner in muted gold print. It was marked way down, obviously a holdover from the days when it was stylish to be traditional. It had our name all over it.
By now, we were aware that we would have to order the plaid loveseats. We compared the chair with some fabric swatch—a rare plaid in red, gold and green– and voila!
Of course no furniture manufacturer will mass produce plaid upholstery in an un-plaid world—but we have what we want: furniture that sits comfortably and blends with our red-and-green cabinets and warm oak floors.
I know what you’re thinking—red and green—they must be Christmas fanatics.
In fact we prefer the vintage colors that were popular back in the last century, before industrial was chic or gray settled into every nook and cranny.
It’s true, red and green are fashion’s “no-nos,” but bowing to fashion dictates isn’t necessarily the quickest path to contentment, and the colors and fabrics and accessories in the home makes it just that: a home.
Meanwhile, we look forward to Christmas, when the loveseats arrive in all their plaid glory to keep Mr. Wingback company.