When it comes to styling a neutral home, it’s all about balancing clean, simple sophistication overall with a few stylish statement pieces to add personality. And we’re pretty sure interior designer Danielle Colding understands this concept better than anyone. For her latest project, Colding set out with a neutral palette of white, gray, and black with brass accents to create an elegantly modern aesthetic for a young couple’s duplex in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood.
As a first step to give each room in the home its own distinct point of view, the designer approached decorating the living room and both bedrooms by starting with a wallpaper accent wall (and, in one case, a ceiling) to set the tone of the space. You know how we love a chic wallpaper moment, and Colding’s accent walls are no less than stunning, reflective of her timelessly tasteful aesthetic. “In each space, the wallpaper serves as the catalyst for the design of the space as a whole,” she states. “Whether dynamic or subtle, it is integral to the design direction for every single space.”
Scroll for the tour of this elegant Brooklyn home with gorgeous wallpaper accent walls.
Colding’s vision for the living room design started from a practical place, given that the room had high ceilings and tall windows but was quite narrow. “The minute I walked in, I knew we needed something to bring the space into the right proportion,” she remembers. The solution? Textural pleated black wallpaper for the ceiling, the first item purchased for the home. “The black wallpaper helped to make the room more proportional and cozy without losing the drama of the soaring heights,” Colding explains.
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The black ceiling is just one part of the depth created by the beautiful contrast between black, white, gray, and gold in the living room and kitchen space. Colding used wallpaper to create an accent wall full of romantic blooms on a black backdrop, softening the sharp contrast and clean lines of the room with painterly tinted colors. In the end, the living room became Colding’s favorite part of the design. “The combination of the floral wallpaper with the black pleated wallpaper on the ceiling just does it for me,” she explains.
Built in 2008, the home was a blank slate with modern finishes but lacked personality and warmth. “A space has to call you in,” reflects Colding. “Ultimately, it has to be livable; a place you can sit down and be comfortable. Striking that balance between form and function is the ultimate goal of excellent design.” After all, spaces always look more inviting and approachable when modern lines are accompanied by a few warm, layered styling and decorating choices.
The open kitchen plan creates a more dynamic space for entertaining, but Colding wanted to ensure that the gray and white cabinets did not feel too cold or hard-edged. She installed brass and ivory pendants above the kitchen island and incorporated a brass finish with the bar stools, as well. “I knew immediately that we needed to add in some brass to give it some warmth,” she notes. “The rest of the palette evolved from there.”
With a more neutral palette, texture also became a key focus for the entire home. By choosing distinctive furniture pieces with different surface textures, Colding added dimension to the space. She remarks, “I gravitate toward spaces that use color in a surprising way or that have a detail or texture that is unexpected.”
Colding developed the master bedroom color and décor story based on an artistic black-and-white wallpaper accent wall. “For the master bedroom, the Fornasetti wallpaper definitely called for a more edgy approach,” she explains, “So the bedding and accessories had a more striking, graphic quality.” Brass finishes on the sconces and throw pillows make them the perfect glam accents for a modern, sophisticated bedroom look.
In the guest bedroom, Colding opted for a second wallpaper accent wall behind the bed, this time a softer watercolor design. Colding pulled in layers of blush and levels of gray in textural fabrications, from velvet to heavy cotton weaves, to build off the gradient neutrals in the wallpaper and tie the entire room together. “Lush fabrics in soft, layered colors worked as an extension of the moody paper,” Colding notes.
At the end of the day, it was important for all spaces to be personalized to reflect the style of the clients, with this Brooklyn home being their first as a married couple. “My goal was to bring in some of their personal flair to create visual interest and depth throughout,” Colding remarks. Mission, accomplished.
What do you think of the accent walls in this sophisticated neutral home? Tell us in the comments below.