Navigating the “Sea of Brown”

Color and wood shouldn’t be the only factors to consider when planning a room though most of the today’s mass manufacturers market that way–everything is espresso-, Java- or cappuccino-colored (think “sea of brown”). One of the best things about buying furniture one piece at a time, as opposed to buying a grouping, is that you can bring different elements into the room that you can then use to introduce other elements.

But if you’ve got a nice set of Thomasville Collector’s Mahogany, let’s say, and you want to “break it up a bit,” try adding texture as a clever way to ease the monotony of a single-color room. Fur, woven, textiles and rugs, and stone all allow the designer to then incorporate different hues, shades, and patterns that weren’t present in the original design. For example, it is my opinion that wicker and bamboo and mirror work wonderfully with mahogany. Maitland-Smith and Henredon incorporate different materials into their product lines to give the customer flexibility when deciding how to accessorize. Thomasville’s previous “Bogart” and “Bogart Luxe” utilized this design strategy quite a bit and helped propel Hollywood glam across many magazine covers.
Maitland-Smith and Theodore Alexander use bold colors which segue beautifully into any decor. I love to inject chinoiserie, and Chinese red and gloss black can break up the monotony without being overbearing. Bright pops of color like azure blue, sunflower yellow, and pumpkin orange can be found in a wide array of accessories like lamps, vases, and statuary.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Read through magazines like Southern Living and Architectural Digest for inspiration. You can also post your questions on this site; you’ll find lots of help here too.

Written by Guest Blogger; Peter Schlosser.
Peter Schlosser began his furniture career in 1993 in Hickory, North Carolina. He has the extensive brand knowledge and has been a professional restorer, builder, and refinisher since 1999. Peter has bought and sold high-end furniture online since 2005

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