Country Cottage Living Room
From the deepest brown to the palest gray -- and everything in between -- neutrals are anything but boring. Browse our gallery of neutral-toned rooms to see all the different effects these shades can impart.
This living room reflects the homeowners' taste for mixing traditional and contemporary styles. The original wainscoting was treated with several coats of paint for a lustrous finish. The sectional sofa, which is upholstered in Belgian linen, combines a modern silhouette with the antique touch of a brass nail-head trim.
Enhance the Ordinary
With a little doctoring, unfinished bookcases from a furniture store can take on a built-in look, and add architectural interest to a room. In this living room, three units were dressed up with crown molding and platform bases, then painted moleskin gray. Framed photos and bibelots form a library of objects that mingles with the books.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Paint in Cavern at the Home Depot.
Celebrate a Classic Look
Built-in bookshelves don't always work with a room's decor and tenor. In this home office, painted shelves were replaced with 3/4-inch stained walnut plywood with a 1-inch solid walnut edge. The shelves harmonize beautifully with the mahogany desk, encyclopedias, and the English pillar lamp with a black paper shade.
Simple and Elaborate
An ornate Murano-glass mirror over the fireplace adds sparkle and complexity. Embroidery and passementerie on the cushions of the daybed inject subtle luxury without betraying the spirit of the room. The extravagant flowers contrast with the understated elegance of the sleek glass coffee table.
Make It Comfortable
Neutrals don't heave to be stuffy. Learn tips and tricks for creating a comfortable, informal living room that's perfect for entertaining guests.
Mix Things Up with Size
It's counterintuitive to pair a slim Hepplewhite sofa with giant throw pillows and grand side chairs, but the result is surprisingly effective. Two diminutive tables replace a conventional cocktail table, adding versatility. Even the artwork plays with scale -- expansive shadow boxes that focus attention on the delicate beauty of Chinese porcelains.
Spice Up Neutrals
Two handmade floral stencils, arranged agreeably askew, decorate the inner edges of curtains, framing the window.
Martha's Skylands Home
Reflections bring a room to life. On this nineteenth-century American table, delicate finishes that capture light -- a gilded mirror, mercury glass vases, eighteenth-century candlesticks, lampshades trimmed with glimmering passementerie -- energize the rugged textures of the house.
Martha's Kitchen at Skylands
Eighteen stools of various heights were gathered from the rest of the house and painted white. They now stand around the kitchen table, and guests, short or tall, can sit where they are most comfortable.
Martha's Living Room at Skylands
Every home needs a heart. You might expect it to be the fireplace, but a circular table, 9 feet in diameter, dominates the Great Hall and serves as the hub of Skylands. Nothing smaller would have even made an impression in a room that measures 28 by 42 feet. Seven stools were collected from the far corners of the house and upholstered in the same wool damask that covers the sofas. The stools are enough alike to look good together, but different enough not to feel too formal and planned.
A Bedroom at Skylands
The basic elements in each bedroom are similar, yet different enough so each room has a distinct personality; a consistent and subtle formula keeps them simple and inviting. A lustrous four-poster is dressed with a cotton voile canopy, Belgian linen, cotton matelasse, striped woven wool, and a skirt like a taffeta ball gown.
Martha's Kitchen at Turkey Hill
In the late 1990s, Martha had her kitchen professionally renovated; the new color scheme of white and pale green was a welcome change.
Country Cottage Living Room
A collection of American tinsel paintings brightens the room. An English grain-painted chair, circa 1830, is covered in striped horsehair. The stool is also from the nineteenth century.
Country Cottage Bedroom
In this master bedroom, a ceiling fan with mahogany blades and tongue-and-groove wood paneling convey a cottage feel. Plantation shutters create privacy but let the breeze flow through.
Soft and Fuzzy Living Room
The sofa and chair's slipcovers go right in the washer, and the shearling throws childproof the sharp corners of the wooden chairs.
Martha's Cantitoe Corners Kitchen
Here is a shot of two of Martha's islands and the ovens behinds them, looking into the kitchen from the servery. It's where Martha sometimes has breakfast.
Martha's Cappuccino Counter
A very well-used part of the kitchen is the cappuccino counter; there's the grand machine and two grinders -- for regular and decaffeinated beans -- for fresh grounds. On the machine, Italian cups stay warm, and everyday dishes and the like fill shelves.
The small dining room can be accessed through the double doors in the servery. The space includes freezer drawers for storage, plus an ice maker and warming drawers for entertaining. Two dishwashers ease clean-up, and the marble floor can be vacuumed and washed with a damp mop. The wall color is matched to the cupboards, and the gentle, cool tones make a cohesive whole of many diverse features.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Paint Color in Bedford Gray at the Home Depot.
Linen and Light
A baroque wing chair is upholstered in gray linen; the chest is baroque, and the lamp is by Poul Henningsen.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Paint Color in Whetstone Gray at the Home Depot.
Fit for a Queen
An eighteenth-century gilded crown in the master bedroom gave this homeowner the idea of emulating the bed of Queen Hedvig Eleonora at Drottningholm Palace, in Sweden.
Urban Colonial Dining Room
In this dining room, the homeowner chose a dark stain for the table to set off painted chairs, as an antique sideboard stands out against the gray walls. The chandelier adds a hint of color.
Neutral and Bright Bedroom
In this master bedroom, an upholstered headboard is ideal for reading in bed. Wall lamps provide proper lighting while freeing up space on the end tables.
Natural Living Room
In this living room, Chinese tables sit in front of a modern sofa upholstered in Belgian linen, a wooden lamp brings a sense of nature indoors, and Buddhist Quan Yin figurines gather on an Indonesian table.
A wood ceiling, installed by the original owners, gives a warm touch to the master bedroom, as do the walls, which are painted a pale blue-gray. Everything this homeowner added to the room has simple lines, from the bed to the square nesting tables; she painted the canvas, and the bedding is from Lands' End.
In an eclectic living room, mottled antique mirrors, both real and faux, contrast with gleaming expanses of new mirrors to create seemingly infinite reflections. Screens of Venetian-style antiqued mirrors flank a mantel that is topped with a sheet of new mirror, on which hangs an English bull's-eye girandole that dates to the 1830s. A 1950s American mirrored cocktail table and 1960s Italian mercury-glass lamps add further reflections. Neutral colors ensure that the play of light remains the focus.
Glowing Powder Room
A powder room becomes a hall of mirrors, with antiqued mirrors framed and hung like paneling around the room.
Airy Dining Room
An inexpensive rattan pendant crowns a casual table, which is surrounded by mismatched chairs that have been painted glossy white for a unified look.
This upstairs "dormitory" evokes childhood summers, with vintage schoolhouse lights, mosquito netting, and cast-iron beds. White dormers contrast with the original woodwork, which the homeowner oiled but left unpainted. Light-colored bedding gives the room its relaxing air.
Graceful gray lends a touch of drama while allowing the bed to take center stage with its quirky patterns and mix of colors.
The gray color scheme of this room has its roots in Swedish design, but the home owner's use of it was more about creating a calming environment than keeping with tradition.
This low bed doesn't block the light from the windows.
These cabinets were designed to conceal appliances while keeping them handy; electical outlets are hidden under the upper cabinets.
Gray Dining Room
With its coffered ceiling, which conceals support beams, this room lacks the height of the rest of the apartment; the skylight, however, opens up the space. A candle lantern hangs above the dining table. The symmetry of the almost-square room reflects the Jeffersonian influence.
This bathroom is luxurious yet basic, with clean lines and an abundance of natural light provided by a skylight.
Martha's Westport dressing room has Crevecoeur walls, framed by Golden Campine cabinets; the ceiling is a surprising Pale Araucana Green.
An Ameraucana Buff hall has Pinfeather steps.
Drabware walls warm a room at night, in lamplight. The Araucana Turquoise ceiling keeps the space open and airy, while a rich cream, Silkie White, extends the walls' warmth into trim work. The floor, in Crevecoeur, has the fine gloss of dinnerware. Hallways walls beyond are Araucana Green.
A range of neutrals from seashells and stones inspired the choice of restful colors for this living room.
Martha's New York apartment's living-room walls are finished in a pigment-colored Swedish putty used as a paint but applied like plaster.
The soft brown of these walls and lighter, more golden color of the ceiling unifies a kitchen that is accented in green.
These garden books in Martha's home on Lily Pond Lane are organized in a beige bookcase.
In this library, a white Jacobean-style table is painted black, making an elegant, functional library table.
A guest bedroom at Lily Pond Lane, painted in a soothing gray-brown, is supremely simple in its decor.
The woodwork and vanity table in this bathroom have been painted beige.
Red browns have a warm, rosy glow. Salvaged doors inspired this Vermeer-like setting: Fabrics were selected for reddish tones that complement the wood. Texture and luster are important here, too: Daylight brings out the sheen of the velvet comforter and satin pillow, lending life to the room.
In a luminous white setting, dark brown has the impact of black, without the harshness. This sofa is upholstered with velvet the color of bittersweet chocolate; white piping makes the fabric look even darker. A varied collection of smoky-glass bottles and vases lightens the mood.
Don't be afraid to mix light and dark woods. Against a cumin-colored wall, this walnut writing desk mingles with a fruitwood chair; maple, birch, and cherry boxes; and a mahogany-framed sepia photograph.
True khaki, like these walls, veers toward the green. It looks its best in the warm light of a sunny room, its greenness tempered by potted ferns, a papyrus plant, and a myrtle topiary.
In this very Parisian breakfast room, there is as much cream as there is coffee: An eggshell-colored cupboard, curtains of pale chiffon, light woods, tan piping on the seat cushions, and snowy wainscoting all help to enrich the cafe au lait brown of the walls. The anchor for this dreamy setting is the much darker maple floors.
A Victorian etched mirror, and an intriguing collection of flea-market finds.
If you have ever wondered what taupe looks like, these dusky walls are your guide, with lustrous fabrics chosen to enhance and uplift its distinctive character. The daybed is the focus of an audacious assortment of mauves, lavenders, and lilac touches.