Sleek Silver Sleek Silver

Sure, anybody can decorate with ivory, eggshell, navy and even a splash of maroon. But it takes real skill to be able to put a color like silver into play, without making a room seem too cold or sterile.

But as with anything in decorating, you can do whatever you want, as long as you do it well, and using a color that's particularly challenging, such as silver, is no exception.

First, we have a very modern kitchen to consider, done primarily in silver.

This is a case where the style of the furnishings match perfectly with the color - the furniture is sleek and modern, and so is the color chosen. The silver upholstery of the chairs and facing of the cabinets compliments nicely the black iron of the furniture and the glass-topped dining table.

Notice here that the upholstered part of this kitchen is done in silver too, in the seat cushions. Anytime you have a color that's a bit on the cold side, such as silver, it's important to add something soft, in terms of texture, to balance it out. Having plenty of plants here also offsets the coldness of the silver; in fact, we'd advise adding more plants, and maybe softening the lighting in this room.

Silver can be optimally used in any kind of upholstered furniture, such as with these sofa cushions, because it is a cold color, and using it in upholstery immediately softens it, providing a nice counterpoint. Here, the cushions and sofa are undeniably modern, and the silver suits that. Thus, a tension is created between the hardness of the color and the softness of the fabric.

  • Tip: Silver isn't only for modern rooms, of course. It also can be counted upon to lend an elegant air, depending on how it's used. Think of silver brocade drapes, or soft silver tassels on a Victorian lampshade.

In this next room shown at right, we see silver emphasizing the gracious wing chair in this study. The rest of the room is done in browns and beiges, so the wing chair really stands out in silver, and yet it still fits in with the rest of the decor.

You'll see that in both the photo of the sofa and the photo of the study, the silver is combined with beige; a brown, beige and silver combination often will work quite nicely, and can be accented with a bit of maroon or forest green.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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