Sunday, March 27

Re-thinking background colors

In thumbing through magazines and perusing home decor blogs, I read a lot about the value of neutral colors. White, black, brown, and all their shades and tints such as grey, beige, tan, and taupe make wonderful backdrops for any color. Finding just the right neutral can seem like the Holy Grail of decorating.

I was fascinated, though, by something I noticed after I hosted a birthday party for my youngest son. I found these great napkins to use at his party:

The napkins were a perfect fit and match for my green napkin holder. I bought this napkin holder at Christmastime. It came filled with red and green Christmas napkins.

I didn't pack the napkin holder away with my Christmas things, though, for it's about the color of a Granny Smith apple--very springy, very cheerful. As I was putting it away after Lee's birthday party, I noticed how well these cheerful striped napkins would go with it:

But then again, these soft flowered napkins looked good, too:

And this robin's egg blue print wasn't bad, either:

So then I started experimenting with the napkins in my drawer. (I have a thing for napkins--have you seen my napkin drawer?) Imagine how great these would be for a Cinco de Mayo party!

And these would be wonderfully refreshing for summertime:

But my green napkin holder could go more fallish, too, like with this leaf print:

Or with these autumn fruits:

You could use this green napkin holder with more than just springy, summery, or fallish colors, though. Look how well it pairs with this cool paisley print:

Or with these feathers:

Or with these printed beauties that Melissa found for me:

Or even with these pretties I bought to remind me of my 25th anniversary trip:

Can you believe that every single one of these photos features the same green napkin holder? Even though it's a bold, vibrant green color, it pairs well with all these different napkins.

As I pondered the versatility of my simple little napkin holder, it struck me that although green is not a neutral color, it functions like a good neutral: it mixes well with many different colors, allowing those colors to take center stage. Green's not a neutral color, but it is a wonderful backdrop color.

I think I know why this is true. Take a look outside. What color do you see throughout the natural landscape? Green, green, and more green--all different shades and tints of greens, serving as a beautiful backdrop for the vibrant hues of flowers. The natural landscape includes an amazingly diverse palette of colors, and all of them pair beautifully with various shades of green.

And of course, serving as a backdrop for all the colors of the earth is the beautiful blue of the sky. I don't have a blue napkin holder to demonstrate this, but the same principle is true for blue as for green.

So if you're thinking about colors for your home, remember that you needn't be limited to neutrals to use as backdrop colors. You know that adage "Blue and green must not be seen"?? I say that's nonsense! They worked pretty well in the hands of the Master Artist!

What "background colors" are your favorites?

**Special Note: If you're looking for just the right colors for your home, check out Kristin's blog: Favorite Paint Colors! It's a wonderful resource!**


  1. I love your napkin collection. They are all so beautiful and such a fun way to liven up an event.

  2. I always think of you when I see pretty napkins. :) That is a really cute napkin holder. Very versatile! Love it! Such beautiful outdoor photos too.

    I think green is a great backdrop color as is light blue. :)

  3. You definitely got your point across! :)) Green is my color! So calming and easy on the eye.

  4. I LOVE those Paris napkins!!! And the funny thing is, a friend and I were thinking up what color fabric to use to redo my dining room chairs and he suggested that very same green! I think it would look great!

  5. I LOVE those paisley napkins!

    I totally agree with the blue/green neutral idea. My whole downstairs is blue and green. 3 green rooms and 3 blue rooms. They are various shades, but they all make me happy.

    I just recently added some orange accents to my pale blue kitchen and I LOVE it! Who knew??

  6. What perfect timing! I'm STILL trying to decide my paint color and was headed out this morning to try a few more neutrals and... another green! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. P.S. I've always loved the green on your blog!

  8. i'm a huge fan of THAT color green - i love it. this morning i was just thinking that we need a napkin holder for the kitchen counter. great post!

  9. Wow, your green napkin holder looks great with so many different colors!

  10. Two things. 1) Green is my favorite color. 2) I have a thing for napkins too--my kids constantly tease me about that. But you have outdone me, my friend! :)

  11. Thank you so much for this post!! I was about to paint my living room a taupe color but still wasn't excited about it. Now, I can't wait to find a great sage color for my living room!!!!

  12. interestingly enough, This is the color I want to bring into my living room (all tans and neutral) for the spring and summer. To me it is a "clean" color as well as cheery!

    Stop over to enter a vintage linen giveaway!

  13. I have an out of control napkin obsession/collection, so I loved seeing yours. I have been whittling down mine since January. We are reliving past birthdays, fourth of July, Christmas, by the napkins we use. It has actually been kind of fun to use them to reminisce around the table.
    Love the green holder. It is one of my favorite colors.

  14. Richella...I loved all of your napkins! I think I will strart a napkin collection too. (smile)
    I do have various cloth napkins that I change out, and placemats to match or coordinate. But anyway...that green napkin holder is very versatile!

    it is so true, that The Ultimate Artist..our Creator...put the earth together with beautiful hues and values and mixtures of color!

    Thanks for reminding us of His Artistry!

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  15. Hi Richellla! Oh, you have some lovely little napkins and I do love your pretty napkin holder.
    You're so right! I believe green acts almost like a neutral color. I love it so that I painted my living room and dining room green and it just feels good!
    I'm so glad you'll be coming to my party! We'll have a wonderful time! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  16. I love your napkin drawer! What a beautiful collection of napkins! Gorgeous! Love the Paris ones and the paisley ones. So pretty!

    I couldn't agree with you more. I ADORE green, especially apple green and lime green. LOVE! My MIL always said "Green is God's favorite color. That's why he used so much of it in nature."

  17. Good point!! I was thinking about pairing some pretty, bright green with gray walls in my kitchen (should I ever get around to painting/updating it). That might just be the ticket. ;) You have quite the napkin collection---I am a little envious. ;)

  18. ummm... you really do have a napkin obsession!!! oh, but i love it!!! and that square dish is perfect! do you have a cinco de mayo party? we always try to. you kow, i have those dessert plates & all! oops- letting my own obsession show :)

  19. Love that green napkin holder and it made me feel so special to see those napkins inside! :) Love what a frou frou britches said about green being God's favorite color!

  20. Of course now we all want to know where to get that napkin holder...please share.

  21. Thank you for mentioning my site! You are such a sweetheart and I really really appreciate it.
    What a great post on color! I have never thought about green and blue going with everything, but looking outside (and your napkin holder) that makes perfect sense! Wish I had all those fun napkins to choose from here, they cheer me up just looking at them. Thanks again, Richella!!

  22. Love it!!! You brought it all together so well :)


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