Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Martinique in Minnesota

Since I've been a Minnesota girl my whole life, I have often wanted to decorate my surroundings more as if I lived in a tropical location. It's hard to get away with that here, but many people do it anyway. Why not? That's great! But somehow it's just not the same to have lime green walls in your living room when you're not residing in Martinique. You can do it, sure; just expect to get a raised eyebrow with a pointer finger over the lips on a head shaking back and forth ever-so-slightly if you do. Especially if that head is attached to a person known as a Realtor. The first thing they're going to tell you is, "Oh my Lord. That has GOT to go. Paint it something more neutral; it's not good for resale." It's true! Not many lutefisk-loving Minnesotans are going to look at your home and see past that, even when they know "It's just paint. We can paint over it." They don't want to, and they'll probably move on to the next place on their list. Not only that, but do you really want to paint over that before you move? Or change the wall color when you get sick of it, which is pretty likely to happen within a few years with super bright, saturated tropical colors like lime green? NO.
So if you see this out your window...
This probably won't fly. (BTW - what IS that on the wall near the stairs?)


So...how do you add a little Martinique when you're living in Minnesota without making too much of a statement? Easy! You start with a neutral background. That doesn't necessarily mean oatmeal carpeting and beige walls, either, although that certainly works. What about a sophisticated greige on the walls (Gray and beige mixed together into one fabulous neutral color) and a medium-dark carpeting or hardwood on the floors?
Greige walls, white and a lighter greige for main upholstery, darker wood floors -  together they create a neutral "shell".
I see greige as being a warm neutral, which is a super great thing when it's 18 below zero on a crisp winter morn. It's also not TOO warm, so it will be soothing on a 105-degree humid mid-summer day. (OK. I'm being a little sarcastic; Greige is kind of magical, though.) On top of a great wall color like this, it's also a good idea to have a contrasting neutral (lighter and/or darker tones) for your main upholstery fabric and dominating case and occasional pieces (tables, chests, cabinets). White, ivory, charcoal, chocolate brown...a lighter version of greige...all good choices!
Then...add some colorful accessories and occasional furniture pieces! See - these things can be changed up at any given time. When summer rolls around, bring out some bright, cheerful colors with throw pillows on your sofa. If you have wood floors, add a casual, coastal stripe area rug to ground your scheme. Add coordinating accessories like bowls, vases, etc. to tie it all together. In the fall, try a different color scheme...or just keep it the same all year round.

Add bright, colorful accessories, rug, and occasional furniture to add fun color to your neutral "shell"


 So, in the end your neutral room turns out looking something like this:

I figure when you have a room like this in Minnesota, instead of walking outside and seeing one of these:
You may expect to walk out and see one of these instead.

Ya, Mon!

Enjoy your stay in Martinisota!



  1. Great post Heather! So, what is that on the wall in the second picture?! I really like the colorful accent pillows and accessories you found pictures of. I really do need to find a way to incorporate more teal into my decor...I love teal!

  2. I have no idea, Kellye! It's very strange. At first I thought it was some kind of new-fangled sconce lighting fixture, but it almost appears to be a mannequin torso with a very bizzare tank top on it or something. I'm really not sure...

    Thanks! I had fun putting that collage together. That took me longer than writing the blog post. ;)

    I'm actually considering "sprinkling" a little of that turquoise color throughout my main level. I have a softer version of it on some walls upstairs. I was thinking a few new throw pillows, maybe some table lamps, a vase or frames or trays...who knows! It's one of my favorite colors!

  3. greige!

    I have never heard of that word before, it's my new word of the day!!!


  4. Heather...I totally agree that particular green is a bit much, but your griege room...looks cold. And you already have cold outside, so I thought a warmer room would be more welcome in cold climates. I painted all my rooms cooler colors because it is so humid and hot for MONTHS on end here in the south. I wanted to walk in and breathe COOL thoughts. From THAT perspective, I would/do LOVE the griege room!

    My kitchen...the hottest room in the house (from cooking and other HVAC issues) ...it is painted a gray that is VERY close to your griege! With white cabinets. I love my kitchen since we re-modeled.

    Anyway, loved the post!

  5. Funnily enough that green is one of my daughter's favorite colors and is currently all over her bedroom wall at our house ... they called it "granny smith apple green". It looks great but apparently is super bright when the sun comes out lol...

    I prefer the darker neutrals on my walls, I too had no idea there was a name for the color known as greige but I will certainly remember it now!