How Sweet is Too Sweet?: Feminine Details in Interiors

Every interior can benefit from a small dose of femininity. However, introducing feminine details into a space can prove to be challenging. I have heard from many fellow designers and bloggers who say they easily tire of anything too pretty.

By juxtaposing a softer element such as a floral sofa pillow or a pale blue cashmere throw with a weathered, farmwood coffee table or a clean-lined glass top coffee table, you can create a more dynamic and visually interesting space. This mix applies to your choices of color, textiles, furnishings, hardware, and accessories. Don't be afraid to play around with opposing combinations--a Louis XVI chair covered in pale, metallic pink paired with a mahogany library table, for example. Finding the right balance between masculine and feminine details is the key. Here are some spaces that are successfully feminine and not frilly:

Pale pink walls paired with a sleek, white Parsons desk (via Alamode).

Floral wallpaper with a streamlined white cabinet (via Canadian House and Home).

Billowy dress in artwork above a simple console table (Courtney Bishop's home via Design Sponge).

Pink chaise with traditional gold accents (via Elle Decor).

Pink walls and zig zag rug with sheepskin throw and Thonet chair (Making It Lovely).

Louis XVI chair paired with a modern, white gourd lamp (Style at Home).

Skirted ottoman with traditional George Smith sofa (Windsor Smith via House Beautiful).

Antique Secretary with slipcovered chairs (Traditional Home).

Neutrals and Mixing Metals

When I was young, my mother and I would page through issues of Architectural Digest or whichever shelter magazine she had lying around. As a collector of antiques, she always commented on how plain and boring and sparse the neutral rooms were to her, while I studied and admired these spaces. Even today, I prefer a room with neutral furnishings and pops of color in pillows, artwork, and other accessories. This allows for the instances of color to really stand out. It's very important to vary your shades of neutral. All beige will not keep the eye moving around the room. Layer in creams, whites, and taupes with beige.

Also, mixing in various metals, whether it be silver, gold, or bronze, livens the space through their reflective qualities. Personally, I prefer to combine various metals to keep the room from feeling too flat. Here are some examples of spaces that capture this look:
Pops of emerald green with black (via Better Homes and Gardens).

Varying shades of turquoise in a kitchen (via Better Homes and Gardens).

Colorful gourd lamp with mixed metal frames on the gallery wall (Carrier and Company).

Using greenery to play up neutrals (Home of Emerson Made).

Layering white with beige and taupe (House and Home).

Softer shades of pink, blue, and yellow create their own neutral palette (Lonny Mag).

Layering in shades of gray with pink flowers and throw pillows (Lonny Mag).

Mixing metals (via Young House Love).

Sunflowers pop in white room (Lonny Mag).

Earthy artwork and throw with neutral furnishings (via House Beautiful).