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March 9, 2014

The yin and yang of spring both infuse decor

The yin and yang of spring make it such an interesting season.

After the brutal bite of winter, even a gloomy spring day can lift our spirits with warmer breezes and an emerging palette of delicate hues — those first tinges of new greens, a fuzzy gray bud, a brushstroke of crocus blue. Then, as the season really plants its feet, fresh bright color starts popping up all over.

As “The Secret Garden” author Frances Hodgson Burnett said of spring, “It is the sun shining on the rain, and the rain falling on the sunshine.”

We welcome both the quiet emergence of the season, and those saucy flaunts of azalea, rhododendron and forsythia that follow.

That’s the nature of spring 2014 decor, as well.

THE YIN

Think ballet- and watercolor-inspired pastels; soft fabrics and sheer window treatments; and curvy furniture, often in traditional shapes but updated with modern fabrics and pattern.

Benjamin Moore’s color of the year, “Breath of Fresh Air,” is a whispery blue-gray with a pensive yet positive quality. “We’ve detected a lighter touch — hints, tints of color,” says Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore’s creative director. “They’re colors that can make a room happy.”

Accent hues include pale peach and lavender. Quiet colors, yes, but not insipid ones. They’re versatile, working as well with dressed-up rooms as with slouchier, more relaxed spaces.

New York City-based designer Elaine Griffin sees “a new feminization in design — daintier details, urban materials interpreted in elegant, classical shapes. It’s an overall softening of decor.”

She also likes a color that had its heyday a couple of decades ago but is poised for a design stage revival: “Beige is back! And it looks fresh again anchoring a room of subtler hues — gray, ivory, taupe, pink, aqua, a softened olive,” she says.

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