Couples can settle decorating differences by finding neutral ground in a subdued color palette. Just don’t forget to add some sparkle

I love decorating bedrooms. But it is different decorating one in a house you’re going to sell. You need to put aside your personal preferences and design a room that will appeal to men and women with different tastes.


An acronym I like to keep in mind for this situation is NAB — neutral and bling. You want to play it safe with your color palette, then spice it up with the bling. The master bedroom in this home I redesigned and put on the market is now neutrally fabulous!

Neutral colors can be soothing and relaxing. I chose to anchor the space with many shades of gray — not quite 50, though. I opted for a rich color, Benjamin Moore’s Anonymous on all the walls. This wouldn’t work in a small, dimly lit space, but it does in a large bedroom with high ceilings and plenty of natural light. The neutrals continue in the linen-colored headboard that ties in with the reading chair, and the sumptuous white bedding layered with shades of charcoal and dove gray. Finally, I furnished the space with dark walnut pieces and a gray leather bench.

But what about the bling? I know you may be thinking, “Seriously, Cathy? In a house for sale? Not everybody likes bling.”

I beg to differ. I’m not talking candelabras and Swarovski crystals. I just mean that even the manliest man will appreciate a little bit of romance and sparkle in a bedroom — a little bit, as long as there aren’t pink flowers everywhere.


Let’s look at our bling: It’s subtle. The bedside lamps are of mercury glass that complements the reflection in the antiqued mirror and sparkly accent pillow. The plaques above the bed have a layer of gold and silver. On the large dresser and side tables I replaced the hardware with beautiful glass knobs. And even the nail heads on the side chair are a rustic form of bling (and they tie in with the nail heads on the bench).

I’ll go so far as to say that adding any flash of metallic, from the picture frames to the candlesticks, adds romance to a bedroom that most homebuyers would appreciate. We’re balancing touches of bling with bold neutrals. You don’t want to go all one way or the other. The neutral palette balances the glitz, which provides a little bit of glamour that men and women appreciate.

So whether you want to NAB a potential homebuyer or maybe your own partner in the bedroom, decorating in this style will certainly leave them wanting more!


Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her work in redesigning residential and business spaces has been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. Look for reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture store reopening at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako this fall. To find out more, go to