Last month, I introduced you to my clients’ home in Hawaii Kai. They had remodeled it and asked me to decorate the space by merging their styles: He likes simple and contemporary, while she likes whimsical lux. They both love the ocean and anything blue.


Today I’ll show you how to use neutral colors to transition from his style to hers, and from one room to the next. Just keep in mind two parallel concepts: To please both him and her, find common likes in textures, colors and pat terns. And remember to give each room its own personality by incorporating something unique into that space.


Here, the dominant colors are neutrals: taupes, tans, creams and browns. To keep a sense of flow between rooms, you can flip-flop your dominant and secondary colors. One room can highlight camels and browns, while the next can feature charcoals and grays. Then bring in the other colors as accents.

The dominant pieces in the family room are the large sectional sofa and the area rug. Both are in neutral colors — gray and tan. It’s easy to mix these neutrals effortlessly. The grays of the leather sofa appear in smaller doses in the upholstered chairs in the dining room.

In the family room there is the modern tribal fabric on the swivel chair, which gives this space its own eclectic personality, an idea we’ve repeated in the custom-made cushions on the sofa.



In the dining room, the high-gloss dining table defines the look of that space. Where are the pops of white in the family room? If you said the modern entertainment console and the little side table, bingo!

I’ll give you more tips on how to merge your styles and transition your spaces in my next column. Meanwhile, just make sure each space reflects a little bit of his personality and a little bit of hers, and you’ll keep everybody happy!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.