Now that the last square inch of my condo has been painted in keeping with a golden caramel palette of antique oak, creamy coloured furniture and pine-laminate floors, I am officially sick of brown.

It all feels stodgy and lifeless. What used to emit a unifying warmth now seems like a relentless amount of mud.

I know I will be attacking the walls again soon, washing every vertical surface in gallery white so the art and accessories can do all the talking.

I’m lured by the latest nostalgic glamour gracing the pages of House and Garden and Elle Décor, but I do draw the line at all the grey. Despite what the designers may extol, grey is not an appropriate colour for the Wet Coast, unless you want to risk falling into a clinical depression by February.

Now silver I could live with. I can’t get enough of the shine in mirrored, metal, paint and fabric. I love the combination of silver and white.

It’s so neutral it works with dark wood or light. It punches up the personality of accent colours like lime green, tangerine, cherry blossom pink or chalky pale teals. Silver is also a high-styling backdrop to both modern pieces and antique furnishings and accessories.

It takes a bit of discipline to enjoy the full effects of a lighter-than-air space delivered by silver and white, and if you know you’re not a minimalist or you live with kids, don’t bother. This crisp look is strictly for those who need a break from all the visual clutter in the city competing for your attention. Depending on your personality, the strict design limitations are either obsessive or challenging. I equate this kind of approach to container gardening: What to put in (and leave out) takes a lot of forethought and maintenance, but the result is a high concentration of style. Tips:

>> Keep all necessary clutter of life under cover — in boxes or behind doors. Even highly-used items like remote controls and keys can be dropped into flip-top boxes.

>> For storage out in the open, think in multiples for items like stainless steel hinged lunch-type boxes, or white translucent magazine files.

>> Unearth any white, glass and silver items to display in groupings, such as mismatched white vases on a silver tray, black and white photos in silver frames or white pillar candles on flipped glass goblets.

Carlyn Yandle is a Vancouver journalist with her own room-planning business, Home Reworks ( She dwells on urban-home issues every Thursday in Metro.

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