Transforming Your Space: 6 Essential Tips for Neutral Rooms

Are you inspired by all of the amazing rooms with a neutral palette you see on Pinterest? If you want to try a room with a neutral color scheme, follow these six tips to get that jaw-dropping design style.

Rooms with neutral tones are harder to do well than rooms with lots of color. There have to be different elements to catch the eye in the absence of color. It may look effortless in magazines, but once you start looking closely at the rooms you like, you can see each of these tips is incorporated into every neutral space.

If you don’t follow some of these tips you may find your room isn’t looking as rich and inviting as the photos you see.

If you prefer to watch the video, you can see it here.

1. Use Wood Elements

Wood gives a lot of warm undertones, depth, and a textural element to a neutral room. It’s a good idea to incorporate as many wood elements as possible. This can be with pieces of furniture, wood beams, a wood tray, a lamp base, or even a piece of driftwood.

Wood can also be incorporated with architectural detail like a wood mantle or wood floors. Don’t worry if they are not all the same wood tone, a mix can help add even more warmth to a room.

2. Use Many Different Textures

You can add plenty of texture to a room with drapes, rugs, pillows, throw blankets, and baskets (just to name a few). A room with a limited neutral color palette needs warmth from lots of texture, even if the textures are also neutral.

cozy room with no window

There are limitless ways to add interesting textures to a neutral room, but here’s a short list of ideas: seagrass baskets or rugs, wicker baskets, bamboo blinds, all fabrics especially those that have dimension to them, natural fiber rugs, knitted pouf balls and tapestry wall hangings.

3. Use Neutral Patterns

When you think of pattern, most people think of colorful accents but there are many patterns with a neutral scheme that can add visual interest. A few of the easiest places to add neutral patterns are through rugs, throw pillows and drapes. You can also add a neutral pattern with window shades and upholstered furniture. Think tone-on-tone or it can be various shades of one neutral color.

Here are a few examples of neutral patterns.

4. Use Different Shades of the Main Neutral

Most neutral rooms have one main color tone, it will either be a neutral warm color like cream or beige or a neutral cool color like gray. Warm neutral colors have yellow or pink undertones. Cool neutrals have blue or green undertones. Whichever one you choose, incorporate many different shades of your base color to get a layered look.

shades of neutrals

If your room is in the beige/cream family, use lots of different tones of cream and beige. You can even use different shades of white decor since there are so many. If your room is grey, use many different greys. You can achieve this through neutral paint colors, upholstery/fabric, lighting, and accessories.

5. Add Something Black

A little trick I like to use is adding small touches of black to every room, even if it’s not a neutral room. If you start looking at images you like, I bet you will see small touches of black in each one. It can be a lamp, a tray, a bookend, hardware, or something architectural.

touches of black in neutral room

6. Add Plants

Plants are similar to wood. They are nature-based elements that add life to any room. If the room doesn’t have enough light for a plant, try one of these low-light plants. There are also some excellent faux plants, but they can be pricey.

Examples of Neutral rooms

Here are a few examples of staged rooms with a neutral look. That means they are catalog ready. See how they use each of these elements to make the rooms look more warm and inviting.

Here’s an amazing room with neutral decor from Pottery Barn. It’s awesome because it looks so effortless and comfortable, but when you pick apart the room you can see each of these elements are there.

This is a neutral bedroom from Ikea done in cool greys. There is no pattern, in it but it has all of the others essentials for a neutral bedroom.

Neutral has gotten a bad rap, it doesn’t have to mean monotone. Neutral rooms need many layers, more so than rooms with lots of color. You can get that layered, cozy room feel if you incorporate these six design elements into your neutral living space. What are your favorite ideas for decorating a neutral room?

If you enjoyed this post, you might like 4 hacks to choosing a color palette (neutrals are still colors).

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  1. Great tips Andrea! I’m a sucker for a rich neutral room and you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post. Thanks, and Happy Tuesday my friend!

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