How to Decorate with Neutrals Without Being Boring

Having decorated countless homes in my career, I’ve come to realize three things:

First—that the theme you go with has to be anchored on the main architectural elements of your home. If your house features natural wooden accents or striking brick elements for example, these are things that should factor into your overall aesthetic.

Second—neutrals are the way to go. Personally, I’m all about color. I’m partial to bold hues like turquoise, coral and gold. But neutrals, when chosen thoughtfully, can be just as striking and still allow you to bring in pops of color into your home.

And third—accessories are the key to making interiors feel complete and put together. Pillows, throws, trays, bowls, shelves, stacks of books, plants and flowers—all these add character to a room and make it interesting and inviting.

Now, keep all of these things in mind as we go into what this post is really all about: decorating with neutrals.

When you’re working with neutrals as your home’s main theme, you’re essentially working with a blank canvas. You have every opportunity to bring your personality in by tastefully accessorizing your interiors. As home trends come and go, or as your personal preferences change, you can update your home with minimal effort. And you get to put the spotlight on the natural features of your home.

But there are a few things to keep in mind—

Decorate with Neutrals Tip #1—Take your cue from the space itself

I mentioned earlier that you should always take into consideration the main architectural elements of your home. This is because deciding the right color for a room means you have to take your cue from the space itself.

For example, if your home has elements of exposed brick—that’s a beautiful feature that can already serve as a decorative focal point unto itself. It offers texture, color and visual interest so you have to work around that or you risk making a room feel cluttered. Or let’s say you have a massive picture window with a spectacular view, you want the décor and color scheme to draw your eyes towards it, not to take away from it.

Decorate with Neutrals Tip #2—Decide if you want to coordinate or pop

Coordinating means you stick to an almost monochrome look. You’re working with a palette of two or three shades in the same color family and the look is quiet and subdued, but still elegant and striking.  My advice? Build layers of the same color in the space. For example, there are HUNDREDS of shades of white. Chantilly Lace or China White for example, has different sheens and I like to mix it by using the high gloss white on an accent wall and use the flat color on the rest of the room. I try to avoid taupes and variations of browns as they tend to look dated. Allow the tones to create a light, layered effect instead of driving yourself crazy trying to match everything.

For those who love bright hues, you can use the neutral background as a backdrop to deliver pops of contrasting color and pattern to invigorate the space. Small accessories can make a world of difference. Pillows and throws for example inject texture and comfort into any room, while sculptural lighting or vases add visual interest. A wide assortment of these small, well-placed decorative elements adds character and personality to a neutral space.

Decorate with Neutrals Tip #3—Wood and steel can add depth to neutral palettes

It’s easy to go overboard on furniture and appliances knowing it’s going to be set against a pared down backdrop of neutral colors; but you want to leave the punch of texture and color to the smaller decorative elements to avoid making the space look cluttered.

Instead, for major furniture and appliances, I would suggest wood for texture and steel for contrast. The juxtaposition these two materials create against neutrals are great additions to any space.

Decorate with Neutrals Tip #4—Understand tones and how they work together

Ever wonder why some neutral rooms look inviting and easy on the eye while others feel like everything looks so blah yet you can’t quite put your finger on why? Because neutral shades, like any other color palette, has tones.

There are warm neutrals like black, brown, tan, and gold. And there are cool neutrals such as white, ivory, silver, and gray. As a general rule, to keep things streamlined, you want to stick to one tone or the other.

Bottom line?

Neutrals are by far, your best option for creating cozy yet modern interiors. Follow the architectural elements of your home, bring in a subtle splash of color, add a lot of texture, and you’ll be able to create a look that’s anything but boring.

If you have any questions or would like to find a home that showcases exceptional neutral interiors, get in touch with me today.