Your Home Design Guide To Neutrals

Many homeowners can become intimidated by neutrals, believing that they will over-do it and end up with a bland outcome. Fear-no-more, because there are many ways to avoid a washed out space and, in fact, end up with a stunning design that is anything but boring. There are two main purposes of a neutral palette: to create a completely neutral room for its soft + modern qualities or to develop a background for your bolder accents. We’ll discuss each method and deal out the tips and tricks that can help make your neutral design a huge success.

neutral-colors-interior-design-bedroom

Via House Trends

NOTHING BUT NEUTRALS

LAYER

In a room decked out in neutrals, it is extremely important to create a dynamic flow to ensure that the space doesn’t end up flat and bland. By layering you can develop a depth that enriches the overall appearance of the space, and gives it a welcoming feeling. Take control of the sea of neutrals by first acknowledging a layout, including your focal point and/or the elements that will ground the space. We’ll explain this further: when pulling together your palette, look for 3-4 base shades of one color (i.e. lightest shade of beige, medium beige, and deep beige) to literally bring depth into your design. A great way begin is with the lightest hue for your walls, a medium tone for rugs, draperies, etc. and then the deepest version for your furniture and accents. It is often recommended to consider the paint chip families, as they are already combined as a harmonious color scheme.

layering-living-room-neutrals

Via Lighting Connection

TEXTURES

Textures will be your best friend when creating an all-neutral space, because they will help give your room a unique quality that can easily be lost in a soft palette design. Faux fur, rattan, patterned fabrics, and leafing finishes are just a few of the textural possibilities. By adding in the movement of these elements, you can begin to develop a path that leads the viewer’s eye throughout the space and therefore achieving a comprehensive and thoughtful design. Textured additions are a surefire way to keep guests engaged and comforted, without feeling swallowed by the full-on neutral space.

neutrals-textures-rugs-interior-design

Via Rugs USA

STYLES

All interior designers have a certain purpose and style they wish to portray with each space they take on. Whether they are going for a modern dining room, a minimalist living room, or a farmhouse kitchen, designers will begin their plan with the right color scheme. An all-neutral palette resonates beautifully with a variety of styles and spaces such as the earthy, romantic, luxurious, or modern (and contemporary) designs. This only adds to the list of reasons why a neutral palette is so loved by so many.

In earthy settings, the neutrals contribute to the “bringing the outside in” trend that so many homeowners have turned to for a more down-to-earth and relaxed feeling in their home. It creates a perfect setting for plants and other nature inspired decor. Our favorites tend to be beautiful wooden accents and mother natures organic patterns found in marble and other stone formations.

earthy-neutrals-plants

Via STYLIZIMO

In a romantic space, such as the bedroom or master bathroom, neutral tones come together to whisk you away into relaxation and indulgence. Like the sweet satin texture of caramel, a neutrally dominant interior can induce an open and inviting state of mind that leaves you feeling nothing-short-of content. By enveloping the space around you in soothing nature inspired hues, you are welcoming the the warm embrace of peacefulness. A perfect setting for fresh flowers, soft blankets, and a candle or two, a neutral palette will only add to the romantic spaces in your home.

luxury-neutral-colors

Via BuyersSelect

For a more luxurious take on your interior, a neutral color scheme will prepare the space for crystals, glamorous textures, soul-warming aromas, and all that your high-end taste entails. A neutral palette exudes the sophistication and maturity that a luxe design requires. It sets a bar high enough that your opulent accents will look highly curated and thought through. Bottom line is, a neutral palette is perfect for your masterful + luxurious design.

luxurious-neutral-crystals

Via Decaholic

Finally, any modern or contemporary space can spawn from a great neutral (or monochromatic) palette. By limiting your color scheme, you pave the way for a simplistic + professional-grade design that captures the edgy exclusiveness of being a modernist. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat chilling effect of many modern designs, as we are here to inform you that a space can, in fact, be warm and contemporary. 

neutral-colors-monochromatic-bedroom-interior-design

Via SheKnnows

These styles are often deduced to just their geometric and minimal approach, but they are so much more. They are part of a movement of streamlining our surroundings to encourage a more active + productive lifestyle. So why is it so often overlooked that neutrals, the most non-defining and space-opening hues, are a perfect solution to create a modern or contemporary space? This may because of the common mistake of thinking that neutrals means browns, beiges, and creams only. (Sound familiar? Because many of us were guilty of this notion at one point in time.) If this may be what you think neutrals are then we are here to open the flood gates to the endless possibilities because, in all reality, grays, blacks, whites, beiges, creams, and all the other lack-of-real-color shades are part of the neutral family. Pretty exciting stuff, right?

modern-neutral-living-room

Via My Homemate

With this new, or not-so-new, information in our design tool belt, we don’t have to do much convincing that a neutral palette can definitely make for the ideal modern or contemporary design. No need to distract your creative train of thought with bright or overly active surroundings (unless you’re in to that sort of thing…)

DECOR

Since we are focusing on full-on neutral spaces, then we are assuming your commitment to the palette and therefore need to address the final touches of your space. As we mentioned before, darker colored furniture is ideal to bring the center of attention to these focal points. These grounding elements are the perfect place for your decor + accents that will pull everything together. Whether you have found the perfect accent pillows for your sofa, or an array of neutrally bound books to stack on your mantle or bookshelf, these final touches will act as the thread to sew all of your elements together. Even if you aren’t an experienced seamstress, it is common knowledge that you simply do not hem a garment with contrasting colored thread. Rather you find a shade that is close to, or practically matching, the existing fabric color, so that the end product looks intentional and professional. In the same way, your decor should reflect the existing shades in your space so that each piece can successfully fulfill its binding role in your overall interior design.

decor-neutral-palette-pillows

Via The Decorista

MAKING WAY FOR BOLD ACCENTS

eclectic kitchen

Via Apartment Therapy

CREATING HARMONY

Luckily you have options: in a neutral space you don’t have to stick to one color family, in fact you can find the most dramatic decor imaginable and it will probably look fabulous. (Disclaimer: We hereby take no responsibility if it turns out horribly – so just be wise in color pairing so your space doesn’t end up cringe-worthy) Just as every relationship requires balance and honesty, find hues that work well together, and be honest with yourself if, in fact, they are awful when in the same room together. The nice part about neutral shades is their versatility and their ability to create a soft backdrop for your bold + eccentric additions. Make sure to avoid too much busyness by remaining loyal to a plan + layout that you devise before executing. This will help ensure a smooth and seamless design that will keep the peace and harmony of the space.

accent-color-bluje-eclectic

Via Blog Lovin

CONSIDER UNDERTONES

Although neutrals are defined as a lack of color, most actually have an undertone in some way. Whether your beige has green, gold, or pink roots or if your white has a blue, yellow, or pink undertone, you can use these scenarios to your advantage. If your green under-toned beige is something you want to accentuate, then bring on the beautiful greeneries to liven up the space or just connect with those home-grown roots. Or if your whites have undertones of blue, then they are sure to be crisp and clean and also perfectly complimented with zesty or rich oranges + yellows. Don’t limit yourself when exploring your options because the perfect pairing may be the just around the corner.

STYLES

There are many styles that neutrals with bold accents work well with, but for now we will focus on the top two trending ones: eclectic and modern. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the eclectic style, it is an approach to design that sets you apart from the rest (literally). Its tendency to bring in unique treasures from near and far gives it a charming and curated appearance that leaves guests intrigued and inspired. It is a style that is hard to grasp as it is evolutionary in its applications. Each individual will have their own perception and qualities that pool together to make thoughtful decisions in each element for their space, making it exemplary of who they are and what they’re all about. Neutral spaces are the perfect environment for this style as they help avoid a common over-crowding situation and also create an open yet grounded backdrop for your more colorful choices.

As for the modern style, neutrals are ideal for the unifying aspects of its application and help to achieve a simple and organized layout. With some crossover elements into a mid century modern realm, neutral modern spaces benefit from large and colorful patterns or forms. They can give a linear space a much-needed liveliness without veering too far into organic elements often found it more laid-back styles. Either way, patterns or not, modern designs heavily rely on their neutral contributions, but certainly do not suffer from their more colorful inclusions.

eclectic-decor-with-neutrals-living-room

Via HOMEGIRLLONDON

DECOR

Eclectic decor is a sea of possibilities, in that there are no rigid rules for your little treasures. Your final accents can be as uniquely you, as you would like. Be creative and thoughtful in your choices and don’t fear the peculiar qualities that comprise your personality and preferences. For example, an artist with a background in the hispanic culture may bring in vibrantly woven accent pillows or rugs into her soft gray and white living room. Or a gardener with a passion for french impressionism may compliment their light beige dining room with pastel or vivid florals to illustrate their interests. This style is very interesting and interactive in that it can act as a window into the passions + interests of the homeowner or designer. Take that little treat of information and respect each glimpse of someones life that you are shown when visiting a home. And on the other end of it, share those lovely tidbits with your guests by bringing your favorite things to the forefront of your interior designs.

eclectic-decor-orange-chair

Via Arcadian Home

As for a more modern take on neutral with dramatic decor, highlight the purpose of the space and let the focal points that support the effectiveness of the room be colorful additions to your streamlined design. Whether your white and tan kitchen needs a bold blue mixer or some pink and gold fruit bowls to decorate the countertops, your neutral modern design will only be aided by its colorful counterparts. You can also get away with some pretty bold mid century inspired patterns without losing the sleek modern presentation of your space. Think accent pillows or framed artwork for these active additions. The cohesive pairing of neutrals with sleek + saturated hues makes for a happy + productive space.

Tell us how you feel about neutrals, how you have already incorporated them into your designs, or how you plan to bring neutrals into your home, in the comments below. We love to hear all about your interior design journey and what makes up each space.

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