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Cream of the Crop: 6 Ways to Decorate with Neutrals

A few things come to mind when people think about decorating with neutrals at home. While some people might think of neutral tones as sterile or boring, there can be a lot of freedom in thinking of a space as a blank canvas.

Neutral tones and shades can help you create a calming oasis that’s harmonious, but nuanced and bold when it comes to small details. Here are six easy ways to decorate with neutrals at home. 




Go Green 

A muted space can be full of life no matter the season. If you have a room decorated in mostly neutral tones, bring the outside indoors with a range of houseplants. Not only do plants make a home more lively, they can also help purify the air.

Don’t stress yourself out if you don’t think you have a green thumb. It’s easier than ever to find information on plants that are easy to care for, no matter what the natural lighting situation is in your home. 


When it comes to plants in a subdued space, go for contrasts. Start with big, leafy tropical plants, one or two centerpiece trees about the same height as a floor lamp, and a range of potted ferns, miniature palm trees, some succulents, bamboo, and maybe some fragrant herbs like thyme and basil. 


Play With Texture 

Decorating in a neutral palette also gives you tons of opportunities to play with texture. In a living room that’s comprised of just one or two colors, you can add dimension through rich contrasts between rough and smooth textures, patterns, and fabrics. Champagne wall tiles can be perfect for an entry or living space while a driftwood table and rustic hardwood floors can provide some rougher, natural influences. 




For seating, go with off-white, cloud-like sofas and armchairs you can sink into. Accent the room with second-hand or vintage pieces like pottery, metallic sculptures, and family heirlooms. The key here is decorating in a largely minimal color palette while exploring depth and originality when it comes to contrasting pieces you wouldn’t normally see together. 


Dusty Desert Palettes 

The hype over millennial pink may be dying down, but its use in fashion and home interiors opened up a lot of us to new and interesting ways to combine muted colors. Think Georgia O’Keefe paintings and rooms that are equal parts rustic and calming. 


To capture a soothing desert palette at home, start with a heavy base color like rust for a larger element like a sofa or daybed. Use natural materials like stone tiles on floors. Choose a dusty pale pink or tan for the walls. Or, go with a lightly patterned wallpaper. Use minimalist pottery to accent the space, preferably in clay, sage green, blood orange, and maroon. Then, decorate your chair or sofa with a light linen throw blanket in turquoise or a deep royal blue. 


White Hot 

If you want to instantly brighten up a room, consider a clean, white base. The right white paint color can make any room a literal blank canvas. Because it can create so much negative space, break up the large swaths of white wall with darker accent pieces and like the previous point, go bold when it comes to textures and shapes. 




Monochrome Magic 

Sticking to just one color can create a space that’s just as dramatic as one that’s busy and full of contrasts. Think about every fixture and accent, down to the smallest detail. For instance, if you want a subdued outdoor space, consider monochrome patio furniture with matte black hardware. Whatever color you choose, pick pieces that run the whole spectrum from light to dark shades, complementing cold and warm tones, and remember our tips on contrasting textures. 


Accentuate The Positive 

With neutral spaces, you can go bold when it comes to accent pieces. Mix and match furniture from different areas. Contrast older architectural influences in a home with more modern pieces, like mid-century chairs with sculptural qualities. With a largely neutral or monochrome room, you’ll be able to create harmony among each contrasting element. 




Neutrals? No Problem 

With these tips, you’ll be able to create a subdued, neutral-tone home that’s rich with material contrasts and full of personality. Just remember to relax when it comes to shopping for the right pieces, wallpaper, paint, and other fixtures. Trust your instincts, and create a space that speaks to you. 


For more inspiration on how to upgrade your home in an innovative and eco-friendly manner, check out our posts on How to Make Sure Your Home is Green and Healthy and Sustainable Home Ideas to Lower Your Energy Consumption.



About the Author:

Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, and CRM solutions.

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