How to Decorate With Neutrals

March 28, 2017

Colors are a fantastic design element as they can very subtly, or even directly, change the mood of a room. However, when it comes to your interior design, letting your color palette get out of hand can be a disaster. Yes, there is such a thing as “too yellow” and you’ll know it when you see it. Starting with a neutral foundation can help keep things from getting out of hand, but you need to know how to decorate with neutrals to make it work.

Because there are a seemingly infinite number of paint colors you can have mixed up, choosing the right palette to work with can be a little overwhelming. Before you start glazing over paint swatches, knowing what direction you want to go in can help save you some time and energy. With that being said, if you’re looking for a look that is both crisp and clean, while still feeling inviting, you might want to consider working with a neutral palette. Here’s how to decorate with neutrals:

Why Neutrals?

While a lot of people might hear the word neutral and immediately associate it with boring, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The beauty of neutrals is that they give you a nice, subtle palette to work with while still giving the room an open and clean look. Unlike other color choices, such as the warmer orange and red tones, neutrals won’t overwhelm the senses when you walk into a room.

Additionally, neutral tones are a lot more versatile than you’d expect. If you want an earthier look, you can lean more toward browns, beiges, and taupes. If you want to play with some contrast without the stark look of black and white, use whites, grays, and other mid-tones to round out your palette.

Is There Such a Thing as “Too Neutral?”

The beauty of working with neutral colors is that they really lend themselves to the balance of a room rather than having one color overpowering everything else in the room or having too many colors making the room too busy. With that being said, if you’re using just neutral colors to decorate, then you might have a room that is a bit too muted. Fortunately, that’s a really easy fix.

Remember, the idea behind neutrals is that they are rather tame colors, which allows them to blend and flow quite easily. When it comes to how to decorate with neutrals, the right complementary colors make a big difference. By using other complementary tones to your base color, you can create a well-rounded look.

If you’re feeling as though it’s missing something, try using some brighter-colored accessories to add just a little extra pop of color and energy. Starting out with small tests like this is one of the tips for decorating with bold colors you can use to round out a look and avoid being too neutral. The beauty of that calm and neutral energy is that it will make the small accent pieces much more pronounced and allow you to add a little something extra without going into overkill.

5 Ways to Decorate With Neutrals

Sticking to a neutral palette is one of the tips for timeless bathroom design and can also apply well to any room. Here are some tips and ideas for how to decorate with neutrals:

1. Go With the Flow of a Theme

One of the coolest aspects of using neutral colors to decorate a room is that you can easily change the feel of the room by switching one of the tones around, all while keeping that room in line with the rest of the color scheme you have going in the rest of your home.

This allows you to keep the flow and continuity going throughout your home while still giving each room its own attention and feeling. For example, if a general interior design theme is mid-century modern, there are several mid-century modern color schemes that feature neutrals and you can mix and match them for different rooms.

2. Try Incorporating a Pattern

There are many ways to incorporate bold patterns into your custom home, and similar approaches can be used with neutrals featuring patterns. Patterns tend to have a reputation for being bold, but even busy patterns can sometimes come across as more sophisticated, chic, and elegant when it’s done in a neutral color.

This approach of rendering patterns in neutral colors can give you both visual interest and the quiet, calm aesthetic that neutrals can provide. Additionally, you can use patterns in neutrals like this to stick with the same color in a room and be a little monochromatic without it feeling flat or too monochromatic. This is also one of the tips for decorating with animal prints if you want to play with those patterns. 

You can also play around with different shapes and dimensions in neutrals to add some variety to your decor without straying too far from your neutral palette. This can add something fresh and unique to the room without overwhelming it or taking away from other designated focal points.

3. Use Neutrals as Accent Colors

When picking color palettes, you want to identify the primary and secondary colors as well as accent colors. Usually, when it comes to neutrals, they are the foundation of the color palette and brighter colors tend to be accents. Neutrals pair well with several materials and can also be some of the best paint colors with oak cabinets.

Another way to decorate with neutrals is to switch this up and make neutrals the accent colors. This allows you to play with bolder interior colors and also to play with more versatile neutrals or warm neutrals, which are some interior color trends.

4. Add Some Texture

Walls and floors are popular areas for neutrals when opting for a neutral color palette. Wherever you want to decorate with neutrals, adding some texture can help elevate the overall look and keep things from looking too flat.

There are a lot of options to add texture to your walls, ceilings, and more. A patterned wallpaper as an accent wall can elevate the look of a room. Different types of trim can be added to add texture, add contrast, and enhance the overall aesthetic. Even a different paint finish can change the look of a room.

Another way to layer even more texture is to pair your neutral color scheme with some natural finishes. Incorporating natural wood, natural stone, natural fabrics, and more into the decor, furniture, countertops, etc. of the room can also add texture and depth.

5. Play With Tones and Hues

Neutrals are often more versatile than you may think. Playing with tones and hues is one way to decorate with neutrals. From pale tones like pink, blue, green, gray, and tan to dark tones like espresso, charcoal, and mahogany, there are a ton of options available. And, even if you narrow into a specific color or tone, you can then shift to different hues to add depth and subtle contrast.

If you’re looking for a great range of colors to use for your home’s interior without being bombarded every time you walk into a room, neutrals are the perfect way to go! With these tips for how to decorate with neutrals, you’re on the right path to get started. If you are ready to bring your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090. We can help make your dream custom home a reality!