7 TIPS FOR DECORATING WITH NEUTRALS
Decorating with neutrals is such a decor classic. A gorgeous neutral palette is a joy to live in and plays nicely with any color added to it! Today let’s talk about doing neutrals right!
Personally, I am a huge fan of living with neutral colors! You might even think I don’t like color. Nothing could be further from the truth! I adore color! I work with color all day long. So here’s the real truth. It’s just so easy living with neutrals!
When we think neutrals we should not just think “white”. Neutrals run from black to browns to taupes and beige and gray and bone and ivory and whites and everything in between! We all love the calm and uncluttered look of neutrals working together and the clean serene feel it gives us!
Neutrals are anything but boring… if done right! There are a few easy to follow rules for keeping
Now let’s talk about decorating with neutrals. Make sure you think about the following…
A NEUTRAL ROOM NEEDS TEXTURE
When decorating with neutrals, texture becomes your best friend! It is the most important element to keep in mind! Texture is the key to keeping things interesting and different.
Nubby, soft, fluffy, basketweave, shiny, rough, gritty, bumpy, wooly, tone-on-tone patterns are all perfect for a neutral home.
Mixing textures keep neutrals from looking flat.
Here are a few ways to add lots of texture to neutral decor…
- natural fiber rugs
- nubby pillows and throws
- texture on furniture
- linen/burlap and patterned curtains
- hand tuffted rugs
Great shapes and architectural detail get noticed in a neutral color palette and they can really bring a room to life. Opt for interesting shapes when choosing case pieces, chairs, sofa, and carpets. Pick great wood pieces or interesting tone on tone patterns or metal details!
- interesting detailing
- arched windows and arched frames
- patterns on furnishings and fabrics
- mixing shapes
MANY SHADES AND HUES MAKE NEUTRALS SHINE
There are hundreds of shades and tints of neutrals that play so nicely together! Use lots of neutrals!!!
Don’t get sucked into all white decor or your room just might look like a painter was let loose with a spray gun full of “painter’s grade white” paint! WAY TOO BORING! White done right has lots of varied and subtle neutral hues.
We painted our walls at Tanglewood white. Although we love Benjamin Moore’s Sonnet (sight) a beautiful soft white better suited our new home!
Living with white walls is amazing! My home is light and bright and the pretty white walls work with our neutral furniture!
It’s amazing to see just how many different colors and hues go into great neutral decor!
BEST TIPS FOR DECORATING WITH NEUTRALS
Most colors are either cool or warm. Warm color has undertones of yellow, orange or red. And cool color has undertones of green, blue or purple.
Even white most often has undertones that make it warm or cool! Interesting, right!?
My best tip when thinking about decorating with neutral is to choose to decorate a room with either cool or warm tones.
The Tanglewood house is filled with warm neutrals! I LOVE soft caramel, honey, bone, and warm white! If you like gray decor then you probably like cooler tones!
A little bit of both warm or cool tones in a room won’t hurt but any room should be predominately one or the other! Even in the rooms at Tanglewood and StoneGalbe, I added a little cool toned neutrals for a bit of interest!
BREAK THIS ONE RULE
Furniture size can become important in a neutral room. It’s okay to bring in a big piece that may be a little out of scale. I think big trappings in a neutral room adds a whole lot of much needed design significance and visual weight. A large hutch or bookcase looks great in a neutral room. Or how about a big, oversized vase of flowers!
Here at Tanglewood, we added a low profile neutral sectional to our small sunroom! This little room houses the tv so when family comes and we want to watch a movie together the sunroom is where it happens!
Because of our neutral color palette we could add a bigger sectional to the sunroom!
POP OF COLOR
Who doesn’t love a big pop of color in a neutral room! It just seems to bring a room to life! When adding a color to a neutral room, use it in several other things around the room OR en mass in one great and fabulous piece.
For this summer I’ve decided to go colorful in my neutral bedroom! I can’t wait to show you the gorgeous and fun color I’m adding!!!
ADD A BIT OF DRAMA TO A NEUTRAL ROOM
Who doesn’t love a little drama! A little bit of a darker neutrals works to ground a light and airy neutral room. It seems to wake it up and the room becomes instantly more noticeable!
Give it a try… you will love love love it!
With these 6 easy tips under your decor belt, you are well on your way to decorating with whites and neutrals and doing it not just right but fabulously!!!
If you love neutrals you will love these posts…
ADDING COLOR TO A NEUTRAL HOME
10 REASONS TO LOVE NEUTRAL WALLS
10 REASONS TO LOVE STONEGABLE COLOR PALETTE
CHOOSING THE PERFECT PAINT COLOR PLUS A PRINTABLE PAINTING SUPPLY CHECKLIST
Here’s a little gift for you! A printable book called 100 INSPIRATIONAL DECORATING IDEAS! Make sure you get your copy!
I’m learning so much about layering and texture from your blog. Thank you. You said the following
Cool color has undertones of yellow, orange or red. And warm color has undertones of green, blue or purple.
Is there a chance this might be backwards? Its confusing as you mentioned you have warm honey (which sounds close to yellow) in your home? And I always think of blue as a cooler color. Just want to make sure I’m understanding “undertone” correctly.
Yes! thanks for finding that! Fixing it now!
If you follow Maria Killam you will learn all about undertones. Highly recommend!
Yes, I follow her. Her course is quite expensive!
The problem with neutrals is that every blog I look at, the rooms all look the same. The rooms certainly do not look like they are ever “lived in”. I love color, but not going overboard with it. Make it “family friendly”.
Hi Karen, the important thing is that we all so what we love. It’s so important to have a home you love. I’m so glad you love to live with color!
Love, Love, Love….
Can you share where your drapes are from?
Hi Betsy, they are from Ballard Design. They were a splurge but one I’m glad I invested in. Thank goodness I only needed two panels. You can see them here:https://fave.co/3ede9Fp
I love the way you decorate and with neutral colors. I , too, love neutral colors. I have learned a lot from your blog on how to use neutrals. Of all the blogs I follow….you are my favorite! Can’t wait to see your post in the future…especially of your new home.
Thank you for letting me know, Kay! Helping home decorators, like me, to learn about interior design concepts and put them into action in their homes is my goal… and passion!
I was wondering if you have a favorite Chalk White color?
Hi Tink, yes I do!!! I love love love Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in Ballet White. It does not feel like a chalk paint, has no VOC’s and smells like vanilla. You can see it here:https://www.amyhowardhome.com/collections/one-step-paint/products/ballet-white-one-step-paint
Yvonne, can I ask where you purchased your neutral sectional sofa? (Or, where I might find something similar?)
It’s beautiful! Thank you!
Hi Dana, you can see my sofa here:https://rstyle.me/+_uiuPQFZBpF3BsC0wRf3Hw
We love it! The seat is firm, actually very firm but we really like that about the sofa. Hope this helps.
Yvonne, in your “7 Tips for Working with Neutrals”, there is a decorative piece I would like to ask you about. It’s on the coffee table in front of the neutral sectional sofa in the water hyacinth tray with the white tulips. It’s the egg-shaped piece next to the vase of white tulips. Can you recall where this piece came from? Would love to have it to use with the vase of white tulips. Thanks!
Hi Shebe, You can see the vase here:https://rstyle.me/+adEFgK_GEfgWZJBTTUNoCA and the hyacinth tray came from the Pottery Barn
Hi Yvonne, I would love to know how to order the white vase that the tulips are displayed in.
Hi Susan, you can see it here: https://rstyle.me/+adEFgK_GEfgWZJBTTUNoCA
What color white did you use in Tanglewood? I live in a small brick one store 1953 ranch and made the drop cloth curtains . We have a beautiful small white mantle and gas fireplace. There’s not much wall space so I thought white would be the best option. Any ideas?
Hi Ann, I chose Benjamin Moore’s Simply White for our Tanglewood home. It’s a soft white with warmer undertones. Hope that helps you.
We painted our entire townhome in Simply White. It is fabulous! The perfect white. It makes me happy every day. I got the idea from Yvonne’s blog, of course. Don’t hesitate to paint your home with Simply White. Yvonne is so right about that color.
Thank you, Yvonne, you inspire on a daily basis!
I’m thrilled you are happy with your Simply White townhouse. We love living with this gorgeous white too! And thank you for the lovely,sweet endoursement!
Love your home! I have been trying to lighten up my home. Your advice for adding texture makes such a difference! Little by little I am getting there. Thank you!
Good for you Laraine!
HAPPY SATURDAY !
Our home has an open concept floor plan.
Love your decorating ideas. Very family friendly.
In your sunroom, where did you set up your TV?
Enjoy your weekend
Would love suggestions for basement
The tv is mounted on the wall to the right side as you enter the sunroom. I’ll show it in another post soon!
Yvonne, your Tanglewood home is so beautiful! Love how you have done your Sunroom — everything is so nicely put together! Thanks for sharing with us. Hope you and Bobby have a nice weekend. We continue to pray that you will both be kept safe! God Bless you!
Thank you! We are really enjoying our sunroom!
Yvonne, would you share where you purchased the throw? PLEASE. We are remodeling our home and that would be perfect.
I found the throw locally but Target carries it too. Hope this helps.
Good morning! l You referenced ‘A little bit of a darker neutrals’. Could that be navy/ black?
I love your posts. Thank you for sharing all this fun information. We have an 1897 Georgian revival home. Are there any specific tips you might share about decorating a home of that era?
Hi Julia, I think navy is the most versatile color. It’s really not a neutral but it sure works well with them! And black is certainly a fabulous neutral!
Oh, I love the symmetry of a Georgian home!!! I think New Traditional styling would work perfectly! I’m so glad you are decorating your home with an eye to the its style.
Yvonne, Thank you for these great tips. We are purchasing furniture for our new home, which will all be done in neutrals. Currently we’re searching for a coffee table. I love the one in these photos. Could you tell me where it is from?
Hi Lori! I love neutrals. So easy to live it! Here is the link to the coffee table:https://rstyle.me/+UE0mpR0eHRZet3_8DVxXDQ
Hello, Just so you know the 7 tips to make faux flowers looks real takes me to 7 tips for decorating with neutrals also.
Sorry Vicky, here you go:https://www.stonegableblog.com/how-to-make-faux-flowers-look-more-real/
The room is gorgeous!! Can I move in 🙂
What a great compliment, Annie! Thank you!
Hi Yvonne, your neutral decor is very pretty! Have been going more towards neutrals but still love the color blue. The vase with the tulips I already have. I got it as a Christmas gift several years ago. Can you tell me where the basket is from on your coffee table. I really love it! Thanks
Hi Mary Ann. I’ve had this basket for at least a century.LOL! It’s my go-to rectangle basket. So sturdy, textural, and pretty! See it here:https://rstyle.me/+Thz6lSIyi7DfuqXyF79FNg
I love neutrals! Thanks for sharing this! My everyday living spaces are neutral warms with lots of creamy white and I love green! I started noticing how I was drawn more to the soft neutral warm colors and started embracing it and making more conscious decisions on buying things that fit in with what I had already. I do love color too during different seasons, spring I bring in yellows and soft corals and fall (my fav!) I bring in ALL the fall colors! But I am also glad to get back to my norn once the holiday seasons are done, I feel more relaxed. I always look forward to seeing your emails and what you have to share! Thank you!
I know just what you mean, Sheila!
Love those drapes(curtains) that I see in the background of some of your photos. They appear a grey/beige with tiny white pompoms? Would love to know more about them.
Hi Betty, The curtains are from Ballard Design and they are a very light taupe and they are dotted with a raised thread. Hope this helps.
I love your home and your ideas and advice! I love neutral decor in my home, but recently I added touches of blue. Now I find myself wanting to go back to all neutrals. I do this every single time I try to incorporate a color. Thanks for sharing inspiring me!
Julie, that happens to me too! I just bought blue and white pillows from Etsy (see them here:https://rstyle.me/+pK5dTv-ue-iOQoX2-UYuIA) to use a bit of blue in my home this spring and summer. However, I want to go right back to just neutrals. LOL!
Love the neutrals! Your drapery has a wonderful dot texture, may I ask where you got them?
I found these curtains at Ballard Design.
I love your decorating style, so comfortable and beautiful. Please share where I can find the rug seen
In most of these pictures. It is perfect for my dining room. Thank you.
Hi Carmen, I think you are talking about the Leopard rug. It’s from Ruggables. I LOVE it and I’ve washed it several times. See it HERE:https://rstyle.me/+B64u3u-RSe6t7yjbiIblbA
Where do you get your pillows or pillow covers? I love everything about your decorating style. We recently got a sectional similar to yours and I am struggling with pillows. It is in a game room and we have a fun funky blue chair in there so I want it to have a somewhat fun vibe, but cannot seem to match the blue. So am thinking textures in neutrals may be the way to go.
Hi Cindy, I get my pillows from so many different sources. Pottery Barn, Etsy, Wayfair, Birch Lane, Ballard Designs, HomeGoods and more. If you are having trouble with a color not working with your decor it might be the UNDERTONES. Read this post. It is so important and I think will help you a lot:https://www.stonegableblog.com/can-you-mix-warm-and-cool-colors-in-decor/
Love the ideas with the neutral colors. I’m hooked on the neutrals. Thanks for sharing
You are so welcome, Mille
I love the 3 neutral/caramel cushions could please advise where they can be purchased.
Thanks so much
Hi Marilyn, you can see the pillows here: https://rstyle.me/+10e_sWZI3OtcZT-ClQ4YsQ and here one similar to the natural fiber pillow:https://rstyle.me/+X7imYkjppGGHni6dbuBQuw The large pillows are Euro shams and I don’t see them anymore on the PB site. Hope this helps.
Could you tell me where to find the rattan chest you have used as a side table in your sunroom.
Hi Gloria, I found it at the Pottery Barn years ago. I don’t see it on their site anymore. Why not look on Wayfair’s site. They have a huge variety of baskets.
Thank you for the time and information you share with me and others!!! It is so useful and creative. I appreciate it more than I can say!
How sweet Chris! Thank you!
True story: I have a beautiful home that my husband (high school sweetheart) purchased for me 7 years ago. I am now 72. I had always lived in an extremely modest home, 1200-1700 sq ft. I now have 3200 sq ft and it has paralyzed me.
It was a “spec” home and gorgeous. Seven years later, still no paint on the walls, pictures on the wall or curtains hung. I was “helped” by a designer to go with the dark tuscan colors so how I have a red leather couch and ottoman, cream chair, printed chair, and a beautiful persian rug. This is an open floor plan and I am dying. I have literally been praying, “Lord, please help me love my home”. I have paint charts everywhere and can not pull the trigger. Then your blog came along……Girl, you have totally nailed what I love. Now I have to figure what to put on the walls. My woodwork in the kitchen, dining and office area is cream and everything else is a cherry I think. I’m totally lost. I wish my husband would have let me “grow” into this house, but he wanted furniture in it NOW. Thank you for having found me or vice versa. I truly think you were an answer to my prayer “Lord, please help me love my home”.
Char, I’m so sorry you are stuck about decorating your home. I’m so glad you found me too! There are so many posts on the blog that will help you become a confident decorator. I hope they help! xo