Decorating with a Neutral Palette

Although I love color, I’ve always been drawn to rooms with neutral or subdued palettes. There is something very calm and relaxing about a neutral space, akin I think to a winter landscape after the snow. Everything seems a little more still and quiet, which is the type of sanctuary I long for after busy days in the city. However, creating a neutral palette isn’t just about throwing a bunch of beige furniture in a white room. In order to give the room depth and warmth, and to create that sense of sanctuary, the room still needs to be visually engaging. And the key to this is texture and pattern. Mixing wood grains, varied textiles, detailed furniture, stone, shell, metallics (you get the point) keeps a neutral room from being anything but boring.

Remember this mantra – texture, texture, and more texture.ย  With a multitude of textures, from the shell chandelier to the rustic coffee table and distressed furnishings, this room is full of warmth and interest.

decorating with neutrals, neutral palette, texture, pattern, distressed furniture, shell, capiz{source}

Subtle colors and patterns, soft texture and interesting accents add depth to this monochromatic white-on-white palette. For a slightly creamy off-white try Benjamin Moore Cloud White 967.

decorating with neutrals, neutral palette, texture, pattern, monochromatic color scheme, white on white


Exquisite details, metallic accents, and Lucite chairs give this room an expensive, high-end look.

decorating with neutrals, neutral palette, texture, pattern, luxe, modern, lucite


Switch up accessories in a neutral room, like the throw, pillows, wall art, and table pieces for a new look (and new color scheme) without spending a lot of money

decorating with neutrals, neutral palette, texture, pattern, pop of color{source}

A mix of eye-catching patterns and cozy textures (am I the only one that wants to snuggle up to those cable knit pillows and throw?) keeps this gray and cream bedroom from feeling sterile and cold. Wall color isย BM Spanish Olive CC-606.

decorating with neutrals, neutral palette, texture, pattern, gray and cream bedroom, BM Spanish Olive{source}

And finally, some neutral decorating inspiration of my own… a mood board with a gray, cream and gold color palette and featuring plenty of texture and pattern.

decorating with neutrals, neutral palette, texture, pattern, gray cream gold paletteBM Revere Pewter HC-172 | BM Cloud White 967 | Capiz Chandelier | Jute Rug | Pouf | Kivik Sofa | Zen Embroidered Throw Pillow | Bromley Wall Mirror | Portledge Wall Mirror | Gold Ceramic Lotus Stool

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on decorating with a neutral palette. Do you prefer lots of color? What rooms do you think a neutral palette works best in?




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18 thoughts on “Decorating with a Neutral Palette

  1. Anne-Louise

    As much as I love colour in other people’s homes, I just can’t seem to commit to a lot of colour so I love to use a neutral backdrop and add some trendy colour when I feel like I need to change it up a bit. I have never been one of those people who can decorate a room and leave it for 15 years and still love the colour scheme after all that time. Neutrals let me be my fickle self to flirt with colour as the whim hits me.

    1. Chicago ReDesign Post author

      I’m the same way! I love color in other people’s homes but prefer neutrals in my own. And, like you mentioned, the flexibility to add and change color on a whim is one of my favorite elements of a neutral palette. Thanks for reading Anne-Louise!

  2. Birgitte Vosper

    I love colour. I have lots of red in my bedroom (a warm red) but my living room is fairly neutral. I want your shell lamp. Its gorgeous. I do adore neutrals, but only the warm shades. Not too keen on builders white, it’s the beige and tan colours that inspire me but a pop of colour here and there is great – like the red cherry tree in your photo.
    I adore turquoise but am really struggling with adding it to my current palette – so I think it will be on my front porch ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great article.

  3. Birgitte Vosper

    thank you for taking time to do the links. You are right – it does go well together. I have just re-pinned them ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a softer hue of turquoise for my bedspread so I suppose I just need to add some textures with pillows.
    Will send you a picture once I finish the room. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. essenziale-hd

    Taryn, great post! As for me I just love neutral interiors and natural palette – they are so relaxing and calm. Although a pop up of colour will always look great on such a background.

    1. Chicago ReDesign Post author

      Thank you Anna! That’s exactly why I love neutrals – they create a serene environment on their own, but then you can add a pop of color to liven things up.

  5. Lisa

    I love the gray cream and gold pallet. The rug is great. Any recomendations on where I could find something similar?

    1. Chicago ReDesign Post author

      Looks great Birgette! I love that wallpaper and the red headboard ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you thinking of adding some turquoise accessories into the room or just keeping it red and white?

      1. birgittevosper

        Definitely adding some turquoise accessories – pillows mainly – wouldn’t know which other accessories to go for ๐Ÿ™‚ Will pick pillows in different patterns with turquoise to make it more interesting. thank you for inspiring me ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Chicago ReDesign Post author

        Can the lampshades be switched out? Maybe add some turquoise in there. And not sure if you have some sort of dresser on the wall opposite the bed, but if you did you could add some turquoise vases or a pretty gourd shaped turquoise lamp.

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