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Decorating With Neutral Colors

Banish Boring With These Neutral Color Scheme Tips

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Decorating With Neutral Colors
Photo © Andersen Ross/Getty

Neutral colors can be a decorator’s (and a home owner’s) best friend. Nothing can calm and balance a space as well as neutrals. However, many homeowners, afraid of a color disaster, overuse a neutral color scheme to the point of being bland.

Decorating with neutrals was never meant to be boring. Neutral colors are supposed to enhance a space and allow the natural beauty of a room show through – not take over it. Learn to showcase the beauty of your home and your space with these tips for decorating with neutral colors.

    Tips for Decorating with Neutral Colors
  • Think in textures. Neutral tones in different textures appear as different tones and colors. This keeps neutral colors exciting to the eye, and exciting in your space.

  • Think in contrasts, like warm verses cool or textured verses polished. For example, pair a nubby neutral burlap chair with a polished steel table. Gleaming, dark woods, glass and other shiny surfaces often pair well with a neutral’s natural color palette.

  • Think in layers. For example, if neutrals comprise the main color scheme of your space, layer colors, textures and tones on top of your foundation. Use contrasting shades as accent colors, or darker tones of the same color to add depth.

  • Think in patterns. Neutrals look lovely when paired with patterns or when used in a pattern. Patterns add movement to a space, something that may be lacking in a room dominated by neutrals.

  • Think seasonal. Since neutrals go with almost anything, a foundational neutral color scheme is perfect for changing out your decor on a seasonal basis. Changing out throw pillows or other small, soft furnishings is a great way to add a fresh, seasonal color palette to your space.

  • Think dark. When decorating with neutrals, it helps to ground neutral’s light tones with a black, a dark chocolate or a rich red or deep blue.

  • Think in undertones. Not all neutrals work together, especially if you are bold enough to go with a chic, monochromatic neutral color scheme. A neutral color can have warm or cool undertones. When decorating with neutrals, choose a balance of warm and cool undertones to make your neutrals work together.

  • Think contemporary. In case you haven’t noticed, the color tan is so yesteryear. When decorating with neutrals, choose colors that are rich and earthy, or colors comprised of mineral tones like warm gray-greens or cool stone grays. Milky warm whites and creams are also popular.

  • Think accents. If your neutral-colored space is feeling a bit boring, adding pops of color is a great way to jazz up a space. Add color via small decor and throw pillows, but also find ways to introduce color into your room in surprising places, like painting a doorframe or adding an accent wall.

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