Decorating Tips for Neutral Spaces

When decorating our homes, so many of us fall back on neutrals and for various reasons.  Some consider them calming, others are simply color shy or afraid to commit to bolder hues.  However, neutrals need not be bland nor labeled safe.  On the contrary, restrained neutrals can be pleasing and tranquil in a space when certain elements are present.  Here are eight ways to add interest to your neutral spaces at home..

Clever Contrast.   Mixing dark woods with light furnishings and walls tends to brings out the best in each other.  The darks seem richer and the whites feel brighter with deliberate contrast on display.


Play With Pattern.  This neutral living room offers timeless appeal with its soft painted molding and elegant furnishings. The large scale pattern of the rug and tone on tone striped panels add interest without screaming for attention.

With a neutral palette, you’re free to mix large scale pattern, such as the modern zebra on the accent chair, against a smaller scale such as the delicate floral in the window panels.


Layer the Textures.  The intentional use of organic texture in the form of stone, wood, and woven shades transforms this neutral room into an inviting one.

 Combining a capiz shell chandelier with woven rattan chairs adds textural interest to this neutral dining room.


Mix Your Metallics.   There are no rules anymore when it comes to mixing metallic sheens.  Bronzes and burnished silver play well together just as easily as champagne tones pair with classic shades of gold.


Vary the Seating.  Avoid matching furniture sets and instead choose pieces in different shapes that are upholstered in similar fabrics for a pulled together look.


Increase the Elegance.  Gray is a cool neutral that when paired with warm cream translates into a sophisticated serene space.  Clean lines contribute to this tailored yet relaxing retreat.

Caramel and cream are equally as sophisticated in this neutral bedroom balanced with luxurious fabrics and rich wood tones.


Accent with Color.  These otherwise neutral gathering spaces come to life with soft color in the form of decorative throw pillows and other home accessories.


Go Deep.   When we hear the the word “neutral”, paler shades often come to mind, however espresso and milk chocolate are also neutrals too.  The choice to use deeper tones adds richness to these dramatic neutral spaces.


Opting for neutral furnishings and walls is always a wise choice – simply add layers of texture, hints of color, and chic fabrics, and you’re on your way to a relaxing retreat that will please for years to come.

Happy decorating!

22 Responses to “ Decorating Tips for Neutral Spaces ”

  1. Great to see you here, Kate! Thanks for sharing! I am a big fan of neutral interiors. Great pics.

  2. I just converted a jewel toned living room to a neutral space and am loving the serenity of it. I am still filling in the small things and these wonderful pictures and comments are great inspiration.
    I have been a lifetime BH&G fan and subscriber. It’s fun to have my favorite blogger here! Congrats Kate!!

  3. LOVE the neutral rooms with pops of olive green – great article, Kate!

  4. Is it possible to provide links to the photo sources? I love so many of the things in these pictures; would be great to be able to track down who makes what. Thanks!

  5. Hi Elaine, all the images come from BH&G, and we’re working on having the images link to the original slideshow or home, thanks for the reminder. Since these are real spaces photographed for BH&G, we may be able to track sources, if you see something specific point it out or ask, I’ll try to track it down, or something similar!

  6. So nice Kim, thanks so much, you and I share that lifetime affection for BH&G!

  7. Congratulations Kate! Enjoyed this post so very much.

  8. It was worth watching over the exclusively decorated neutral spaces. I am desperately looking for ideas on home decor and see what I found here:) So great!

  9. Love the pops of color in the 13th, 14th and 15th slides. And I’m with Elaine, I’d love to know the sources, those three green glass vases setting on the table next to the fern picture are gorgeous. Liking the espresso and milk chocolate as well. Always a fan of gray.

  10. Gorgeous! I’m such a color girl but these are great spaces. I”m especially loving the texture that the matchstick blinds add – would love a future post on how to incorporate!

  11. Congratulations Kate… Your blog with Better Homes and Gardens is a great fit!

  12. Congratulations Kate! I’m a devoted reader of your blog and am so happy you and BHG are collaborating! I’m also one of THOSE people who read and rarely comment so I pledge to do better in the future!

  13. Isn’t that one family room with the painted fire place from Young House Love?! I thought I recognized the room…and Burger!!! (the dog) lol Congrats on your gig with BHG…loving this!

  14. I really like the light look, but am scared to death to live in them. I am such a klutz, they would be stained in a day.

  15. Congratulations Kate! I’d love to know a source for the mirror framed botanicals over the bed in the caramel and cream shot! Thanks, you keep us enthralled daily!

  16. Hi kate! Have been a huge fan for well over a year now. I think you rock! Do you have any info on the prints framed in the last picture as a grid in that living room? Best wishes to you!

  17. Yep Cheryl, it is! I love John & Sherry’s former den, it was featured in print in the BH&G mags, they’re the best!

  18. Hi Becky, I’ll ask about sources from the higher ups, perhaps they have a giant resource list from previous shoots for the mag!? (hope so). :)

  19. I absolutely love the woven rattan dining room chairs! Do you happen to know where those are from? Love them!

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