18 Neutral Living Room Ideas That Are Anything but Boring

living room with starburst mirror over fireplace
Photo: Adam Albright Photography

A neutral color scheme can provide the perfect base for a stylish living room. Paint colors, furniture, and decor in shades of white, cream, gray, brown, and black create laidback, livable atmospheres. But remember, you can create neutral walls from many colors simply by adding white or gray to the paint. So go ahead, follow our ideas to inspire an inviting space that suits your style.

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Modern Neutrals

gray living room with warm wood floors and modern chandelier
Suggested paint color: Silver Mine PPU26-18, Behr. Peter Molick

A combination of cool gray and crisp white sets a modern tone in this neutral living room. Richly stained wood floors, along with a handful of wood furnishings, inject warmth into the palette. The darker wood tones help ground the space and ensure the neutral living room colors don't appear too cold or washed out.

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Cozy Neutral

renovated neutral-colored living room with pink and blue accent pieces
Lisa Romerein

Apply one neutral living room color in large doses for a restful effect. Here, warm white covers the walls, ceiling, trim, area rug, sofa, and window treatments, enveloping the room in coziness. Throw pillows and accent furniture introduce muted colors that don't distract from the overall neutral look.

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Black and White

black and white living room
John Bessler

Black and white contrast in a simple yet striking neutral color scheme. A black paneled accent wall breaks up the white in this shiplap-lined living room. Black and off-white pieces of furniture are strategically placed to highlight the contrast between the two neutrals. When choosing black paint, opt for a slightly reflective finish, such as satin or semi-gloss, to add a bit of life to the dark shade.

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Metallic Neutrals

living room with starburst mirror over fireplace
Adam Albright Photography

Mirrored and metallic surfaces add flair to neutral living rooms. Consider the undertones of walls and furnishings to determine which metal finish to use. Warm neutral living rooms, featuring shades like cream, taupe, camel, and cognac, benefit from the addition of brass or gold accents. Silver, chrome, and black iron details complement cooler schemes of crisp white and steely shades of gray.

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Contrasting Neutrals

living room with white furniture fireplace and tree branch lamp
Annie Schlechter

Incorporate light and dark details to boost a neutral living room's appeal. Use a rich beige as a neutral paint color, set off by white or creamy painted woodwork. Outfit dark wood floors with natural woven area rugs, and hang a shimmering chandelier above a weathered wood coffee table. Juxtaposing light with dark allows individual elements to shine, which in turn directs attention around the room.

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Neutral but Glam

neutral palette living room with taupes and pinks
Dane Tashima

A neutral color palette needn't lack personality. If you love everything that comes with glam style (gold finishes, crystals, and animal prints), use them as small embellishments to dress up beige walls. Here, a muted zebra accent chair pairs well with a gold geometric coffee table and shiny accessories.

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Warm and Cool

bookcase outside living room seating area
Reed Davis

Mix cool neutrals, like silvery blues and grays, with warmer browns and tans to create a balanced color scheme. This living room uses barely-there blues to lift up weightier brown furnishings and architectural details. The blue appears minimally as patterned accents that subtly further this room's nautical leanings, while maintaining a mostly neutral look.

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Decorating with Neutrals

Watch our tips on how to put together the perfect neutral living room palette. When choosing shades, keep in mind that neutrals aren't just gray, black, white, or beige. They can also be colors from the color wheel that are tinted with white or black to create a new hue.

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Neutral Plus One Color

white living room with brown and blue elements
Colleen Duffley

In a living room where neutrals reign, choose a single high-impact hue to liven up the palette. In this design, cream, medium brown, and white combine for a peaceful backdrop that could have come off as boring without the addition of the aqua accents. The color pops up in a faux-leather chair and a sculptural glass chandelier.

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Brown Wood Neutrals

Beam ceiling in rustic white room

For a warm, inviting living room, incorporate a mix of newer furnishings and antiques in varying shades of brown. The subtly shifting wood tones make the neutral living room furniture feel as if it's been assembled over time. Let the wood finishes and their undertones be your guide when adding in lighter or darker browns as solid lampshades, leather ottomans, and patterned fabrics.

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Traditional Neutrals

sitting room with tall windows
Eric Roth

Give your neutral living room an updated take on traditional. Use shades of beige and select furnishings covered in casual linen fabrics, or reupholster antiques with striking patterns. Neutral furniture pieces with classic profiles will prove timeless, while the newly added textiles create an original look. Weave in refined and rustic accessories for a personalized mix.

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Versatile Neutrals

living room with stone fireplace
Ryann Ford

Neutrals are flexible shades that partner with most colors and decorating styles. Here, bold citrus hues and retro motifs bring this living room more life than its neutral bones initially suggest. The room's off-white walls, stone fireplace, and neutral furniture could work equally well paired with a beach-inspired color scheme or earth-toned hues.

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Brown and Linen

living room with tuxedo sofa and side chairs
Michael Luppino

Brown tones make beautiful neutral living room colors. Opt for one light color (such as linen) and a deeper tone (such as cocoa brown) to form a versatile color scheme. Here, brown shows up as patterned pillows, a striped area rug, and nailhead trim and welting on upholstered furnishings. Variations of the hue repeat as metal tables, distressed patinas, and furniture finishes to fashion a calming, collected look.

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Incorporating Patterns

white living room with rug
Edmund Barr 

Incorporate a variety of patterns to give neutral living rooms a more interesting, layered look. Accent and upholstery fabrics are a great way to bring in patterns, but you can also use paneled woodwork, wire coffee tables or magazine racks, woven blinds, and natural materials. These elements can contribute geometric grids or abstract striations, adding additional texture without causing a space to feel busy.

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White and Navy

white living room with blue decorative pillows
Kim Cornelison

Use navy blues, sandy beiges, and bright whites to create a neutral living room with a coastal vibe. White is a go-to neutral paint color that lets living room decor shine. Place white furnishings and accessories against white walls to create a breezy backdrop for coastal colors and beach-combed treasures.

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Charcoal Gray

off-white sofa cream toned living room
Werner Straube

Go with gray for living room ideas that feel fresh and modern. Here, charcoal walls add a layer of warmth that partners nicely with sleek chrome sconces, zinc-top tables, and wood furnishings with distressed and silvery driftwood finishes. Keep the mood bright with linen-upholstered sofas, white area rugs, and naturally neutral window shades.

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Mixed Neutrals

living room with white couch with chaise
Edmund Barr

Create comfortable conversation areas with sofas and chairs upholstered in complementary, but not matchy-matchy textiles. Since most neutrals play well together, you can mix (or switch) them whenever the mood strikes. This living room's stone fireplace inspired an organic, neutral palette that blends limestone and charcoal grays with off-white, black, brown, and russet hues.

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Monochromatic Style

airy living space modern white
Laurie Black

A soothing color scheme of bright white and barely-there grays give this neutral living room a monochromatic look. Decorative accessories in similar colors supply interest to the subdued room. The shaggy area rug, galvanized-metal table, shimmering silver and glass vases, distressed geometric mirrors, and tone-on-tone patterned draperies contribute remarkable textures and distinctive forms.

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