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How To Decorate With Neutral Colors + The Best Neutral Paint Colors

No! I’m not repainting my house today, but we are going to talk about how to decorate with neutral colors! I often get asked about our neutral color scheme and how we make it work without causing our house to look bland or blah.

One of the secrets to decorating with neutral colors is, of course, to pick a really great wall color. It may sound strange, but I have a whole pallet of my favorite neutral paint colors. The subtle differences between cream, grey, white and ecru are distinct and there’s a big difference. Some neutrals read warmer and some read cooler. There’s currently a trend to go with either “griege” (grey + beige) or all-white on walls and interiors. This color scheme has been trending for a while, but it shows no signs of going out of style. I get weekly questions about the paint shade we used in our house, and how to incorporate more of a neutral color scheme into a room without causing it to feel “flat.”

The great thing about light paint shades is they lend themselves to many different décor styles—rustic, modern, bohemian, Scandinavian. It’s all about the ways you choose to accessorize the room with texture, furniture style, shape, and accents. Mirrored, silver and mercury accessories can create a lux atmosphere when combined with decadent textures like velvet and fur. At the same time, white-washed or weathered wood furniture looks charming, fresh and rustic against a neutral palette. It’s all about the style you bring into the room. Neutral colors are exciting because they create the perfect canvas for any room!

If you’re ready for the clean, bright, cheer of a neutral color palette, here are some great ideas to inspire you, along with a guide to my favorite neutral paint colors. Incorporate more “griege” into your life to create a room that stands out!

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Neutral Color Palette Inspiration

How to decorate with neutral colors: this living room is full of neutral browns, greys, and yellows - but with the addition of stripes, textures, and patterns, there is NOTHING boring here!{ via }

In this room, you get pops of this great shade of griege on the walls and on the furniture. The pale-yellow paint on the accent wall reads as a neutral. Adding bold stripes via the rug keeps a small room from feeling too snug. The statement chandelier expands the room by drawing your eye upward (and complements the rug). With the addition of texture on the ottoman this room feels perfectly warm and cozy. No starkness here!

How to decorate with neutral colors: this neutral color scheme makes this living and dining room feel warm and inviting. The griege chairs and carpets bring a consistency throughout the room. { via }

Again, the use of black as an accent makes this space have a greater visual impact. The arrangement of the warm griege chairs mirrors the two square industrial lamps hanging above. Despite the formal symmetry, this room still feels relaxed and warm due to the plush chairs, exposed beams, and natural accents scattered throughout the space.

How to decorate with neutral colors: this all-white living room doesn't look the leave bit intimidating with those stunning pewter grey ottomans and gorgeous weathered wood coffee table!{ via }

This elegant white room manages to feel soft and inviting despite the white-on-white of the wall color, flooring, rug, and couch. Using the two pewter grey ottomans along with the warm, textured wood coffee table makes this space feel comfortable and casual. Once again, touches of nature with the giant shell and beautiful hydrangea bouquet are a welcomed addition.

How to decorate with neutral colors: another all-white living room sparkles with silver and black accents, giving this room a clean, yet elegant and comfortable feel. { via }

Nothing makes a neutral white color scheme look more glamorous than silver accents. From the frames and the chandelier to the pillows on the couch, this room feels elegant and stately. The dark flooring compliments the room perfectly, and the color is repeated on the coffee table and the little horse on the mantel.

How to decorate with neutral colors: Who said neutral had to be boring? This all-white furniture looks amazing against those large windows filled with green. The pops of color throughout make it feel fresh and clean. { via }

The cream walls with white trim are bright and inviting in this sunny room. Lots of texture in this room in the rug, coffee table, and wood accessories make this all-white furniture pop and not blend in too much with the cream walls. Those big windows offer plenty of green, complemented by a few plants throughout the space. The natural woven jute and the fun shape of the light fixture keep this space playful and relaxed.

Griege also works great in a kitchen setting! As a cabinet and accent color, it works beautifully!

This all-white kitchen pops with gorgeous gold accents and a lovely subway tile backsplash. This is how you decorate with neutral colors!{ via }

This kitchen is stunning with neutral white subway tile covering the walls. The griege cabinets stand out, especially with those gorgeous gold handles! Gold is an unexpected touch in the kitchen, so it really catches the eye. It plays very well with the rest of the neutral scheme which keeps a smaller cooking space feel expansive.

This kitchen is neutral, yet comforting with the dark grey cabinets and shiny gold hardware. The white backsplash lightens everything up.{ via }

A darker grey cabinet paint color also works for the kitchen with a neutral palette. Again, the subway tile backsplash is a perfect background for these dramatic cabinets. Check out that gold faucet too! I’m really falling in love with gold accents for the kitchen. They’re beautiful with the deep farmhouse sink and offer the perfect contrast against the neutral cabinets.

All- white kitchens work best when complimented with colors. This neutral color scheme on the chairs, carpet, and beautiful wood dining table make this kitchen look bright and welcoming. { via }

In this all-white kitchen, griege tiles and weathered furniture work seamlessly together. The eclectic country pieces pair with the modern, industrial background largely because every piece reads as a neutral. Working with this color scheme is fun because almost anything goes together!

How to decorate with neutral colors: a farmhouse kitchen is calling for neutral colors! But this kitchen pulls everything together with pops of green, silver, and soft yellow. { via }

Above is another great example of how country pieces like a farmhouse table, industrial accents, and even an elegant chandelier look cohesive and deliberate when working in a neutral palette. The exposed beams in all-white paint keep the ceiling high and open. The white walls and island are complemented by the cool white of the industrial metal chairs and the sweet ceramic pitcher on the table filled with fresh blooms.

I LOVE how the neutral color scheme and griege accents are also being used to make focal pieces in a room stand out.

How to decorate with neutral colors: painting the whole room a neutral color with major statement pieces of white liven up this bathroom while making it the perfect place to relax and unwind!

Against a neutral background, this griege clawfoot bathtub is breathtaking. The simple bathroom is inviting, elegant and in no way blah, despite the simple color scheme.

This dreamy beige piano stands out perfectly from the white walls and creates a lovely neutral atmosphere in this living room. { via }

This piano is just dreamy in a creamy beige color! We often think color makes a piece pop, but against white walls, great lines can make a neutral focal piece really stand out. Who could miss this stunner? It just invites you to sit down and play a tune.

So, are you sold on the idea of neutrals? Are you ready to start painting the town (or your house, rather) greige?! Looking for the best neutral paint colors to tackle your next project?

Here are my favorite neutral wall colors I’ve used for my clients, along with a few tips for selecting the perfect paint color.

How To Select The Perfect Neutral Paint Colors:

Remember the following when selecting paint:

  • Any shade, especially whites and neutrals will look different from one room to the next due to lighting.
  • Always paint a 4” × 4” swatch on the wall to test your chosen paint color and see if it will work.
  • Always paint at least two coats for a realistic swatch on the wall.
  • If you want to frame the room, pop the trim in white or even go in a shade darker than the wall color selected.
  • Accent the wall with accessories in the same shade as your paint, to add visual interest and give your wall some depth.

Want to know what my favorite paint shades are? Grab it below!

 

24 Comments

  1. I was going to try and paint my pine bedroom furniture. I don’t want it to be White and I don’t want it to be Cream. Is there a nice color that is in between that would look nice as a bedroom furniture color in your opinion.

  2. I love the gray paint in the kitchen. I wouldn’t have ever thought to do that myself but now I may have to consider it.

  3. My home is decorated with a lot of neutral colors. We actually have made the apartment look a lot better than it was. I like to say that it is really warm and cozy unlike before.

  4. The whiter shades of the white cabinets really pop against the darker shade of the tile right behind it. It’s a nice way to use the white walls. We will have to paint it. I should use this same color coordinating guide for my own home now that I’m getting around to painting it.

  5. I love spray paint!! I do wish there were a wider range of colors. I’ve learned to do several very light coats to avoid drips.

  6. I’m trying to find the best color for my office. I do like bold colors, but I think that having something neutral will be better for helping me concentrate. I like the grant beige and the revere pewter, but actually think I want something with more color. Really about like these two colors but with more of a green hint to them. Any suggestions?

  7. Thank you for the post. These are some really great ideas. I think adding a new paint color can really transform a room into something you could only dream about. I really like the look of more neutral colors, I think it is more chic and goes with anything.

  8. I am definitely into neutral color trends! It makes your house look, clean, modern, and classy! It also makes it easier for you to change the decor as much as you;d like without having to paint the walls or get new furniture each time! I love the picture inspirations you picked!

  9. Choosing paint colors based on the lighting in each room seems like a great way to choose the right neutral paint colors. That’s something I’ve been struggling with since I decided that I wanted to repaint all of the rooms in my house. While I was looking online to get ideas, I found this site that has a gallery of painted houses that rooms that gave me some inspiration: http://www.gandlpainting.ca/photo_gallery.html. There are a few rooms that were painted using different shades of browns and greys that look pretty good, so I might decide to paint some of the rooms that get more light in a light shade of grey.

  10. I love the gray cabinets! I never would have thought to make cabinets gray but it really works well against the white walls. Thanks for the idea.

  11. Love your picks! We love the Repose Gray in our home. It was one of the few colors that looked true to color with our lighting, and really makes everything else in the room pop.

  12. I like how you pointed out in each of your examples that there was some contrasting color or accents. If it weren’t for these then I think I would hate the neutral paint colors you are showing. I do have to admit that they are classy and I like the idea of picking a color that will look different in different light. However, I still like having a little bit of color to a room. Would it be too much to add an accent wall in a room with one of these colors?

  13. I’m really glad that you showed the picture of the room with the silver accents. My husband wants to paint our living room grey, but I was afraid it would be a little boring. See how glamorous it looks with silver accents, I think I’ll definitely reconsider that interior paint

  14. I have to admit that I am a fan of neutral colors on the walls. That way, they won’t clash with the color of our furniture and decorations. Still, I don’t want everything to just be a stark white. Most of these walls have a light undertone color. I like the ones that seem to have a pale golden yellow undertone. It’s not bright yellow, but it softens the white.

  15. Since all the colors in the walls and furniture are neutral, the textures can really pop if you go for that. It would be fun to play around with those colors. It’s a nice way to use the white walls. We will have to paint it. That way we can have our room look bigger while we are at it.

  16. Thanks for the tips! I really like your suggestions for how to use neutral paint colors in my house. I’ve never really taken very much notice into how darker and lighter neutral tones can affect the mood in a room before reading this post. That can clearly be seen in the picture of the kitchen that features that table set with the plants on top. The whiter shades of the white cabinets really pop against the darker shade of the tile right behind it. I should use this same color coordinating guide for my own home now that I’m getting around to painting it.

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