Light, neutral colours are more reflective and will make the most of the natural light available to make any room feel brighter and more airy
Neutral colour schemes can be used for a range of interiors looks, and are easy to live with. What is a neutral? Essentially, neutral means without colour. Neutrals such as beige, ivory, taupe, black, grey and shades of white appear to be without colour, but in many applications these hues often have many undertones that need just as much thought as when decorating with colour. Here we pick our favourite neutral spaces, and explain how to create the look in your home.
Want more living room inspiration? READ: Living room colour schemes brimming with character
1. Pick truffle for warmth
With its pinkish tones, warm truffle is our go-to shade when we’re looking for a neutral that can also add warmth. Plus, you can easily cosy things up or cool things down with fabrics and accessories. Try velvet upholstery and bronze accessories if you’re all about cuddling up, or pare back a little with shades of grey.
2. Throw in some colour
From the French grey window frames to the soft oak coffee table and engineered floorboard, this space is a masterclass in effortless neutral decorating. And it’s easy to update, too, just by adding cushions and throws. These daffodil yellow and soothing blue soft furnishings are perfect for spring.
3. Keep it cool and calm
A gentle palette of warm, mixed neutrals gives you the freedom to play with different accent colours and interesting textures and finishes as your room scheme evolves. A modern, square style sofa can be tucked into a corner or used to zone a seating space in a larger room. A design with a movable footstool section and removable covers gives you flexibility. A style-neutral, straight-legged sideboard in classic oak will work in other rooms and with various decorating schemes.
Get the look
Buy now: Bronx Giant Floor Lamp, £159, Made
4. Pile on the texture
A room without texture can feel dull and lifeless, so add tactile surfaces for warmth and interest. Get the linear look with narrow-gauge shirt and pyjama patterns – perfect for smart-casual sittings rooms. Layering up voiles, cotton, cord and canvas twill on upholstery, soft furnishings and curtain treatments brings warmth and cosiness in spades. Timeless ‘chino’ tones give this look an easy style, while country stripes get a modern makeover in different widths and scales. Mixing styles likes this injects rhythm into a room.
5. Go for shades of grey
Warm, but not oppressive, these greys are ideal for cosy living spaces. These light grey shades have either a touch of yellow in them, giving them a brownish tint, or a touch of red, which gives a pinkish tinge. This colour is great for east and west-facing rooms for diffused light at sunrise or sunset respectively, while adding warmth at other times. Team ochre to yellow-tinged greys, or try a dark, earthy green. Pink-tinted greys will look great with coral and peach.
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Buy now: Similar, Dyrole Cotton Printed Rug, £59, La Redoute
6. Pick the perfect prints
Get a high end feel with key pieces from different eras. Shades of linen and taupe gently blend with a wonderfully ornate stone fireplace and period coving in this subtly extravagant living room. A pair of elegant armchairs catch the light of the bay window which highlights their feminine paisley-print upholstery. The mid-century chair with iron frame makes a fashionable juxtaposition to the more traditional pieces.
7. Think about an accent colour
Give a neutral living room scheme definition with hits of dramatic black. Add some sharp, contemporary styling in a mainly neutral living room with accents of black. Keep touches minimal to keep the overall scheme relaxed and understated but with a more edgy loft apartment style. Adding black to a rug border or smart charcoal borders and piping to neutral cushions adds a striking accent touch without looking heavy or overworked. Use Graphic prints with slim black frames and monochrome canvases in clusters on a wall. Use subtle accents of black with lampshades, ceramics and patterned glass.
8. Welcome in nature
Reinvigorate your home this spring with a fresh and soothing colour palette of limestone, lichen and sage. Choose a subtle shade of limestone coloured paint for walls then layer different but tonal shades of green on wood and furnishings to create a restful scheme. A chalky white sofa will add a punchy highlight to the room, layer it with cushions depicting songbirds and Spring foliage. Bring the garden indoors by mixing faux plants with fresh spring blooms and accessorise with striking oversized botanical prints, pretty wire work planters and birdcages.
Get the look
Buy now: Drop Cloth Estate Emulsion, £43,50 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball at B&Q
Buy now: Ektorp three-seater sofa in Blekinge White, £295; Ektorp armchair in Sagmyra Grey Check, £160; both Ikea
9. Go for a tone-on-tone scheme
Pure, harmonious shades of white and cream are a timeless decorating theme. Mix textures and abstract patterns inspired by Nature to make a fresh contemporary living room that would be at home in town or country. Mix painted furniture in shades of milky white and Bone with touches of natural wood on shelves and table tops. Use open back shelving to show off a feature wallpaper. Layer up texture and white on white patterns on sofa cushions. Choose different tones of white and natural in relaxed country linen. Showcase art work and collectibles in an eclectic mix of box shelving and different styles of frame on walls. Combine delicate ceramics with milky glazes and the pattern of lace with smart contemporary glass and
Get the look
Buy now: Melinki Tree Circles 110250 wallpaper, from £41 per roll, Scion
Buy now: Great White coffee table, £495, Loaf
10. Work a theme
Wow with a woodland theme by using colours taken from nature. Add hints of sophisticated modern romance combined with old fashioned glamour in a sitting room with subtle shades of soft rose, blush pink and warm putty tones. Include touches of wood and straight-legged furniture for a mid-century take on this feminine look.
11. Evoke a sense of nature
Bring pebble colours and natural materials together to create an elegant coastal living room scheme. This palette is reminiscent of the chalk cliffs of Sussex with ivory, cream, white and pale stone shades in different textures. A loose-covered linen sofa and French doors dressed with floaty voiles that move in the breeze add a little laid-back comfort. The natural materials of the bamboo chair, woven mat and bamboo blinds bring the outdoors into the scheme, while hand-blown glass and rustic ceramics introduce an artisan feel.
12. Pack a punch with florals
Give some wow factor to a neutral scheme by packing it with flourishes of florals. Rich claret and crimson shades are matched with the warmth of worn leather in this country living room. Blooms are exquisitely depicted on tea-stained linens; beautiful curtains show off the pattern to best effect. A soft button-back leather sofa adds to the country house feel, while elegant, vintage-style lamp bases and mirrors hint that pieces have been acquired over time.