8 ways to make a neutral scheme look modern

Put a contemporary spin on a neutral room with these decorating ideas

With their soft, soothing feel, it can be hard to move away from a palette of neutrals, but if you're craving an update, it's easy to give a neutral scheme a more modern edge. Take a look at these simple ideas for some decorating inspiration.

1. Paint walls in a mid-grey

Bring a neutral living room up to date by painting walls grey. A mid grey will add cosiness and is the perfect shade to complement neutral upholstery. A white-painted fire surround and scrubbed oak furniture will keep the overall look light.

living room with fire place and shelving with wooden table

(Image credit: TBC)

2. Make texture a feature

Add interest to a neutral bedroom with a patterned wallpaper in a dusky pink colourway. Mix up plenty of natural materials, such as raw-wood storage, a linen headboard and soft woollen blankets. A pale carpet and a chunky-knit cream rug will ensure the room feels welcoming.

bedroom with bedside table and patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: TBC)

3. Use a mix of pastels as accents

Create a contemporary look by matching your sofas to walls and woodwork. Pale grey can feel cold, but you can make it appear more welcoming by adding cushions covers in a rainbow of sorbet shades. Paint photo frames and look out for ceramics that match the pastel accents to bring it all together.

pale grey wall with shelving and sofa with cushions and flower vase

(Image credit: TBC)

4. Add pops of black

Swap cream walls for an elegant latte tone. Black and white take on an elegant look against this warm backdrop, so paint bedside tables black and look out for white artwork. Combine bed linen in a mix of neutral shades, finished off with a smart black trim on cushion covers.

bedroom with cream wall and black trim cushion covers with bedside table

(Image credit: TBC)

5. Introduce metallic highlights

A lustrous wallpaper will give a neutral living room a smart edge, while shimmering cushion covers, metal furniture and glass accessories will complete the sophisticated look. A black and white cityscape print will add an urban-style finishing touch.

living room with lustrous wallpaper and cityscape print

(Image credit: TBC)

6. Use soft pink as a backdrop

If you've been loyal to white walls for the past few years, why not try swapping out the white for soft colour. Pale pink is a great complementary colour for mushroom and taupe upholstery. White-painted furniture will add a more crisp edge, keeping the look fresh.

pale pink wall with wooden flooring and fire place

(Image credit: TBC)

7. Layer up shimmering surfaces

Give a neutral bedroom hotel style by covering a headboard and ottoman in a lustrous grey fabric. Mix up shimmering cushion covers and throws on the bed in a tonal palette of silver and grey. A mirrored side table and glass accessories will help to reflect light around the room.

bedroom with grey fabric on headboard and mirrored side table

(Image credit: TBC)

8. Add subtle pattern

Patterned wallpaper doesn't have to be high-impact. This pale grey design creates a calm backdrop for neutral sofas. Add a few wirework accessories for an of-the-moment look.

living room with patterned wallpaper and grey sofa with cushions

(Image credit: TBC)

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