Decorating with Neutrals – 5 Essentials Tips for Success

Neutral decor can sometimes be boring, but it doesn’t have to be! We’re sharing the 5 essential tips you need for decorating with neutrals successfully.

Neutral decor can sometimes have a bit of a bad rap. People think it’s boring or feel it’s not interesting, but nothing could be further from the truth!

gorgeous neutral living room French farmhouse style mirror over fireplace mantel decor

If they’re done right, neutral rooms can be just as gorgeous as a room full of color. In fact, color doesn’t actually guarantee anything – there are plenty of boring rooms full of color! And neutral rooms are more flexible, allowing you to change accents colors, rugs, or pillows much more easily.

The truth is, it’s not the colors you use in the room that matter, it’s the way you put them together and the other essentials you add to the space that create interest. Today we’re sharing the 5 essential tips you need to create neutral rooms that are anything but boring!

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One: Add Texture

decorating with neutrals roses in gorgeous French olive jar living room decor


I made this the first requirement for decorating with neutrals because it’s truly the most important one! All rooms need texture (I talk about why in this post), but that’s especially true for neutral ones! Texture adds interest to the eye and is essential to creating depth in an otherwise neutral space.


white French farmhouse kitchen with wood table and flowers


To keep neutral rooms from falling flat, add baskets, natural fiber or hand-tufted rugs, woven shades, throws, and textured fabrics like linen, velvet, or nubby weaves. 

All of these layered together in a space keep it interesting!


Two: Mix your Neutrals

decorating with neutrals in pretty French inspired living room


Just because a room is mostly neutrals doesn’t mean the entire space should be white! To avoid an overly sterile space, make sure you’re using the full spectrum of neutral colors.


gorgeous European farmhouse living room with beams chandelier and antiques

Via Jenna Sue Design.

To decorate with neutrals the right way, use lots of subtle variations and different tones of the same palette, from ivory, to beiges and creams, to grays, browns, and even black.


Three: Add Warmth

pillows in beige and shades of brown on cream sofa living room decor


All white rooms with no warm elements can really feel cold! I’ve seen rooms on Instagram and Pinterest where literally every single thing in the space is white – everything! That’s a sure way to make a room feel sterile and ‘hospital-like’.

Make sure your neutral rooms have lots of warmth added to keep that from happening. Warm up neutral rooms by adding texture (see above), warmer shades, or by mixing the wood tones in the room. 


living room with upholstered ottoman chairs and mora clock

Design by Nikie Barfield via Atlanta Homes.

If every wood piece in a room is the exact same tone, it can feel like a hotel lobby or doctor’s waiting room. A mixture of different woods brings lots of texture and warmth to a space, plus it helps your home feel more collected. If you don’t have a lot of wood furniture, you can even add wood with accessories like bowls or vases. 


Four: Add Patterns

pretty blue pillows on neutral sofa in neutral living room with shelf decor

Another sure-fire way of making a neutral room feel boring is by having all solids in the space! Since we want the room to feel textural and have depth, patterns (even tone on tone versions) help to achieve that. 


decorating with neutrals in gorgeous room with textural pillow and upholstered ottoman

Via Amber Interior Design.

Whether it’s the weave of linen fabric on a sofa, nubby bamboo shades on a window, or a patterned natural fiber rug, these all add pattern to a room without adding more color.

Also think of pattern when it comes to furniture. That could mean interesting shapes or pretty details on a table or chair leg. 


Five: Pop of Color

French farmhouse living room with hardwood floors and artwork above credenza

Just because we’re decorating with neutrals doesn’t mean we can’t use any color! I once wrote a whole post about neutral rooms that feature a ‘pop of color’ and I still love them!

While you can achieve interesting spaces using only neutrals, feel free to experiment with adding a pop of color here and there. I would say the ability to change the accent colors or add seasonal decor is one of my favorite things about neutral rooms!


beautiful French farmhouse family living room with neutral sofa coffee table and blue pillows


Whether that’s achieved through plants or flowers, or you choose to add color in pillows or rugs, even a small pop of color will help bring a space to life.

In fact, colors will pop much more against a neutral space than when they are competing in overly-colorful rooms!


Decorating with neutrals successfully comes down to a few essential additions. By adding texture, warmth, pattern, and a small amount of color, you can create neutral spaces that are full of depth – and far from boring!


Shop Decorating with Neutrals 


Happy Decorating!


Decorating with Neutrals - 5 Essentials Tips graphic on Maison de Cinq

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more decorating ideas and inspiration below:

10 Tips for Creating Timeless Interiors 

20 Essential Decorating Measurements You Need to Know!

How to Decorate using the Rule of Three

5 Essential Textures that Every Room Needs 

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  1. Renee Hewitt says:

    I love neutrals and always decorate that way myself, but I loved your inspiration photos and seeing what tips you had. Thank goodness I’m doing most of those already!

  2. This was such a helpful post! So appreciate your sharing your knowledge with us Sheila!

    1. Thank you Fiona, I’m so glad you found it helpful!

  3. Great tips, Sheila! I think I will always love neutrals because any pops of color can be added and changed seasonally. It’s like you have a whole new space from time to time! Can you please tell me the source of your tree in the corner? It looks so real…maybe it is.