Don’t like lots of color? There are other options! Rooms with a neutral color scheme can be just as appealing as rooms vibrant with color. I find neutral palettes very inviting, and notice that I really focus on the individual details of the room because my attention is not immediately pulled to pops of color.

Neutrals are all shades of whites, beiges, browns, grays and blacks. Neutrals aren’t technically colors, so the theory is they harmonize with all colors. If you think about it, there’s at least one neutral that will coordinate beautifully with any color, and which neutral you choose can depend on the shade of that color.  Black and brown both look equally beautiful with green, for example, but depending on the shade of green, brown might be the better compliment, or black!  Hardwood floors are a neutral in your decorating scheme, and range from very light bamboo to dark walnut, so there’s something to compliment every palette.  If you like the idea of a neutral color scheme, here are some guidelines to follow when designing a room:

  • Vary the Saturation ~ Saturation of color refers to the value of light-to-medium-to-dark in the colors you choose. Even in rooms where color is present, you need to have a balance of saturation. Notice the variety of shades in the room pictured here. It ranges from dark brown on the windows, wood furniture and picture frames, to medium brown on the chairs and sofa, to dark beige on the window treatments. Soft white walls complete the formula.
  • Vary the Textures ~ The secret to a successful palette of neutrals is to combine a variety of textures. Because you aren’t using color, the result can be a bit dull and lifeless if you have a room with entirely smooth surfaces. The woven chair and sofa are a beautiful example of this theory, and the linen roman shades add texture to the windows. Even though they’re a relatively smooth fabric, they hang with a billowy softness that brings texture. Live greenery and floral are added for interest, and the little pops of green in the accessories are a perfect complement to the brown/beige palette. Though green isn’t a neutral, it’s prevalent in nature, so goes with just about any color you can imagine. Have you ever seen a leaf that wasn’t in perfect harmony with its companion flowers?  Green is one of the most versatile colors to decorate with!

I hope you’ve found these tips on designing with neutrals helpful!   Putting together a plan for designing your rooms can be fun, or frustrating.  If you’re finding yourself a bit stuck, my Designer Download™ session is always a great way to get you moving forward!  It’s one session, with lots of answers, at one affordable price.

Design should be fun, not stressful!

~ Kathy


Photo credit:  Unknown; not the work of Inside-Out Designs