Too often, the word “neutral” is conflated with a boring aesthetic. There’s a misconception that sticking with neutrals in your home decor will result in a space lacking character and excitement. But that’s just not true! Even while sticking with an overall neutral look, you can introduce color and texture in a way that keeps things interesting. 

You don’t have to be an interior design expert to beautifully, effectively use a neutral color palette. You just need to understand the nuances of neutral hues! Keep scrolling to learn more about neutral interiors and how to make them work. You’ll never describe an interior neutral color palette as dull again. 

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What Is a Neutral Color Palette? 

living room
Here, designer Lauren Cox points out several key neutral shades. 

First, let’s talk a little about color theory. What makes a color or group of colors neutral to start with? A neutral color palette is composed of muted hues that might seem to lack color in the way we usually think of it. Here’s the interesting thing about neutrals, though: They have nuanced underlying tones that might read differently to the eye depending on the lighting and environment.

Neutral Palette Colors

Common neutral colors include various shades of:

  • Beige 
  • Taupe 
  • Gray
  • Cream 
  • Brown
  • Black
  • White 

To make the most of neutrals in your interior design and elsewhere, you might mix various neutrals or integrate multiple shades of each color. The great thing about neutrals is that they naturally complement each other. For the most part, there’s no need to second guess your design choices when you’re working with neutrals, as they work effortlessly together and can serve as a starting point for all kinds of looks and styles. 

Learn About Color from the Experts 

How to Use Color Like a Pro

Neutral Interior Decor

three white rooms
A few (very different) examples of neutral interior decor. 

Neutrals make for a timeless interior design aesthetic, but you’ve probably seen them trending on social media more recently, and for good reason. Selecting a neutral palette gives you the freedom to branch out with all kinds of decor styles and to add extra pops of color where you want them. Because neutrals never go out of style, furniture and paint in neutral hues can evolve right along with you and your tastes. 

Here are some more specific ways to work neutral colors into your interior decor:

Interior Neutral Color Palette 

beige living room
Source: ​​instagram
The neutrals in this room are more cool than warm. (Via @home_of_hlk)

First, it can be helpful to decide whether you prefer warm neutrals or cool neutrals. Warm neutrals have more yellow or orange hues, while cool neutrals lean blue or green. While the two categories can complement each other, it can help create a cohesive look to pick your preferred direction and choose decor and furniture accordingly. 

living room
Source: unsplash
Changing up fabrics and texture is critical to neutral interiors. 

No matter what palette you choose, one of the keys to selecting neutral pieces of furniture and decor is paying attention to texture. The more you switch up those textures, the more rich and interesting the overall result will be. Baskets, textured furniture, linen or tufted fabrics, and rugs made with natural fiber can all contribute to a gorgeous neutral room. 

living room
The wood pieces in your neutral space don’t have to share the same shade. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to mix up your wood tones! Like blending different textures, this helps ensure that your neutral space doesn’t get boring. 

Neutral Interior Paint Colors

paint cans
Source: instagram
The range of colors in the neutral family is quite wide. (Via @noellebeckerstudio and @sherwinwilliams)

While you can’t go wrong with white or beige walls in a neutral space, you aren’t restricted to them! Other colors from the neutral palette—like gray, taupe, or black—can also make an impact while maintaining the overall calm vibe of the room. 

living room
Source: instagram
Taupe is a beautiful canvas for interior design. (Via @motif_39)

Taupe is a gorgeous choice for any space. You can opt for darker or lighter shades based on your preference and light. 

living room
Pale gray walls are a gorgeous complement to the ample natural light in this space. 

Gray is all over design blogs and social media because it’s simple, it’s clean, and it works with almost any decor choice.

blue room and white room
Make an impact in a neutral space with some black paint. 

Black walls or ceilings are a bold decision, but they are still technically neutral. 

living room
Source: instagram
Chocolate walls, anyone? (Via @lovenataliechong)

Don’t leave brown out of the neutral color palette. Brown walls can make a room warm and cozy. 

Don’t Be Neutral About Neutrals 

With a little help from this guide, how could you not feel excited to decorate your home with a neutral color palette? With the right choices of furniture, decor, and paint, you’ll create rooms that are anything but boring. 

Get a Lesson in Color Theory

Color Theory 101: Using Color in Art & Design

Written by:

Alli Hoff Kosik