The time has come to explore the best colours to use in a neutral room at home. And I know you’re scared. I’ve met many a white-and-beige fan in my time and I know how daunting the idea of bringing colour into a room can be for them. If you’re in the same boat, don’t worry: you’re in a safe space and we’re going to ease into it.
The reality is, the best neutral rooms use colour. You heard it here first. I know that news might come as a surprise, but trust me; neutral spaces need subtle colour in order to truly shine. And here’s thing thing: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a neutral bedroom or living room. But you don’t want it to be an all-white affair. When a room is all white is feels less soothing and more sterile – every single time.
I showed you through some ideas for neutral bedrooms on the blog last week (read that article next because it’s really quite informative), and today I want to delve a bit further into exactly which tones you should use to make your subdued interior feel sublime. So let’s not waste another minute looking at the best colours to use in a neutral room. I promise this won’t hurt a bit!
This post is produced in partnership with Lorraine Lea.
Grey: Soothing and Versatile
I want to start with a subtle colour that’s not going to scare you from the get-go, and that’s grey. It’s hands-down the best colour to use in a neutral room if subtle blues, greens and pinks are absolutely off the cards. The reason grey works is because it pairs so well with white. You can also mix a multitude of warm and cold greys together in a space and enjoy the monochromatic interest it brings to the scene.
The Nile Quilt Cover Set above is the perfect example of grey and white cavorting together in the best way possible. And see how you can add in lighter and darker moments through the accessories? I love the ease at which you can calm it down or mood it up. Also think outside of just grey and play with silver tones too; it’s all about exploring the tonal scale.
The other bonus when it comes to grey is that it’s more modern than beige (which to be fair is a bit outdated now), but there’s still a sense of timelessness to it. So if you’re feeling particularly gutsy and want to apply it in something large like paint or wallpaper, you’re going to love it for at least a decade. Dulux Dieskau in a half-strength is my top choice here.
The safer way to ease into using grey is in things like bedding or tableware. How good is the entire scene below using the Normandy Tablecloth and Runner?! I’ll show you more in the mood board further down.
Pattern & Texture is Grey’s Best Friend
Grey is a neutral. I know it’s not white, but it’s still pretty tame on the colour front. And the two things that all neutrals need in order to prevent them from feeling stale is pattern and texture. Sometimes one or the other in a single piece of decor, sometimes both.
Now, if you’re using grey in something like bed sheets, for example, you’re fine to keep things smooth and silky. But other accents like tea towels, cushions, place mats, napkins, throws and other soft furnishings really benefit from texture. It gives each piece visual motion and movement. It allows your eyes to be interested, just a little.
You’ll notice that in almost every piece in the mood board below there’s some texture in the material itself, some pattern in the fibres, or some embellishments like frayed edges or tassels. It’s these devil-is-in-the-detail qualities that makes these grey pieces some of the best colours for neutral rooms.
Shop the Grey Mood Board
There are so many divine grey coloured decor pieces in the board above. I’ll pop all the links below for you so you can grab a few of your faves. They complement black and white tones wonderfully.
- Supima Sheet Set in Silver
- Serengeti Cushion Cover
- Ashely Throw Rug in Grey
- Microfibre Tea Towel 3-Pack in Grey
- Allegra Cushion Cover in Grey
- Normandy Placemat 4-Pack in Silver
If you’re feeling a little daring and are open to colours for neutral rooms that embrace the (somewhat) bold, scroll on as we dip our toe into calming greens.
Green: Calm and Tranquil
Green is the perfect colour to use in a neutral space because it’ll connect the interior and exterior of your home. And as we all know, us Aussies love to live that indoors-meets-out lifestyle. The thing is, although we’re channelling nature with this particular colour, we’re not bringing in forest green, we’re not embracing muddy greens, and we’re avoiding the tropical tones altogether.
The green you see above and below is as risqué as it gets. And let’s be honest, it’s not very risqué at all. All of the ideas I’m presenting here have visual calm at the forefront. After all, most of you love neutral interiors because they feel so soothing and easy-on-the-eye. So my goal here is to show you that you can still get that sense of calm and tranquility using soft colours.
And truthfully, the colour will actually help, not hinder. The Marlow Quilt Cover Set above is a divine example of how introducing muted green makes a space feel serene and peaceful. That subtle pattern is everything!
I’ll even go so far as to say that green is the colour of summer 2021. You’re going to see it everywhere, so now is the time to get ahead of the pack. There have been numerous studies to say that green helps relieve stress and calm the mind, so I think this is the perfect tone to adopt given all the crazy Covidness that’s been thrust upon us this year.
Green Goes with Every Neutral You Already Have
That’s why green is one of the best colours to use in neutral rooms – it goes with everything! White: yes. Soft grey: for sure. Beige tones: without a doubt. You can also take it in a darker direction and pair it with black furniture and decor for a chicer, moodier vibe. It’s an absolute allrounder.
It’s made for bamboo, wicker and blonde timber furniture as well. So if you’re rocking that all-white relaxed bohemian vibe, soft greens like the ones above and below are perfect to lay over the top of this aesthetic.
Soft green is a colour that also works marvellously with silver and greige; channelling that earthy feel at home. I’ve included some silver sheets in the mood board below because they form the perfect base for the Elayna Wasabi Quilt Cover Set you see in the video above.
The key to getting green right in a neutral room without it feeling jarring is tone. It’s all about tone. Keep it light, chalky, milky and muted rather than bold and vibrant.
Shop the Green Mood Board
See, nothing too scary here. The greens you see above are all rather muted. Soft sages and soothing mints are the perfect way to liven up a white or beige interior. Enjoy!
- Ambrosia Tablecloth
- Serengeti European Pillowcase
- Ashley Throw in Turquoise
- Luminous Vase in Green
- Cotton Sheets in Silver
- Marlow European Pillowcase
We’re not done with the best colours for neutral rooms just yet. There are two more to go and the next one is my fave of the lot.
Blue: Serene and Subdued
Ah, blue; my fave colour of them all. Admittedly I trend to dress in darker blues, but when I’m designing and decorating homes for clients blue is always my go-to (and many lighter blues, for that matter). It’s so serene, it’s so soothing, it’s so easy, and it just tends to make you want to slow down and relax.
It pairs so well with white, so that’s gotta make lovers of neutrals feel inspired to adopt this colour at home. It’s great if you have a calm coastal aesthetic and want to enhance the look. It’s perfect in a Hamptons home too. And it works if you have a French Provincial scheme going on at your place as well.
You don’t even need much blue to have it make subtle impact and positively effect your mood. Take the ever-so-restful Elayna Nightfall Quilt Cover Set above for example. Just have it in your bedroom atop crisp white sheets and let it be your one blue moment. You can also see how well the blue tones work with oak timbers or rattan, which is so very on-trend right now.
Light Blue and Grey: A Love Story
Blue has been known to reduce your heart rate and body temperature, so I really do recommend it as a tone to lay on top of neutral colours in your space. The lighter tones feel especially summery, so it’s a great colour to adopt now that the warm weather is on the way.
If an entire quilt cover set is feeling a step too far for you, consider some lighter blues in smaller decorative moments. There’s a whole host of them in the mood board below for your consideration, but get a load of it in the bedroom above.
Light blues and greys are a match made in heaven. If you have greys in your living room or bedroom, then lay over some dusty blues to elevate the scene a little. Notice in the image above that the blue is introduced through a sheet set rather than the quilt cover? This is a really soft approach and it looks so much nicer than if the entire bed was dressed in white.
Blue isn’t a colour that feels too masculine or feminine, too young or too old, so it really is the colour for everyone.
Shop the Blue Mood Board
Keep the base white or soft grey and just pop one blue moment on top to take it next level. Here are a few style ideas for you (I’ve thrown in some white sheets too because they pair so well with blue throws and cushions!).
- Adara Throw Rug in Sky
- Hannah Cushion Cover
- Provincial Cushion Cover
- Luminous Vase in Blue
- Cotton Flat Sheet in White
- Flannelette Sheet Set in Blue
Time to show you the last of my colours to use in a neutral room, which I suspect might be the most surprising (and daring) of all for you. Take a deep breath and let’s dive in the deep end!
Pink: Joyful and Refreshing
OK, so you probably don’t think of pink as one of the top colours to use in a neutral room. But that’s probably because your mind goes straight to the Barbie aisle of a department store. I’m absolutely not even going there when I discuss pink, so hopefully I can convince you that this really is a colour for a subdued space.
The tone I’m more thinking of when it comes to laying pink over a neutral would be a blush one. Blush and champagne. Think really milky, dusty and chalky pinks. Nothing too vibrant, bright or overbearing. This is about retaining everything you love about a neutral room, but ensuring it doesn’t feel too cold or clinical.
Given that pink is a warm colour, it can make a bedroom or living room feel really cosy and inviting without you needing to use too much of it. Think a rose-coloured throw on your bed, a woven blush cushion on an armchair, or even a milky pink vase on a white shelf. This is a less-is more approach, for sure, but boy can it elevate a neutral room magnificently.
Take a look at the glorious Adara Throw Rug in Rose on top of those crisp white sheets in the image above. A colour match made in heaven!
Shop the Pink Mood Board
Like I said, you don’t need a lot of pink in a neutral room to make it feel inviting. Pink plays wonderfully with white, but also beige and light timbers. That’s why I’ve included some Oyster sheets in the mood board above, so you can see how wonderful pink can be against another warm colour in your bedroom.
- Toulouse Quilt Cover Set
- Illoura Cushion Cover
- Ashley Throw Rug in Blush
- Axel European Pillowcase
- Serra Vase in Pink
- Premium Percale Sheets in Oyster
I know I’ve thrown a lot of colours for neutral rooms at you in this post. Fingers crossed it is giving you some food for thought.
What’s Your Fave Colour to Use in a Neutral Room?
I hope this post has given you a bit to think about. Honestly, I love a neutral room too, I really do. But so often clients and blog readers just like you come to me and say “why isn’t my room working? I want it to feel cosy and welcoming”. And all too often, it’s because it’s all too white. A few subtle colour pops on top is all you’ll need to make your space more inviting, I promise!
Drop me a comment below if you have any questions, or if you have any thoughts on these colour suggestions you’d like to share. Got any of these pieces at your place? I’d love to know how you styled them.