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Neutral Living Room Design Ideas

Is there anything more calming than a neutral living room? Perhaps. But there’s no denying the endless possibilities when you go with neutral furniture and accents in a living room.

For starters, it’s easy to find tons of inspiration for neutral living room ideas—from minimalist rooms with all-white decor to modern spaces decorated in all shades of gray. Even so, finding the right mix of furnishings and getting the look right for your neutral living room can often still feel challenging, if not incredibly daunting. That’s because neutral spaces are all about the details—the natural materials and varying textures, the neutral paint colors and nuanced tones, the contrast in hard lines and soft curves. Plus, you want to make sure all these neutral elements are in line with your personal aesthetic and lifestyle needs.

For some (neutral) guidance, here are our favorite neutral living room ideas to help you design your own cool and calming space.

Combine Varying Textures

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When you’re designing a neutral living room, you want to make sure there’s a good mix of textures. That means adding different pillows, rugs, poufs, and even artwork that give your room a bit of depth and extra softness. Just remember to stick to a neutral palette when choosing your accents.

If you’re after a white living room, a mix of textures is especially key. Think a white faux fur pillow with a fringe trim, a tightly woven patterned rug in black and white, or a smooth polished marble table. For more ideas, check out our guide to decorating with white and our tips on should you get a white sofa.

Mix Wood Tones

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Introducing wood furniture and decor is a great way to add texture and varying tones to a neutral living room.

Consider a mix of wood tones and finishes. A polished light wood with visible graining on a coffee table or side stool can bring a natural look and a sense of warmth to seating areas. Meanwhile, a darker stained wood, like walnut or mahogany, will give off a more formal feeling, which makes them perfect for dining chairs and cabinets in open living spaces.

If your neutral living room is starting to feel like a wash of whites, grays, and everything in between, a few wood pieces in light and dark tones is a great way to break up the monotonous palette.

Energize With Pattern

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If you think a neutral living room means zero patterns, you’ll be happy to know that it’s just the opposite. Patterns bring contrast and visual interest to spaces, so they’re all the more important in a neutral living room.

There are two easy approaches. You can add patterns made with natural materials, like a geometric natural-fiber rug and baskets with woven details, or you can keep to soft patterned accents in a neutral palette, like a black-and-white pillow, a striped gray throw blanket, or monochrome art. Or you can combine all of those elements into your neutral living room, as in this space. All to say, patterns will bring your neutral living room to life and allow you to show of your personality.

Embrace Architectural Elements

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The great thing about neutral palettes is that they allow you to play up architectural elements in a space, instead of competing with them. These can include architectural features, like exposed wood beams, a white brick fireplace, or pretty molding.

If you’re working with a neutral living room that has a bold fireplace, as in this space, you can look to its colors and materials for inspiration for the rest of your furnishings. For instance, the white brick provides the perfect jumping-off point for the grey-white sofa and ceramic items on the self, while the wood shelf is balanced with the lighter tones of the coffee table and cabinet.

Another trick that always works in a neutral living room? A symmetrical layout, which are a great option for spaces like this one that have a fireplace in the middle of the main wall.

Create Depth With Contrast

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Contrast is key in neutral living rooms. They can always benefit from pops of darker tone neutrals, like deep grays and black, which bring a warmer feeling to the space.

If you’re not sure where to start, try anchoring your neutral living room with a large white furniture piece, then add darker monochrome accents around it. Look to small textured pieces, like a black ceramic vase or a soft gray pillow. Not only will they create contrast, but they’ll also add depth through their different textures. Also consider various shades of brown, which makes for a richer, natural touch of color in a neutral living room.

Add Sculptural Forms

Neutral living room with boucle loveseat

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Add sculptural design elements that direct focus to give a neutral living room more visual interest. Items like the love seat in the design above are a fantastic way to show your style, and because they are in a neutral color scheme, you don’t have to worry about them seeming too bold or flashy.

The best way is to bring in sculptural furniture pieces with interesting shapes, like a sofa with a curved back or a freeform silhouette, modern tables with bold bases, or a statement floor lamp or chandelier. There are no rules when it comes to sculptural designs for a neutral living room, except that you should place them in a prominent place to look almost like an art piece.

Hack Color With Earth Tones

modern style earth tone living room with red sofa

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Earth tones can be considered neutrals, and they can add a sense of warmth without compromising the soothing effects of a neutral color scheme.

If you want to add earth tones to your neutral living room, start with a neutral base. That can be a neutral rug or a white sofa that grounds your space. Then work in your earth tones but try to avoid patterns. A good rule of thumb is to keep to softer earth tones, like sage green and a soft orange. If you’re feeling bold, stick to one to two colors that have a grounding effect, like the burnt orange and olive green seating in this neutral living room. Also, check out our tips on how to choose a color palette.

Offset Neutrals with Metal Accents

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From brass details to black metal and bronze accents, metallic details are perfect finishing touches that pair perfectly with a neutral color scheme.

With so many muted and soft tones in a neutral living room, polished and dark metal details can bring a bit of edge and balance to the overall space. And you don’t need to go all out with a big metal piece of furniture either. Instead, look to chairs with steel legs, floor lamps made with brass or black metal, and even thin picture frames in dark and chrome frames. A little metal goes a long way in a neutral living room.

Layer Warmth With Leather

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Yes, there’s room to work in leather in a neutral living room, and you’re not limited to black or white. Tan leather is a classic choice that adds warmth and depending on the patina of the leather, it can add texture and pattern as well.

If you’re not familiar with decorating with leather, start small with accessories like a woven leather pouf or cowhide pillows. For those of you who feel ready to style up your neutral living room with leather in a bigger way, try bringing in a sleek sofa in the material. For a super modern and contemporary look, opt for white and black leather in a sleek sofa shape.

Also, get our tips for more ways to decorate with leather.

Work In Neutral Pink Hues

Glam style living room with neutral color scheme and pops of pink

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Soft pink is always a stylish choice for a neutral color palette. It a cozier take on neutral living room ideas, while still feeling light and sophisticated.

Explore the full range of soft pinks when choosing furniture and accents for a neutral living room. Having varying shades will help unify the overall look in your space. From blush hues to a creamy coral pink, spread out a few different pops of color across your neutral living room. Think a peach-pink sofa, purple-pink pillows, or even a rug with undertones of blush. They’ll all add up to create an instantly elegant and cozy atmosphere.

Source Unique Minimalist Pieces

A minimal style neutral color living room

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Minimalist designs will make a statement in neutral living rooms. And they can use some of the pared-down style, which naturally blends with neutral colors.

The channeled sofa in this neutral living room is at once a foundational anchor point, a sculptural accent, and the jumping-off point for the rest of the decor. Try to use minimalist furniture as a blank canvas for color and accents, and experiment with different pillows, side table materials, and woven accents. Here, the marble side table brings a touch of pattern and depth while the caning on the front of the low shelf makes for a warm touch of texture.

Play With “Bluetrals”

A neutral coastal style living room with subtle pops of blue.

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You heard it here first: Bluetrals are shades of the blue that have a neutral base. And they’re a slightly more colorful take on a neutral living room.

The best way to use blues is to go big with a large piece of furniture in a blue-grey shade that blends seamlessly with a neutral color palette or use the color sparingly, in soft muted pops, like in a pattern on a rug. Blue is actually a common color found across various neutral living room ideas, and it’s a great way to liven things up or give it a light coastal and rustic spin. If you’re not ready for cool neutral room and you’re not a fan of warm earth tones, bluetrals is a versatile choice that’s easy to decorate with.

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