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4. Use beautiful and interesting shapes. Removing color from the equation also brings shape into the foreground and the shapes in this room really catch your attention. The ottoman is unique and so is the side table composed of metal discs. The little swoop of the wood on the arms of the chairs also adds interest and contrasts with the very straight lines of the coffee table.
5. Use a combination of interesting materials and surfaces. In the photo above we see a shiny metal side table and a mica coffee table. They both add interest to the room that would be missing if matching wood coffee and side tables had been chosen.
Tip: Do not go into a furniture showroom and buy the matching 5-piece-sofa-loveseat-chair-coffee table-side table combo. It might feel like a safe choice, but it is boring, boring, boring!
6. Incorporate pattern. The large-scale pattern on this upholstery really makes the room. The area rug also is patterned, and if you click on the photo to enlarge it on your screen, you can see that there is pattern in the drapery fabric as well.
This room is so interesting and it works on so many levels. Lots to learn here about working with a neutral color palette. First, I would like to point out that all of the above elements are included: Different shades of color, multiple textures that are of high quality, interesting shapes and different materials, and wonderful patterns. But there is even more going on here that contributes to the success of this design.
7. You can mix your neutrals. Most people think a neutral color palette is made of a bunch of beige. But there are other neutral colors and you can mix them if you want. In this room, the designer has mixed shades of beiges and browns with several shades of gray: light silver-gray, medium steel gray and also deep charcoal.
8. Add black (or almost-black) for punctuation. In this room, the black on the cowhide chairs adds a strong bit of punctuation and so does the dark color on the rugs — more of a charcoal. In fact, notice that in all 4 photos you've seen so far, there is a little bit of black or near-black. The first room has black lampshades, the second room has black picture frames and espresso wood, and the third room has that super deep almost-black wood.
9. Include elements from nature for interest and warmth. I'm crazy about the driftwood lamp bases in this room!
A neutral color palette can be light and creamy ...
... or it can be deep and dramatic. Do you have the nerve to use black walls? Mixed with rich wood, deep grays and silvery metal and mirror, this is a pretty striking room.
Your neutral can be all grays. If you decide to choose gray as your neutral, I think it looks best in warm shades that lean toward taupe.
10. Don't be afraid to add a little bit of color to your neutral palette in small doses. I think an all-gray room works best with a little hit of color. This is the same room as the last photo. The red performs the same function of adding punctuation as black would — just stronger.
The soft red glass color is lovely next to this serene room.
Have you successfully decorated a room with a neutral color palette or ended up with dull and lackluster? Share a picture, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Dare to Choose a More Colorful Neutral
How to Pick the Right Gray
Going Griege: Tips for Choosing This All-Around Neutral
Taupe: A Sophisticated Backdrop for Today