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Neutral Home Decor Ideas & Why I Love It

In this post: Neutral home decor ideas and why I love it so much. Easy ways to transition to neutral decor and inspiration for adding neutral decor to your home. 

As promised when I shared some Easy Neutral Winter Decor Ideas, I’m back to talk about why I love neutral home decor. Before I get started though I want to make sure you know that I’m not trying to talk you into anything. I decorate with neutrals because I truly love them…but if you like color, then stay the course. This post is mostly for those of you who have been thinking about going neutral, but are just not sure. Maybe you think it will be boring or bland…but it won’t be, I promise! Read on for all my neutral home decor ideas. 

fall flower arrangement in living room

Click {HERE} to see more of our neutral fall living room. 

Before we get started, I’d like to share what comes to mind when I think of neutral colors:

  • White
  • Ivory
  • Beige
  • Gray
  • Black

Neutral means without color. It’s calm and cool. It’s relaxed and restful. 

Neutral Home Decor: Why I Switched

Several years ago, our home was decorated from floor to ceiling with color. I had bright yellow walls in the living room, red and gold wallpaper in the entry, and navy wallpaper in the kitchen. All the window treatments were made from large-scale colorful fabrics. I had a red sofa and yellow toile chairs. When I chose all this color, I did like it…but after a few years, it became oppressive.

  • I couldn’t change a thing because the colors were so specific. 
  • It was dark. 
  • There was no place for the eye to rest. There was so much going on that I literally felt edgy.
  • I chose fabrics that were trendy, and when the trend was over, I was stuck with something I didn’t want.

board and batten wainscoting painted ivory neutral home decor

Click {HERE} to learn more about our board and batten.

Neutral Home Decor Ideas…and where to start.

About seven years ago, I decided to correct my decorating mistakes. The biggest space in our home is our living room, so the first thing I did was paint the walls a very light ivory. I had yellow walls below the chair rail in the dining room, and changed those to ivory as well. So…

The first place to start is with the background

  • Walls
  • Carpet/Flooring/Rugs
  • Window Treatments

Keep in mind that all these changes don’t have to happen at once. I took my time and saved money in between projects. That’s the beauty of decorating with neutrals. They “go” with everything. Once these elements are neutralized, it’s time to decide if you want to stop there or keep going. 

faux peonies in white pitcher

Click {HERE} to see my favorite picks for faux greenery and flowers. 

I kept going and chose a light ivory sofa and chairs. Some of my accessories are neutral, but some are not, especially the seasonal ones. Accessories are where you can add color…or not. That’s totally up to you!

(Our living room furniture is no longer available.)

How Neutral Home Decor can save you money

Decorating with neutrals can save you money in a few different ways. First, neutrals go with ANYTHING. Once you paint your walls a neutral color, there will be no need to paint them again for years. Once you neutralize your window treatments, they are there for the duration. 

Tip: For window treatments, choose a classic design that won’t go out of style. Full, simple panels are a good choice. 

neutral home decor ideas ivory window panels

Click {HERE} to learn how to hang curtains like a pro.

Second, by choosing neutral colors for your “big ticket” items, color and style can be added with inexpensive soft furnishings and accessories. If you get tired of a color or want to add seasonal decor, you have a lovely neutral background to work with. Last, by decorating with neutrals, it’s easy to give your home a fresh look without spending a dime. Furniture and accessories can be moved from room to room because they are all in the same color family. 

spring pillows on white sofa

Click {HERE} for early spring decorating tips.

Although I honestly could be very happy in an all-neutral home, I still have some color here and there. The walls in our entry are light blue and I use pops of blue in nearly every room. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The most important thing is that you feel relaxed and happy in your home. 

vintage dresser with flower arrangement

Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

Additional Shopping Sources:
10 x 14 rug in living room (beige/ivory) | 8 x 10 rug in dining room (beige/ivory)Living & dining room wall colorsEmery Window Panels in Ivoryivory tufted chairs | coffee & side table set | ivory pillow covers with tassels (similar) 

 

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63 Comments

  1. I absolutely love your style. Where did you purchase your pitchers/vases. Also where did you purchase your sofa pillows. I was trying to go with a more relaxed farmhouse style but I always seem to lean towards the traditional style.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Crystal…I get the pitchers mostly at discount stores, my antique mall, or on eBay. I also find some at TJ Maxx or Homegoods. The pillow covers come from all over. My favorites and the most budget-friendly are from H&M Home.

  2. Going to try the neutrals. Thank you!

  3. Linda Powers says:

    5 stars
    Ann ~ Do you have a cookbook in print that I could get for my husband? He’s the cook & I’m the cleaning lady! Happy New Year!

  4. I started painting walls furniture, refinishing furniture during the shut down. Our home is very small
    And I wanted to brighten !!!! I loved how when is look at others homes who went Neutral looked so peaceful, clean and bright. I love what I’ve done and I’m not going back. Accenting with layers of textures makes keeps it interesting and accenting with brass and black. I’m so happy I
    Took on the challenge. It’s been a lot of work but so worth it 💕

  5. Love the neutrals in decorating as well and have used throughout our condo as well as our former little bungalow. Just found your blog and joined in November and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. My husband enjoyed your Potatoes Delmonico recipe addition to our Christmas menu and now I have it on a card in my recipe box. I am commenting today as your dining room harp chairs brought back a sweet memory for me. My grandmother had a harp chair at her desk and as a child I loved sitting in it. I have no idea where that chair is now, but I think I will be on the look out for one (at least) to have in our home. Thank you for your wonderful ideas, recipes, taking the time to write and for today transporting me to a sweet time and place.

  6. Kristie Blyseth says:

    I love your home! I probably would have loved the brighter version too because of your sense of style. Last year I switched to neutrals and my family seems to like it better. In fact, when my thirteen year old redid her room this year she wanted to go with a “warm white”. That was not something this 80’s girl would have ever uttered. Hahaha.

  7. Carol Karl says:

    5 stars
    Your home is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  8. Diane LaSauce says:

    Good for you Ann.
    In my last two residences (one a condo, one a single family home) I begin with Benjamin Moore’s Linen white on all surfaces…ceilings, walls, trim, baseboards…then over time if I decide to add accent color, I do. The linen white is so easy to live with and I never tire of it.

  9. Brandless Artist says:

    Using neutral home decor is just the best idea. I love it, because I can really save money with it, and I don’t have to rethink twice if I want that neutral home decor or not. It easy to work with it when comes to decorating. So I can only embrace the idea!

  10. Hi Ann! I LOVE your house and gardens and decorating style! Would you mind sharing the paint color on your living room and dining room walls? Thanks!

  11. Amelie From Voonky says:

    Wow Really looks amazing! I am a person who likes sobber things. it gives a really classy look to your home.
    Keep sharing this type of stuff.

  12. House Painter says:

    Great use of neutrals to make your decorations pop. Love this blog for great inspiring ideas.

  13. I found the Madison Park Mansfield Reversal Coverlet from Overstock
    I should have searched it on your blog🤦🏻‍♀️ Ready to order another one.
    Thanks again for all your beautiful ideas and recommendations 🌿

  14. I love all your ideas! You did a piece on bedroom decorating with neutral bedding several years back. I bought the bedspread aka quilt,coverlet which came with two shams in ivory. I love it and want to purchase another set but I forgot the company’s name. If you have it could you let me and others know the company’s name. Thank you🌻

  15. Ann, I love your home and have admire it for a long time. Thank you for sharing these great tips!

  16. Hi Ann! I love your home style so much. Thank you for sharing the tips to a positive neutral home! Can you please tell me the color of your emery linen curtains? They are beautiful!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Jessica! The curtains are ivory. I will add that to the post…thank you! p.s. When I was checking the PB website I noticed that they are part of a one day sale that expires at midnight tonight. I hope you see this!

  17. You have such a pretty cozy home and I love your ideas on neutral decor Ann. I often like to change things up and it could get so expensive if I indulged that. But mostly neutral with small pops of color is way simpler to change it out to fit my mood.

  18. Daisy Dianne Bromlow says:

    WOW ! Your decor ideas has certainly changed – for the better. I’ve always loved neutrals for the same reasons you love them. I enjoy your blog . Happy New Year

  19. Barbara F. says:

    I love your blog, and your guest room decked out for Christmas has been one of my favorite rooms since you first posted it.

    Wishing you a joyful 2019!

  20. What colors would you recommend for a living room with old woodwork, stained an oak finish? I do love the neutral colors.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      If you want to go with a neutral, try to find an ivory with no yellow. Look at paint swatches with the darkest colors in the blue or black families. Stay away from the paint swatches with browns, golds or reds. I hope this helps!

  21. Carlene@Organized Clutter says:

    Your photography is just awesome. Love your style.

  22. Lorraine Nolte says:

    Oh, but I love your beautiful blue slipper chairs and pops of greenery with boxwood. I have always thought your decorating was colorful and love it.

  23. Shelley @ Calypso in the Country says:

    I love your simple approach to adding neutrals. I have gone through periods where I feel stuck because I have committed to too many colors in one space. It can be hard to begin, but I agree with you about changing the background first. It really can make a difference and get you started in a new direction. And the examples you listed along with your own, are definitely some of my favorite neutral spaces!
    Shelley

  24. Marlene Stephenson says:

    These are some great tips,thank you and i love all you have done to your home.

  25. Suzanne Vaughan says:

    Just lovely. Love your ideas. We are planning on a 20×20 all season sunroom this year. I have some ideas but think I need a decorator for sure. We just finished renovating our 1999 Ranch house completely, inside and out. We didn’t do anything to the deck as this is where my dream sunroom will go. Cant wait. I’m making a notebook of ideas. Thank you for your blog. It’s great. Do you travel? Lol God Bless.

  26. My younger self chose a beautiful cabbage rose chintz upholstery for my traditional sofa. My “mature” self longs for the versatility and simplicity of more casual, neutral furnishings.

  27. Your rooms are so pretty. I am torn. I lived in white apartments for so long I want color. My house is from 1910. I am trying to take it back with modern furniture. I have creepy brown walls in every room but kitchen and bath are icky yellow. Flippers. And not good ones either. I like soft but not fond of greys. What is a girl to do? House will be mine in one month when I can do what I want.

  28. Nana Diana says:

    Ann- I am with you. I like neutrals, too! I have had color in other homes but this one calls for neutrals and I am happy with it. I can add pops of color in bits and pieces here and there and change it up when I am tired of it.
    You features some great ones here. xo Diana

  29. I love neutrals. This is beautiful. This is all I use. I tend to do alot of Ivory.

  30. Molly Devers says:

    Anne,
    Love your ceam quilt coverlets on the gwin beds . Would you share where you purchased them ?
    Thanks,
    Molly Devers

  31. Neutral doesn’t have to be bland as you all have shown! I LOVE what you have done! It’s so soothing. Thank you for showing how beautiful neutral can be!

  32. Hi, Ann….
    I love your decorating ideas and recipes. I’ve used many and always receive compliments.

    Can you give me a few ideas for a winter arrangement for my front porch using one of the metal olive buckets?

    Thank you!

  33. Hi Ann, Well as they say, great minds think alike. I have your same end tables and coffee table, however, mine are more of an oak color. I do love the ladder where you have hung throws. My Mother was a quilter and she made my sisters and I each a quilt. I have mine on a quilt rack which I love but it takes up so much room. I’m thinking the little ladder would solve my problem (where did you buy your ladder)? Even though I agree with you regarding neutrals, I can’t seem to get away from color. Even in clothing those colors seem to wash me out but if I wear a pretty coral color my complexion pops. So to that end, I will go on decorating with color but incorporate a neutral here and there. As always, I love your ideas and encouraging me to strive to try something new.

  34. Louise Wozniak says:

    Such great inspiration and advice. For those of us that started decorating in the 1980s, these neutrals are a breath of fresh air! So many old beautiful pieces still fit in, just in a calmer, quieter way! I love your posts, thank!

  35. Great and timely (at least for me!) article. Painters are here this week painting the yellow and gold walls in my entire downstairs to more calming, neutral colors. BM Bleeker Beige in the den, BM Clay Beige in the living room and dining rooms and BM Vapor Trails in the kitchen and utility rooms. The foyer was wallpapered in a neutral tone on tone wide stripe many years ago and I still love it. The colors will work beautifully with the art work and blue and white porcelains I have collected, as well as my beautiful wood furniture. As soon as I saw the colors go up, I realized how much I had come to dislike the yellow and red color scheme! I did keep my sunroom a pretty shade of pale green. All of these are warm neutrals and work really well together. Thanks for continuing to share your lovely home and updates you make to it. Love your blog!

  36. Great article Ann! You make some great points and your pictures do an equally great job of pulling everything together!

  37. Barbara Mawdsley says:

    When we built our home about 45 years ago, I went with white for the bathrooms but very dark cabinets for the kitchen as was in style in the early 70’s. About 20 years ago, we redid the kitchen in white also. I prefer colors but I save them for quilts and pillows and my collection of blue and white transfer ware. Updating the house as things wear out is so much easier with a neutral background even when you prefer a lot of color.

  38. Lisa Johnson says:

    I love neutrals, too! They create the perfect backdrop for punches of color, which I love to change out from season to season!

  39. Betsy White says:

    I love everything you post! Such good ideas. I live in an older home and can always use your recommendations. Love you Ann!

  40. My home is very neutral as well. I love the calming effect of decorating with neutrals. However, I feel like I need some guidance on how to add gray. My home is mostly white, brown and beige with touches of black. I feel like I should stick with the warm neutrals I already have going on, but I really want to add gray to the mix. Is it okay to add cool neutrals to a sea of warm neutrals? Are there guidelines for doing that?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Kim! Yes it’s perfectly OK to add gray if you want to. The easiest way would be to find a fabric, or maybe a rug, that has both gray and beige/brown. If you have just one element that combines them, then you can add the gray on its own. I hope this helps…good luck!

  41. OK.. Now I have been given spring fever…. let me out of here!!! lol
    Its hardly been winter so far here in the south but your blog today makes me want to go home and get going on my projects.

    Love your inspiration.

    Sandi

  42. Thanks for the article. In the process of going neutral and can’t believe how calming it feels in rooms now. Looking to replace sofas with ones that have slipcovers (kids and dog.) Any suggestions on what to look for in fabrics that wash and wear well?

  43. Ann, I just love your home and am totally inspired to move toward a more neutral décor. I would love to know the paint color you used on your walls if you’re willing to share. I always look forward to your posts, you make it all look so do-able!

  44. Your home is so pretty. Thank you for sharing how you found your decorating style. I love neutral backgrounds with blue. I feel I could live in your home very happily. Smiles

  45. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    I agree with your comments on neutrals. I live as you describe with adding color to neutrals.
    What I have a problem with is creams/ivory and pure whites. STILL DO NOT HAVE THIS FIGURED OUT!
    Creams/Ivory looks dirty to me with pure whites. I continue to search for white WALL paints that could be used creams/ivory.
    How do I over this? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  46. KittyLuvr says:

    I followed your lead in using neutral backgrounds after my downstairs flooded this spring…the walls were painted a neutral called Biscuit, the new carpet was a neutral and when it came to replacing the furniture it was beige and brown….my accent pieces were the pops of color. I have now moved on the the next level in my house and it’s made a huge difference. The only thing I did use for color was inexpensive drapes in a trendy print….less than $20 a window so I know when I change them, it won’t be a big expense. Thx for the encouragement!

  47. I love your home, especially the living room. I’m looking for a neutral paint color like yours, do you have any suggestions?

  48. Love all your tips and advice, Ann. We are working on “going neutral” as we speak. Just bought some lovely Benjamin Moore paint to try and am about to order some beige/khaki slipcovers for the furniture to soften that out. Thank you for providing links to some of the items you discuss. It is sooooo helpful!

  49. I am thinking of changing things in my home to a more neutral palette. You mentioned changing the wall color in your dining room. I was wondering, do you still have wallpaper in your dining room?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Laura…yes I do. It’s above the chair rail. It’s ivory with a light yellow damask pattern. I still like it so it’s staying at least for a while!

  50. I am loving neutrals and am heading that way.I am
    slowly changing out items in my home adding touches of
    green.Neutrals are very soothing and easy to live with.

  51. Harriette Nack says:

    I’m with you, Ann, I totally LOVE neutrals. They’re calm, relaxing and easy on the eye; thank you for all of the information/beauty you provide on your website!

  52. I do like the neutral look with various hues of neutrals as well as some with stronger accent pieces.

  53. Kathleen G says:

    Good morning Ann, I need to buy new panels for my living room. The ones I have are gray/green, small diamond panels from Martha Stewart, from KMART years ago. I love them! I have a Target gift card from Christmas and this weekend I’m going to check out the neutral panels there. Kathleen in Az

  54. Do you have names of some of the neutrals you use?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Do you mean paint? The wall paint is a custom Sherwin Williams mix. I found very close match at Lowe’s in their HGTV Home Sherwin Williams line. It’s called Belgian White. I checked on it a while ago so I hope it’s still available. Hope this helps!

  55. Ann, the best thing I ever did was removing the red furniture that limited me. I never thought I would love neutrals so much, but I do love adding pops of color, too. Thanks so much for sharing.

  56. Debbie Goss says:

    I love neutrals too, but I need some color so I also love plaids..

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh me too Debbie…there is nothing that makes a statement like a fun plaid!

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