Neutral living room ideas for an effortlessly stylish scheme

Neutral living room with comfy corner sofa floor lamp wooden armchair and coffee table


Consider our neutral living room ideas to set the tone for a stylish, serene backdrop to layer with accent colours. Neutral colour schemes can be used for a range of interiors looks, and are easy to live with.

What is considered a neutral colour? Essentially, neutral means without colour. Neutrals such as beige, ivory, taupe, black, grey and shades of white appear to be without colour, but in many applications these hues often have many undertones that need just as much thought as when decorating with colour.

Neutral living room ideas

A colour palette of neutrals offers a failsafe living room colour scheme, one that looks characterful but timeless. A neutral living room decor offers versatility in style, depending how you furnishing the space it can be elegant and modern or traditional and country.

Here we pick our favourite neutral living room ideas, and explain how to create the look in your home.

1. Keep it cool and calm

Neutral living room with comfy corner sofa floor lamp wooden armchair and coffee table

Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

A gentle palette of warm, mixed neutrals gives you the freedom to play with different accent colours and interesting textures and finishes as your room scheme evolves.

A modern, square style sofa can be tucked into a corner or used to zone a seating space in a larger room. A design with a movable footstool section and removable covers gives you flexibility. A style-neutral, straight-legged sideboard in classic oak will work in other rooms and with various decorating schemes.

2. Add depth with wall panelling

Neutral living room ideas

Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain

Give more definition to neutral walls with an on-trend wall panelling idea. Reinvigorate your sitting room with a fresh and soothing colour palette of limestone, lichen and sage. Choose a subtle shade of limestone coloured paint for walls then layer different but tonal shades of soft green and warm wood through furnishings to create a restful scheme.

A chalky white sofa will add a punchy highlight to the room, layer it with cushions depicting natural motifs. Bring the garden indoors by mixing faux plants with fresh seasonal blooms and accessorise with striking oversized botanical prints.

3. Go for a tone-on-tone scheme


Walls painted in Romney Wool Velvet Matt emulsion, Dulux Heritage

Pure, harmonious shades of white and cream are a timeless decorating theme. Mix textures and abstract patterns inspired by nature to make a fresh contemporary living room that would be at home in town or country.

Mix touches of natural wood on shelves and table tops with natural woven material to welcome a grounding feel to the overall look.

4. Make it feel rustic


Image credit: Colin Poole

A paired-back neutral colour scheme lends itself beautifully to a rustic living room idea. Shades of milky white and bone warmed by deeper accents of taupe blends a harmonious country colour palette of calming colours. Simple additions of raw wooden furniture and tactile fabrics helps to layer a cosy and inviting feel, to prevent neutral from feeling cold and uninviting.

5. Dress the walls to add interest

living room office with wooden shelves

Image credit: Future PLC/ Tim Young

Neutral walls provide the perfect backdrop for shelving, for displaying artwork and accessories or simply as a practical living room storage idea. Soft, chalky shades on the walls prevents the space from feeling overwhelmed by too many decorative elements.

Like with an art gallery a neutral wall enhances the items placed against it, allowing a grounding effect.

6. Welcome coordinated pops of colour

cream living room with yellow

Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

If introducing accent colour be sure to keep it streamlined, to ensure the overlook is well coordinated and cohesive. In this neutral living space pops of vibrant yellow add touches of warmth, while black furniture and small accessories add a striking contrast to give a more monochromatic look.

7. Set a neutral backdrop for an entertainment station

Living room  TV on wall with shelving above and below for storage

Image credit: Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson

Use a palette of neutral colours in a living room to create a smart, yet totally chilled out space. Worried it may look too bland? Pick out areas of the room like a TV storage point, or chimney breast, to colour block in a darker shade and use a number of different textures and tones in cushions and accessories to create an effortlessly stylish backdrop.

Neutral shades of shades of taupe and mushroom avoid overwhelming an already busy wall of storage and TV sets.

8. Future-proof your living room with timeless neutrals

Neutral living room  with fireplace and alcove shelving wooden coffee table and oatmeal plush sofa

Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

The hero piece of this room has to be a super-squashy sofa in a versatile colour. Put a warmer neutral on the walls for a cocooning feel and add a big, jigsaw-friendly coffee table that everyone can reach, rather than cluttering the space with side tables. Create an inviting feel by opting for neutrals in truffle hues to add warmth.

9. Introduce florals for natural pops of colour

Neutral living room with flowers

Image credit: Future PLC

Give some wow factor to a neutral scheme by packing it with flourishes of florals. From soft floral fabrics to real life foliage, a neutral living room can provide the ideal backdrop to enhance the natural pops of colour that comes with beautiful flowers. In certain lights the colours of nature will be seen reflected in the neutral on the walls to add depth o the shade.

10. Add warming shades through furniture

neutral living room with orange armchair

Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

Choose a neutral wall colour with warm undertones that can be enhanced by hits of bold accent colour through furniture and accessories. The burnt orange of this armchair is a fine example how a neutral living room can be lifted by simple furniture additions in bold colour, making the chair stand out even more thanks to the calming backdrop of neutral colour.

11. Pick truffle for warmth

Neutral mink  living room with open fire and black grid mirror above mantel

Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

With its pinkish tones, warm truffle is our go-to shade when we’re looking for a neutral that can also add warmth. Plus, you can easily cosy things up or cool things down with fabrics and accessories. Try velvet upholstery and bronze accessories if you’re all about cuddling up, or pare back a little with shades of grey.

Combine delicate ceramics with milky glazes and the pattern of lace with smart contemporary glass and wood pieces.

12. Throw in additional colour

Neutral living room with painted doorframes grey armchairs and wooden coffee table

Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

From the French grey window frames to the soft oak coffee table and engineered floorboard, this space is a masterclass in effortless neutral decorating. And it’s easy to update, too, just by adding cushions and throws. These daffodil yellow and soothing blue soft furnishings are perfect for spring.


13. Pile on the texture

Neutral living room with cream sofas and wicker coffee table trunk

Image credit: Future PLC/ Spike Powell

A room without texture can feel dull and lifeless, so add tactile surfaces for warmth and interest. Get the linear look with narrow-gauge shirt and pyjama patterns – perfect for smart-casual sittings rooms.

Layering up voiles, cotton, cord and canvas twill on upholstery, soft furnishings and curtain treatments brings warmth and cosiness in spades. Timeless ‘chino’ tones give this look an easy style, while country stripes get a modern makeover in different widths and scales. Mixing styles likes this injects rhythm into a room.

14. Go for calming shades of grey

grey living room with fireplace black mirror above

Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

Warm, but not oppressive,  grey living room ideas are ideal for cosy living spaces. These light grey shades have either a touch of yellow in them, giving them a brownish tint, or a touch of red, which gives a pinkish tinge.

This colour is great for east and west-facing rooms for diffused light at sunrise or sunset respectively, while adding warmth at other times. Team ochre to yellow-tinged greys, or try a dark, earthy green. Pink-tinted greys will look great with coral and peach.

15. Pick the perfect prints

Neutral living room with ornate marble fireplace

Image credit: Future PLC/ Catherine Gratewicke

Get a high end feel with key pieces from different eras. Shades of linen and taupe gently blend with a wonderfully ornate stone fireplace and period coving in this subtly extravagant living room.

A pair of elegant armchairs catch the light of the bay window which highlights their feminine paisley-print upholstery. The mid-century chair with iron frame makes a fashionable juxtaposition to the more traditional pieces.

16. Think about a striking accent colour

Neutral living room with grey sofa and wooden coffee table

Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain

Give a neutral living room scheme definition with hits of dramatic black. Add some sharp, contemporary styling in a mainly neutral living room with accents of black. Keep touches minimal to keep the overall scheme  relaxed and understated but with a more edgy loft apartment style.

Adding black to a rug border or smart charcoal borders and piping to neutral cushions adds a striking accent touch without looking heavy or overworked. Use Graphic prints with slim black frames and monochrome canvases in clusters on a wall. Use subtle accents of black with lampshades, ceramics and patterned glass.

17. Inject pattern with a neutral print

Neutral living room ideas

Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain

Use a living room wallpaper idea to add interest to an all-neutral decorating scheme. A pattern in the same tonal palette adds a decorative touch without breaking the constraints of the colour scheme.

Layer up texture and white on white patterns on sofa cushions. Choose different tones of white and natural in relaxed country linen. Showcase art work and collectibles in an eclectic mix of box shelving and different styles of frame on walls.

18. Work a theme

Neutral living room ideas

Image credit: Tim Young

Wow with a woodland theme by using colours taken from nature. Add hints of sophisticated modern romance combined with old fashioned glamour in a sitting room with subtle shades of soft rose, blush pink and warm putty tones. Include touches of wood and straight-legged furniture for a mid-century take on this feminine look. 

19. Evoke a sense of nature

Neutral living room with rattan chair woven coffee table and woven blinds

Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

Bring pebble colours and natural materials together to create an elegant coastal living room scheme. This palette is reminiscent of the chalk cliffs of Sussex with ivory, cream, white and pale stone shades in different textures.

A loose-covered linen sofa and French doors dressed with floaty voiles that move in the breeze add a little laid-back comfort. The natural materials of the bamboo chair, woven mat and bamboo blinds bring the outdoors into the scheme, while hand-blown glass and rustic ceramics introduce an artisan feel.

20. Add a country house feel with design classics

Neutral living room ideas

Image credit: Future PLC/ Rachel Whiting

Enrich a backdrop of creamy walls with the addition of statement design classics. Rich claret and crimson shades are matched with the warmth of worn leather in this country living room idea.

Blooms are exquisitely depicted on tea-stained linens; beautiful curtains show off the pattern to best effect. A soft button-back leather sofa adds to the country house feel, while elegant, vintage-style lamp bases and mirrors hint that pieces have been acquired over time.

How do you make a living room neutral?

The simply way to make a living room neutral is by choosing a dependable shade for decorating the walls. A soft linen off-white or warm oatmeal shade will go a long way to making the room feel inviting for layers of pattern and colour via accessories. A neutral backdrop allows you to play with accent colour through statement furniture pieces, rugs, windows treatments and accessories.

Neutral walls will ensure the room feels timeless, with the option to add seasonal colour with how you dress the space.

How do you add colour to a neutral living room?

Accessories and furniture are the easiest ways to add colour to a neutral living room. The serene stillness created by neutral walls allows the freedom to add pattern and colour without distracting from the plain backdrop. Given the versatility of neutral cream, beige or light taupe walls the accent colour possibilites are endless – it very much depends on the overlook you wish to achieve.

Will you be using these neutral living room ideas to create your dream space?

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