Decorating Ideas for a Living Room With Neutral Colors

Updated February 21, 2017

Decorating with neutral colours provides a subtle canvas for the rest of the decorative elements in your living room. Neutral colours work well with natural fabrics and earth tones, but they also accommodate brighter colours and subtle patterns. Neutral means more than simple cream or white. A wide variety of colours fall into the neutral spectrum-- from pale yellows to soft browns.

Light Neutral

Light neutral colours work best for small rooms, since lighter colours make a space feel larger. Light neutrals include white, cream, yellow, pale grey and sandy brown. Choose one neutral shade for the walls and another for the moulding and architectural accents. Choose furniture that matches or complements your walls or moulding. With neutral walls, a delicate patterned sofa or chair will add interest without being overwhelming.

Dark Neutral

For larger spaces or homes with small children, dark neutral colours achieve a soft, elegant look without showing stains. Dark neutrals include slate grey, subdued greens, dark blues, warm browns and muted reds. Mix some lighter neutrals in if you feel the room is too heavy by including a sandy brown armchair or a glass-topped table. A tall mirror will also add some depth to the room without adding colour.


Use a variety of textures to liven up the space and create depth. Shag rugs in off-white, linen upholstery and plush pillows will all achieve this effect. Fabrics also soften a neutral space and make it more inviting. Large pillows for sitting on the floor are both decoratively helpful and versatile for a variety of seating arrangements. Indoor plants bring nature into the space and make a room feel lived in and well tended while adding a touch of colour.


Living room lighting can be tricky, since it is a central location for the family to gather but it is also the place for craft projects, kid's homework and reading. Provide several different sources of light. A combination of side-table lamps, standing lamps and overhead lights works best.

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