Southern Lady Magazine

10 Fresh Ways with a Neutral Palette

Bold patterns, lush textures and rich top notes give neutrals an enticing new appeal.

Although conventional wisdom says that dark colors make rooms appear smaller, this approach proves the opposite. Charcoal gray cloaks the walls, trim, and ceilings for a cozy and cohesive effect that’s amplified by the gray sofa. Gold, bronze, and taupe accents pick up the subtle hints of brown in the paint color. 

In this ivory kitchen, rustic woods and textural surfaces lend interest without disturbing the tone-on-tone scheme. A wash of barely-there green on the island and built-in hutch adds an extra layer of color, yet still reads as neutral.

Here, a pastel take on a primary palette infuses the good cheer that befits a sunroom. Yet the creamy white walls, trim and draperies, as well as the Lucite coffee tables, dominate the space with a neutral sensibility./div>

Despite its brown-on-brown hues, this bath comes alive with a diverse mix of patterns and distressed textures in the wallcovering, linens, and storage pieces. Darker notes like the mirror frame and fixtures lend presence without straying from the monochromatic parameters.

Choosing neutrals with variable undertones, which can be amplified or downplayed via different furnishings and accents, boosts the versatility of a space. The pale khaki wall color in this restful living area contains just a touch of green, enhanced by the framed artwork and the bouquet of tulips on the coffee table.

Black and white are the quintessential neutral pairing, but this breakfast area makes it clear that they don’t have to appear stark. Warm woods and dark metals, as well as tactile details such as the turned legs on the table, soften and lend dimension to the clean, crisp atmosphere of the space.

Nobody does neutrals better than Mother Nature, and it’s nearly impossible to go wrong pulling together materials from the world outside. Honed woods, stacked stone, rattan, organic linens, and other natural elements combine for a pitch-perfect palette.

Given its pair of strong patterns — an avian-print wallpaper plus a zebra-hide rug — bold or bright tones might have overwhelmed this entry. Instead, dignified chocolates and espressos help to restrain and refine the splashier elements.

A neutral canvas, such as this ivory home office, is the perfect partner for a single stroke of vivid color. The books on the shelves are grouped by hue for maximum impact, helping to amp up the energy of the subdued space.

Sleek ebony and pristine white are used to glamorous and dramatic effect in this dining room. The crocodile motif on the chair upholstery and geometric gold pattern on the walls lighten the dark tones just enough to prevent them from feeling oppressive.

Discover more seasonal home décor inspiration by ordering your copy of Southern Style 2018.